When a father decides to forgo his stereotypical role of bread-winning for something less conventional, it tends to raise eyebrows. If he explains that he plans on writing while he is home caring for his child, people often smile, nod, and wish him well.
Which is basically the same as calling him a naive, deadbeat, social drain-hole and muttering, “I never understood what your wife saw in you to begin with.”
Stereotypes and social mores die hard. Regardless of what critics may say, there are plenty of good reasons for a father to stay home with his child and write. Here are a few of them:
10 Reasons You Should Stay Home & Write
1) Set Your Own Hours. You are out of the rat race. Off of the treadmill. The only boss who will yell at you now is one that sprang from your own loins. Somehow that makes all the crying easier to take. Once you and your child fall into rhythm and develop with a good schedule, you determine how your day is spent, whether writing, reading, researching, or something else.
2) Spend All Day With Your Kiddo. Why did you get into this fatherhood thing to begin with? Being a Dad is one of the most rewarding experiences a human being can have. It’s yours for the having twenty four seven. Enjoy the heck out of your kids. I could insert a reference here to the number of men who, on their deathbed, regret the amount of time they didn’t spend with their children. I will instead make an opaque reference to this reference to get the same point across.
3) Now You Can Write. No more puttering about at three in the morning propping your eyelids open as you crank away at your magnum opus during your down time. Now you can work on your writing project anywhere at any time you choose. The quantity of writing you get done in a day is now dictated entirely by you.
4) Save a Crap Load of Money on Childcare. This is not a joke. Childcare in my area for our little Taquito would cost our family approximately $15,000/yr. A penny saved is a penny earned. You also get 100% of the input on your child’s development. This was a major reason for my wife and I. We figured, “We are having this kid ourselves, why should we let someone else raise her for us?”
5) Child Experiences Improve Your Writing. A large number of human beings on this planet engender children at one point or another. Someone has to care for these children. Your experience in the day-to-day combat of diapers, bottles, soccer practice, and Ivy League applications (aim high folks), gives you street cred when the characters you write about deal with similar issues.
6) Transition From Conventional Work To Writing. Staying home with your kid is a good excuse to try out writing full-time. I spent years writing on nights and weekends while I held down a full-time job during the day. All the while I dreamed of what it would be like to stay at home and write to my heart’s content. A huge part of our decision for me to stay home instead of my wife was that I had always wanted to write full-time.
7) Work in Your Underwear. There are very good reasons not to include this one on the list, but I will save that for a later post.
8) You Get to See the Firsts. This may sound like reiterating point #2 above, but I think it bears emphasis. The longer you spend around your kiddos, the better you will know them. You will also be the honorary member of the grown-up world who gets to see their first tentative steps into life on this planet. This is an honor and a privilege.
9) A Good Excuse to Get Away. This is a card that Stay-At-Home Dads carry at all times. Play it well. Because you are with the kiddo 24-7 you are automatically in the front of the line when it comes to stepping away for a few hours. It is sometimes the case that the kid’s mother, tired as she may be from work, will jump at the opportunity for one-on-one time with the child. Bingo. (If Bingo’s your thing — I don’t know. I was thinking more along the lines of a writer’s conference or something, but, whatever).
10) Meet New And Awkward People. It helps if your child is unabashedly cute, as mine is. I’ve had complete strangers walk up to me in public places and offer to buy me things because my child was so cute. It’s an odd way to meet people, sure, but so far it’s been pretty lucrative. I suppose it’s something akin to how wife felt when every bus driver, frozen yogurt cashier, and random foreigner wanted to rub her belly while she was pregnant. As a natural introvert I find this sudden attention from strangers both unnerving and fascinating. And fodder for writing.
There are plenty more benefits to staying home and writing. Are you a Stay-At-Home Writer/Dad? Why did you take the plunge? What have I missed? Also, if you liked this post, go ahead and sign up for fresh updates from this site. Just click the +FOLLOW box on the bottom right of your screen. Thanks!