Monday, April 25, 2011

Grappling With Being a Stay At Home Dad

Sarah doesn’t love going to work when most mothers have the opportunity to stay home with their children. When asked if she feels bitterness toward me, she says she struggles only when I whine about having to stay at home, when that is something for which she longs. Her efforts to provide aren’t a negative experience for her, except for my derogatory comments about my current lot in life- full-time fatherhood.

Allow me to share a few of my internal struggles:

-          It is difficult for me to separate myself from the traditional understanding of the man of the house being the provider.

-          Since I have a driven and competitive nature, hearing of my friends’ accomplishments in their careers doesn’t always result in rejoicing. I’m happy for them, but I long for impact from my occupational pursuits as well.

-          The wide-scope of my employment history has never resulted in a specialization in one area- which honestly, probably would have bored me to tears. Yet, I long for the seemingly significant contributions of peers who exemplify expertise in a field of service.

-          Dealing with working buddies, who seem so detached from the internal war of feelings, who dismiss my inward groans by saying, “I’d give anything to be a stay at home dad.”

-          Since Sarah’s “part-time” work is meeting our current need, it seems na├»ve of us to move unless I feel the Lord’s finger in my back.

-          Selling our home in this economy may result in a significant loss.

-          It is difficult to not feel that my work skills may diminish as I stay at home with the kids. One finds that just living offers opportunities to grow, not excluding full-time fatherhood. So, I’m hoping I’m growing in my patience and in relating to people through my involvement with my toddlers.

-          Seeking out the next open door is a struggle since I have no idea when God wants me back in the work force and very few opportunities even fit in a situation where a large segment of the population is looking for employment.

-          Trusting that God is guiding every step, and actually resting in that belief, feels like naivety, on my part, in a culture that encourages a person to get out there and make your dreams come true.

-          In Sarah’s and my case, it does not feel like any job will do. We both sense it should provide enough for the kids’ childcare. And, we don’t think it is worth putting them in childcare unless I’m convinced and psyched about joining the cause that provides the paycheck. We are also praying for the caregiver, because if a job comes along, we want that person to be top-knotch.

These are just a few of the issues with which I’m grappling through this long season of unemployment. I continue to lean into promises from the Bible, about how God guides EVERY step of His children. That’s where I want to rest. Believing that HE has great blessings in store for those who trust HIM, is what I choose to believe.