We are honored to have Joe Thompson sharing his thoughts on being a stay-at-home parent.
A friend of ours recently asked me if I was “still helping out around the house.” I didn’t quite know how to answer that one. You see, I’m a stay-at-home dad. That’s my job.
Full-time. By choice.
My wife stayed home with our first two children, and as we were planning for our third, I was thinking about a career change. Her part-time job happened to offer her more hours, and we realized that life had presented us with an unexpected opportunity.
I’ll admit that it has taken me a while to fully embrace this new role, but the experience has been one of tremendous growth as a father, husband, and individual. It has forced me to slow down and face life’s most basic tasks and responsibilities in a completely new way.
When I was working full-time outside of the house, domestic life seemed primarily about helping to complete a never-ending to-do list of household chores. But now, rather than seeing domestic life as a checklist, where “spend quality time with the kids” falls into a slot on the list along with “wash the dishes” and “fold the laundry,” I’ve begun to see that our role as parents is so much greater than the sum of the tasks we accomplish.
Being a parent — especially a stay-at-home parent — is about fostering an attitude and a posture of love and peace and bringing that to bear on each moment of everyday life.
It’s not enough to simply get the kids to school, do the grocery shopping, provide meals, facilitate naps and baths, accomplish all of the household chores of the day, and spend time reading and playing with the kids. The goal is to accomplish all of those things in a way that promotes a sense of peace and well-being within the household.
So call it grace, call it peace, call it whatever you like. The task of all parents is to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance. The task of a stay-at-home parent is to establish that atmosphere at the most fundamental level within the household.
It certainly isn’t easy. But that’s what I do. That’s my job.
I’m sure that I’m not the best stay-at-home dad in the world. But I am trying. On good days, I take the time to look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and remember why I’m doing all of this running kids around town, picking up toys, wiping runny noses, refereeing disputes, cleaning up accidents, coming up with yet another healthy snack option, and applying sunscreen over and over again. And, on those good days, most of these things are accomplished in a way that I feel pretty good about — in a way that I hope will convey a sense of love and peace to our children and give them the opportunity to flourish as they grow…
So, yeah, I guess you could say that I’m “still helping out around the house.”
Meet Joe Thompson
Coming off of his rookie season as a stay-at-home dad, Joe hopes to improve his game enough to survive the middle school years. With a background in ministry and a passion for theology, Joe has a deep interest in the relationship between spirituality and everyday life.