Ask A Stay-At-Home Dad: What does your family think of your career choice?

Here’s today’s question:

How does your family (parents and siblings) feel about you being a stay-at-home dad (SAHD)?

I recently attended my youngest brother’s wedding. And just like all weddings, there’s the inevitable introductions to the other side of the family. I arrived late to the rehearsal dinner and, as such, had not yet met any of my brother’s fiancée’s family. When his new mother-in-law came over to talk to my father, I decided I would introduce myself to her.

Me: “Hi, I’m Dan. I’m [my brother]’s brother. The one who is closest to him in age.”
Brother’s MIL: “Oh, yes. He’s told me about you. He says that you stay-at-home with your kids?”
Me: “Yes, that’s me.”
My father: “But he’s really a nurse. And my oldest here is a lawyer, and my next oldest is a doctor. So we have a lawyer, a doctor, and a nurse in the family.”
My eldest brother: “Yup, he’s just staying at home right now, but he’s really a nurse. (Repeating my father) Yup, I’m a lawyer, my other brother is a doctor, Dan’s a nurse, and my sister is … (short pause) a … mom.”

Wait, what?!?

Wow. Where do I even begin with this? I’m staying home for my wife and my kids. And while I would love to have my family appreciate and approve of my choice, their approval, or lack thereof, wouldn’t have changed my mind to stay home. What’s shocking is I never knew that they don’t see me as a stay-at-home dad. Well, at least that’s how my father and one of my brothers see me. Now, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt here and trust they meant no disrespect to what I do, but it was eye opening to say the least.

And what about my sister?

The other thing that struck me was how long it took for my brother to come up with what my sister does. She’s a mom of six, and has stayed at home with her kids for as long as I can remember. Being a stay-at-home parent of two, I can’t even imagine what it is like to parent six kids. And if my brother is going to insist I am a nurse and not a SAHD, then why wouldn’t he say what my sister’s profession was prior to staying at home? She has a degree in youth ministry and worked in this field for longer than I did as a nurse prior to staying at home. Anyway, I digress…

I guess I’m not sure

As for the rest of my family, I’m not sure what they think about me staying at home. Prior to my little sibling’s wedding I would have all assumed they were perfectly okay with my decision. But now I am not so sure.

Especially since my family seems to have this extraordinary desire to be instantly respected by the rest of the world. To be honest, I’ve struggled with this familial pressure my entire life. I’ve changed my mind about majors and careers so many times that my family tended not to believe me when I said I was going to switch to something different because I thought it was a better fit. Maybe they think this is just a phase for me and that it won’t be long before I tell them I am going to do something else??

So, I don’t know what my immediate family thinks. I do know that no one has said anything negative to me to my face, and I doubt they would do that, but I don’t know if they are comfortable with this decision or not.

Do you have any questions or things you have always wanted to ask a stay at home dad, or just a dad/male in general? If so, leave a comment below and I will answer it in the near future.

Dan was born and raised in New Berlin, WI. He is married to the most amazing woman, Dawn, and has two children, Joe (born September 2014) and Nora (born April 2017). Dan has a background in Psychology (BA from UW-La Crosse) and Nursing (BSN from UW-Oshkosh). He is currently staying at home full-time. He enjoys cooking, biking, running, and yoga. He is also an avid coffee aficionado and hopes to one day be able to roast his own coffee beans.


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