Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being a Dad doesn't mean you are giving up any Man Cards.

Making the decision

I grew up in a family where my father worked and my mother was a stay at home mom.  I did not think much of it sense all of the women in my family stayed at home.  My wife was the opposite and is what I believe is the next generation in our society.  This was not done overnight by any means but with a series of events that would affect all of us as women started to make their place in the work force.  My parents did not insist on me going to college since they didn’t.  I think that if they did it would be self-deprecated admitting that they did not achieve what others did.  I attempted to go but without support and being ignorant of programs I failed forcing myself to take up a career to survive. 

For years I brought in the income paying for bills which gave me the since of self-worth.  I felt that I was doing what all men were supposed to do.  My wife’s career started to take off competing with my salary and then soon passing me by.  At first it bothered me but soon found peace in asking why I would wish her not to succeed.  The economy prevented me to find continuous work giving my field as a project manager a roller coaster of a ride with abundant of people competing for what little jobs were available. 
As my family grew and my wife’s wages were more than mine we agreed that I should help with the kids.  I started off with one day a week picking them up from a day care at a certain time.  I received a lot of grief from co-workers like I was not a real man letting my wife tell me what to do.  I did not feel this way and wanted to be around my children.  As time went on the economy got worse and I was laid off.  When I picked up another job I was given grief about my schedule.  In fact I was pulled aside and told to make it in this profession I had to not have any restrictions on how long I could work.  My boss told me that I need to choose or should find work elsewhere.  The daycare expense was not making it easy or the hours that I had to abide by.  My jobs where soon taken from me and given to others who had more flexible hours.  Soon I was laid off again finding less chances of locating a position that could accommodate me as a working father.  In fact some asked me if I was a single father since I was willing to attend to my children when they were sick.  It seems that women even though they complain about it are given a free pass that make it easier to be a parent.

I decided to take advantage of my unemployment and advance my career by going back to college.  This experience as a stay at home dad has changed my life.  I do not feel any less of a man but more in touch with life itself.  I have women when grocery shopping who comes up to me and say how cute it is that my kids are hanging out with their father.  Some ask if it is my day off.  I just smile and let them believe what they want.  Sometimes it is hard to be the man of the house when having to budget with my wife’s income instead of mine.  I do believe I will go back to work but this time educated in an office situation with regulated hours and hopefully about the same time my kids start to become more independent.  My biggest fear is how my resume will look taking time off and starting a new career.

I believe that in the construction industries most men are single, have baby’s mommas or stay at home trophy wives.  I on the other hand have a wife who is equal to me and believe that together we can make a bigger impact on how we live now and in the future.  For those dads who are in the same boat my biggest advice is to stay strong.  It takes more of a man to accept change and pick your battles to fight.  Those who criticized me in the past are jealous and miserable stressing about what to do next with the economy in the dumps.  I believe that my children and my financial future are more secure by being a father who contributes not only by income but time spent.  Our children need a father figure who not only is strong and direct but one who cares.  I don’t believe that I gave up any man cards or rights in doing this but have become a stronger man who knows what to look for in life.

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