Being a stay-at-home dad is becoming cooler by the minute.
By Adrian Kulp
“I don’t have a boss (unless you count Ava trying to manipulate me) or a schedule, aside from dual naps, which are a must.”
There was a time in my life when I leaned toward what was cool, cutting edge or in the zeitgeist. I worked in Hollywood, specifically in comedy. I was a TV development executive for stars like Adam Sandler and Chelsea Handler, as well as a comic booker for a popular late-night talk show on CBS. I was movin’ and shakin’, hopping from network meetings into power dinners and ending my night with a double Belvedere on the rocks in the back corner of a double show at the Hollywood Improv. Everyone thought that I had the coolest job, and so did I.
I’m not proud of it, but I think it started going to my head. I’d be having a conversation with one guy and see someone else walk in who had a little bit more going on, and I’d find myself zoning out, nodding my head, saying stuff like, “Yeah, man, I totally agree” or “Oh, really? That’s cool.” Just phoning it in. That was a little over three years ago, before I left the entertainment industry and became a full-time stay-at-home dad.
A few weeks ago I found myself at a barbecue that my wife (full-time reality-TV executive) had dragged me along to, talking to some schmoe who asked what I did for a living. Here we go again, I thought.
“I’m a stay-at-home dad for two toddlers,” I said.
And just like that, it came full circle on me. I could see the blank look on the dude’s face as he began to stare off into the distance, watching as someone else walked into the party. He gave me an “Oh, that’s cool, man.” I wanted to smash the stupid microbrew over his forehead, rip out his intestines and wrap them around his neck, but I couldn’t.
I’d be a hypocrite.
I tried to subtly explain to him that being a stay-at-home dad really was cool. I don’t have a boss (unless you count Ava trying to manipulate me) or a schedule, aside from dual naps, which are a must.
Think about how awesome it is to introduce these kids to something new every day, something they’ve never seen before, and just sit back and watch the looks on their faces. Forget about closing the big deal — I just taught a toddler to aim and pee on stuff with outstanding accuracy. I am their ambassador to the world, which is a huge title increase from my last job.
I was sellin’, but I’m not sure if he was buyin’.
Back then, I think the reason I went blank on people was because I couldn’t connect with what they were talking about or because whatever they were pitching me just didn’t sound very promising.
I’m guessing the same thing happened to me at that barbecue.
A lot of guys can’t connect with the fact that I’m a SAHD. In most cases, they initially quiz me about why I’m not working, tell me “that sucks” and that they’ll put me in touch with their buddy who’s a headhunter and get me squared away by next week.
I’m grooming these kids to be the best they can be. I’m teaching them the difference between wrong and right and instilling good morals and values within them. The way they carry themselves is a direct reflection on what type of parent I am.
Just a few days ago, I found myself in yet another familiar situation. This time, I was in Connecticut narrating my first book, Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-home Dad, which was just released by Penguin Publishing.
I was at a pub having some chowder, and a well-dressed executive type pulled up a stool at the bar. We exchanged some small talk, the “question” came up and I decided to turn it on its head.
“What do you do?” he asked.
“Well, I’ve created an amazing brand with 360-degree growth potential. I’ve developed a solid company infrastructure with a smart, functional business plan. I manage an advanced field team with a staff made up of completely unique skill sets. Our corporate mandate is that we have a very relaxed, casual atmosphere with an appealing daily bonus system. The dividends I’ve received thus far are making me a very rich man,” I explained.
“Jesus, that sounds amazing. So you still haven’t told me, what exactly do you do?”
“I’m a stay-at-home dad,” I said.
This article originally appeared on Ask Men. For more from AskMen, try:
Photo credit: Paolo Pace/flickr