Hope for your financial life and beyond

Reasons I’m Thankful to Be a Stay at Home Dad

Six months ago I announced that I was quitting my job to become a stay at home dad. That decision was the culmination of a four-year life transition that saw my wife begin a new career so we could become a one-parent-stay-at-home family. We didn’t know at the time how it would turn out but were willing to give it a shot.

So far it’s been spectacular!

I Am Thankful written on chalkboard

Life has certainly changed and for that I’m very thankful. Not that life was so bad before. However, in the past six months I’ve witnessed multiple issues our family used to have melt away because of what I now do. Plus, I’ve seen new avenues open that could not have been pursued in our previous state of life.

What’s Changed That I’m Thankful For

The Weekends

Before our weekends were one crowded mess of activity. Everything that we could not get completed during the week for lack of time was packed into the weekend. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, and yard work all had to get done on Saturday. Some of that was often rolled over into Sunday, making that day more hectic. Throw in some blog writing, a friend’s birthday party or a family outing on the weekend and we were screwed.

We now have our weekends back! I’m doing all the household chores during the week while everyone is at work or school. My writing is done during the week so I don’t have to cram that in on Sunday night. All of this has helped us rest more on the weekend and actually pursue some activities that we enjoy, not that we have to do.

The Stress

Of course you already know what this change has done to my stress level. It’s gone way down. At least that’s what it feels like.

Reducing stress and lessening our burdens is a constant battle. We know life isn’t fun when we are carrying an 800 lb. bag of stress on our back and walking a tightrope. Everywhere we turn it seems new stressors create tension and cause us to pull our hair out. Even the very task of trying to reduce stress can become stressful when we can’t seem to accomplish it.

I think obviously freeing up time by quitting my full-time job was the biggest factor in reducing my stress. That’s 8+ hours a day that can be re-allocated to other tasks. It’s given us margin and breathing room so that life isn’t piled on top of life each and every moment of the day.

The Family Time

This has all led to an increase of time spent together as a family for which I am extremely thankful.

In many ways I feel like we are making up for lost time. There were times in the stretch of three years that my wife was in school and studying to pass the CPA exam where it seemed like I never saw her. Our kids were put through that burden as well, not being able to spend as much time with their mom as they would have liked. While she is still busy, the days of her not being available at night or on the weekends are gone. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

What’s New That I’m Thankful For

The Blogging

Of course with the freed up time from work, blogging has taken on a whole new dimension.

I was able to attend the personal finance conference FinCon in September. What an event! Not only did the speakers and breakout sessions provide a wealth of information but being able to meet many of the bloggers I had connected with online in the last two years was really special.

In October I pushed myself through a 31-day writing challenge. The goal was to write 500 words for 31 straight days. I completed that without missing a day, even though I succumbed to a sickness that swept through our family about midway through the challenge.

In November, I was able to attend another blogging conference at the Billy Graham Center in Ashville, NC. This was specifically for Christian bloggers and I was able to make a great many connections there that will prove fruitful in the future. Listening to author and speaker Jon Acuff was worth the trip all by itself.

The reason I share all this is to underscore what having time can allow one to do. I know from having been there myself that finding time to produce quality content while also holding down a full-time job is probably a bloggers #1 challenge. I didn’t realize how much I had been struggling with that until now.

Being a Youth Pastor

When one thing goes away something always fills the void. In my case that thing that filled the void of leaving my job to become a stay at home dad came completely out of the blue.

In September, I was asked and took on the youth pastor role for our church. It seemed like a natural fit considering my time working with teens in school. Plus, I had been thinking about how I could use some of my freed up time in a special way. I can’t think of too many other things where it could be used more wisely than helping young people grow in their faith.

Giving Thanks in All Things

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God…” – I Thessalonians 5:18

Life circumstances come and go.

Some we feel good about…others we don’t.

Some we have more ability to change than others.

Some present new opportunities we weren’t anticipating.

Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you can find it within yourself to be thankful. It’s an attitude I’ve tried to cultivate through the years even when things are going tough. We can always find that ray of hope that turns our perspective around to see the bright side of things.

