My first day on the new job as a stay at home dad was June 5th, 2017.
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on this topic of learning. Our son, Cal, has been pretty good at afternoon naps and that affords me a few hours to work, study and do other miscellaneous things around the house. So I thought today, on the eve of 18 months home with Cal, would be fun to share 3 things I’ve learned while being a stay at home dad! I hope it encourages you and you find some value in it.
On to my first learning…
My wife. No doubt that being a stay at home dad for this period of time was not a part of my long term career plan. It never even crossed my mind! And so for a while I was really sulking because I just wanted to be recognized for what I viewed as a sacrifice for pausing my career. Writing that down on my laptop makes me cringe for how selfish I was. So I can’t imagine how selfish it sounds as you’re reading this…ugh.
Anyway. All the while I’m trying to get credit for making a sacrifice, I’m failing to recognize that my wife is also making a sacrifice by continuing to work full time. And I wasn’t making sure she knew how much I appreciated that (of course I appreciated it, just never really communicated it).
It’s really hard to see others and what’s going on around you when all you are seeing is yourself. It’s hard to see in front of you and around you when your head is down, sulking. Tough lesson learned here.
My wife is a rock star mom! She has such a strong work ethic and is crushing her job and is also simultaneously committed to our family in a fierce way! I always respected her, always loved her. I’ve grown in that since I’ve stayed home as a result of HER sacrifice. And I think that’s a cool thing to look back and see that we’ve grown in love and respect from this circumstance.
The second learning…
A lot of the things about Cal’s personality that get under my skin are actually character traits about myself that I’m not fond of. Things I need to work on myself.
Lack of patience and a little bit of a short fuse, for example.
It’s like looking in a mirror when I see him display those traits and it’s so convicting to me. But here’s the cool thing…I get to work on them at the same time as he does.
Because the only way I can appropriately respond to his lack of patience is for me to show patience. I’ve heard someone say “more is caught than taught” in reference to raising kids. So what that means is I have to display the correct behavior and Cal will pick up on that. He sees me display patience, he’ll be more patient. He sees me show impatience, well you get the idea now.
By displaying patience, I get to work on my own character flaws at the same time as showing Cal how to do the same.
My MIL once said that it’s a character refinement opportunity to stay home with kids. That’s SO true!
The third learning…
Spending all this time with Cal has shown me something about love. Yes it’s true when you become a parent you have a new found love for someone. And it’s a deep love! Something I’ve never experienced before. This is obvious. But this is NOT the love I’m talking about.
As much as I love my son I fall short; I get frustrated, I get annoyed, I get all sorts of other emotions that expose my true selfish and sinful nature. I love my son with all that I have. But it still isn’t perfect.
However, there is a love that is perfect, pure and unconditional. It is called agape love and it is the love that our heavenly father has for us, His children. I’m in AWE of this. A couple key verses that stand out to me:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1.
Take those in. Doesn’t that blow your mind? I hope you feel those verses in your heart! It is SO powerful when you sit and revel in it.
The love I have for Cal as a dad, is not even close to God’s love for me. The love you have for your kids, is also not even close to God’s love for you.
It’s been a wild and unforgettable 18 months home with my son. And I’m so thankful for it!