After 17 years in education serving as a principal, teacher, coach and mentor, I’m quitting my job to be a stay at home dad.
Those are the most exciting words I’ve ever typed on this blog! I’m starting a new journey.
They are also the scariest words I’ve ever typed on this blog because I’m starting a new journey.
I’ve waited a long time to share this news and start talking about what has brought our family here. It hardly seems real even after formally declaring my intentions. Maybe my new life as a stay at home dad will me next week as I start to clear out my classroom. My guess is I won’t feel it’s full impact until sometime next fall, probably on the first day of the new school year.
The decision to be a stay at home dad appears to have come out of nowhere to those in my circle of influence. Obviously the students were surprised last week when I shared the news with them. I hadn’t hinted at this at all, even though I’ve known for some time this was going to be my final year. What appears to those outside to be a surprise, is actually the culmination of a multi-year prayer journey.
That’s right…I don’t make decisions quickly. Especially when it comes to leaving a place to which I’ve committed my entire adult working life.
I can’t unpack all there is to share about this move in one single post. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to become a stay at home dad or the financial challenges associated with it, that’s coming later.
For now, I’d simply like to focus on “the why.”
Following Through On the Stay at Home Dad Desire
Life is a series of choices. Sometimes those choices collide and cause friction no matter which option is chosen. Regardless of the situation, we can never say we don’t have a choice. There are always options.
Kim and I have always wanted to be a one-parent-stay-at-home family. It’s been a burden deep in our heart for many years and we’ve never chosen to take that opportunity. We thought we didn’t have an option. There was always something – mostly fears about money – that held us back.
The fears about money began to fade as we set aside more and more money for retirement and college, as our investments began to grow, and as my wife embarked on a new career as a CPA. We branched out to begin a rental real estate side business to provide additional income apart from our full-time work salaries. Most of that went to pay down our mortgage debt, which I’m happy to say was paid off early this past February.
A funny thing began to happen as the fears about money began to subside. A new desire took its place. This one we couldn’t ignore.
The Rat Race
“Speed kills relationships.”
Those were the words I heard while watching a DVD series on parenting put together by Living on the Edge and pastor/teacher Chip Ingram.
When I heard him describe how the fast pace of life causes us to lose connection with those we love – most importantly our spouse and kids – it sent shivers down my spine. It had never really occurred to me that more doesn’t always equal better. I assumed the more activities our family did the better off we’d be.
More activities equals more opportunity, more exposure, more awards, more money…more everything, right?
What we found was it also produces more stress and tension, less downtime, less communication, less quiet, less peace.
I understand life is busy – that’s its nature. If we had 48 hours in a day we’d find ways to fill it up. We simply reached the point where we felt our two careers and the busyness of life was going to overtake our primary task as parents – raising our kids well.
We only get one shot at this parenting thing. Our four children are the most important assets we possess. It’s our desire to unleash them on the world by age 22 fully capable of surviving on their own and making a difference in people’s lives. We have a better shot at fulfilling that goal if we slow the rat race down and are more engaged with their lives now.
That goal more than anything prompted our decision to have me at home.
What’s a Stay at Home Dad to Do?
I have no idea where this journey is going to take me. For now, my #1 responsibility is care and maintenance of all house activities. I’ve pretty much been doing that already as my wife has changed careers.
Secondly, I’m going to devote myself to this blog and my writing. Luke1428 has been my part-time endeavor these last several years and I’ve only scratched the surface of what I believe can be accomplished here. In a way, I’m going back to school because there is a lot to learn about running a successful blog. I’ve only devoted minimal time to that task thus far.
I’ve also been dwelling on a crazy notion to complete a half-triathlon…maybe a full. I’ve got two successful marathons under my belt and this seems like the next challenge to pursue. As long as my body holds up, I’m going to give it a go.
Beyond that…who knows. Only God.
There are simply too many people to thank.
To my family – Kim, kids, mom, dad, Heather, Anthony, Emily and the rest of my family – I love you and appreciate your support and encouragement.
To my school family…I’ll always cherish my 17 years of serving you. Hopefully a small part of me lives on in you, as so much of you will live on in me.
To my Luke1428 readers…You didn’t know this but with every page view and comment left, you’ve given me purpose and the hope this site can become something special.
Finally, to God…for giving me the greatest gift of all and opening my eyes to see.
Here’s to the next step in the journey.
Do you believe there are always options? Is your life overwhelmed with activities? How are you fighting the rat race? What’s moved you recently to make a life-changing decision?