What are you thankful for right now? What has changed for you this year that you were not anticipating? How did you handle the change? How do you go about reducing your stress level when you get really busy? In what ways do you maintain a thankful spirit even when things are going tough?

Image courtesy of MTSOfan at Flickr Creative Commons

Next Post: 15 Bible Verses to Remind Us to Be Thankful

Prior Post: A New Reason I’ll Avoid the Mayhem That Is Black Friday

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  1. Being a stay-at-home dad isn’t just good now, but it will be awesome later too. My parents both worked from home from the time I was an infant, and even though they were busy with work, they were never too busy for us to spend time huge amounts of time together as a family. As a result, I have a much closer relationship with them than any of my friends have with their parents… for which I am *extremely* grateful.

  2. You are blessed and I’m happy that God has allowed you to now enjoy your life with your family. I really enjoy your website and will continue to follow your story and path. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. I consider myself to be extremely blessed to earn a living on my own terms (solopreneur) doing work that I enjoy and have more time to spend with my family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you Brian and congratulations that being a father at home full-time has brought so much added value to your family’s life!

  4. ooh so many questions! lol! First of all I’m so glad everything is working out so great with you being a SAHD…wait, that doesn’t look so great an an acronym. lol! Anyway, sounds like all in all it was a great decision. I think having thanks for something is one of the FEW things that CAN get you through a rough time. Seeing any kind of silver lining in your poop storm (I made that PG for ya!). Its easy to be grateful with everything is hunky dory, but being able to have a strong character in the face of adversity is a tremendous skill. I’m working on it.. 🙂

    • Haha…I know…that’s a tough acronym. Not sure I like it. Perhaps I can make that a goal for 2015 to come up with another designation for us.

  5. It’s awesome that the choices you and your wife have made over the last few years led to this opportunity for you to be home with your children. I am thankful that my business allows me to be flexible and spend time with my son more. Our time with them is limited and precious and it’s a gift to have it.

    • Flexibility at work is extremely important. Even with my wife’s job as a CPA she still can leave to go to kid basketball games or other family events (just as long as the work gets done at some point). I wish more employers realized how much it boosts an employees morale and productivity if they know they can leave on occasion without repercussions.

  6. Sounds like an amazing decision Brian! I’m thankful for my family and their health, oh and being debt free! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. One of my neighbors left his job as a doctor to stay at home. His wife started some side work to help with the bills as an online fitness trainer and her work exploded to the point where she was making more than he was. They were so worried how it would be to family, friends and neighbors. Here he went to school for 10 extra years and still had a lot of debt from his education and he was walking away from being a doctor to be a stay at home dad. Their stress level is lower than ever, they have more money and things have worked out. It wasn’t how they planned, but things are working for them. It was a risk, but the right decision at the end of the day.

    • That’s a real cool story Lance. I can’t imagine walking away from a doctor’s position after so many years of schooling. On the one hand how frustrating is that but it sounds like it was worth it.

  8. yiu hit on the big reason I want to be a stay at home mom: stress. We leave the house at 6:30 and get back at 6. The baby goes to sleep right after we get back. I never see her. The oldest is becoming increasingly unruly at home – a ball of energy who is looking for more attention than mom and dad can give when there’s cleaning, errands, laundry, and yard work to do. Our life is a mess and we are all suffering for it. Still, I’m thankful for every moment I get with the girls, for my job, and for my blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • I really do understand Kirsten. We’ve been there. I just encourage you to set some financial goals that will make that scenario work for you. Then grit your teeth, trust in God and have patience while you make it happen. It took us almost four years until we felt comfortable doing this. Oh…and always defer to spending time with the kids…the laundry/yard work/errands/etc. can wait for a bit. 🙂

  9. This is amazing, so glad it’s working out for you and your family. Though both my husband and I need to work right now (not begrudgingly since we enjoy our jobs) my hope is that with debt paid off I can cut down to working 2-3 days per week. We’ll see how it goes 🙂 Have an amazing Thanksgiving!

    • “…cut down to working 2-3 days per week.” It’s a worthy goal Catherine. The biggest thing as you already are aware is to make sure the finances are in order. We could not have done it otherwise.

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