More often than not, if you work from home, you are considered to be a stay at home parent, and thus responsible for your children’s daily needs. This couldn’t be further from the truth in my case. Here’s why I think a Work From Home Dad is NOT a Stay at Home Dad.
I should qualify that that the context here could equally apply to Mums or Dads, but since I’m a Dad, it’s my opinion you’re going to get here!
Dad’s Actually Trying to Work
As a Dad who very often works from home (and therefore by extension stays at home….huh?!), I find that the trickiest part of this working scenario is not actually sitting down to work, it’s more convincing the kids that Dad is actually hard at work even though he’s right here at home!
And therein lies the difficulty.
You see my kids (and I suspect all young kids) have clear and very defined associations in their minds about how things, such as work and play, should be. In their eyes, you must leave the house to be at work, and you only stay at home when you’re not working!
Kids by their nature think of things in very clear and simplistic terms; there is no crossover, as far as they are concerned, between two completely contrasting functions such as work and home life. Work is something that only happens somewhere far away (but not in the house, God no!), so when Dad is at home then how could be possibly be working?!
But although the whole working from home concept might be alien to a child’s way of thinking, that’s not to say they don’t become accustomed to it pretty quickly. They are incredibly adaptable and intuitive so once they spot a pattern or a routine around something (anything), they have an amazing ability to accept it once their initial (and might I add, highly sceptical and perceptive!) questions and concerns have been addressed satisfactorily.
The Working From Home Dad’s a Bit Boring
Initially when my working from home was a bit of a novelty, (yay, Daddy’s home!!) they would pop in for a little chat or a nosey at what I was up to. But now apart from popping in to say hello and tell me briefly about their day in school and crèche, I can tell I’m now just the boring old sod who sits in a room at a computer all day.
Hmm…I wonder why they don’t seem all that interested in popping in to see me anymore then!? I have no news or stories from my office or my commute, and in their eyes, I’m now just not that interesting! To be honest, I kind of miss the novelty factor!
The Stay-at-Home Dad is a Hero
Unlike the Dad who works from home, the stay at home Dad’s role is a lot more challenging and involves doing absolutely everything that is required when it comes to keeping the show on the road as far as the kids and house are concerned.
For this reason, anyone who thinks that being a stay-at-home Dad must be a doddle compared to working outside of the home (or at home in a mock office environment even), my only thought would be “What, really?”
Don’t get me wrong, I am mad about my kids and a completely devoted Dad who loves nothing better than getting up to all sorts of messing with them once the working day is done or the weekend is upon us. But, (there’s always a but isn’t there?!) to be completely honest, I fear that not being blessed with an abundance of patience (that’s a nice way of saying my patience wears thin quite quickly), is simply not compatible with being a stay at home Dad. Because if there’s one thing that any stay-at home parent (a Mum or a Dad), needs more than anything else, it’s patience by the bucket load!
So because I know how tough a job it really must be, I am full of admiration for any stay-at-home Dad whom I encounter.
Of course, before I had kids of my own I may have been of the opinion that being able to stay at home all day minding the kids would be so much easier than being in an office with adults all day! But, with 3 kids of my own now, I fully appreciate the variety of skills the stay at home parent needs, just to keep the home a happy place for everyone….
And any Dad who can keep his kids happy, entertained, and busy every day is, in my opinion, a very skilled multi-tasker who I doff my cap to and say bravo.
And if you are trying to do both – minding the kids and working from home, then I doubly salute you!
P.S. Do you ever think the term stay at home Dad sounds more like an order being barked out by somebody (insert a comma after Dad) as opposed to a bona fide job title? But maybe that’s just me…
Over to you! Are you a stay at home, or work from home, parent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.