stay-at-home dad - Boston MomsI have always wanted to be a preschool teacher. When I was a little girl, I loved nothing more than creating lessons for my little sister so I could “teach” her various things (which was her least favorite part of growing up). When my own children were toddlers, my preschool-teaching dreams were fulfilled. This was one of the main reasons my husband, Aree, became a stay-at-home dad.

He and I worked opposite shifts for a while, but as we were piecing together childcare in the few hours before I got home and he left for work, we quickly realized that childcare costs for three children under age 3 were more expensive than a beachfront house on the Cape. We decided it would make more sense, both financially as well as for consistency for our children, for one of us to stay home. Because my job — my growing career — was a passion, he stepped out of the workplace and into his dad shoes. This changed a lot of my parenting perspectives.

Having a partner in parenting can be so helpful in general, but having him as my partner has also enabled me to be the best mom, and the best teacher, I can be. The title of “stay-at-home-dad” wasn’t something he always wore with honor. And, quite frankly, it isn’t something that always comes with a lot of pride. The assumption by many was that he wasn’t a good provider because he couldn’t get a job, when in reality, he was providing in many non-financial ways that have made our family better.

As a stay-at-home dad…

He has shown our boys that house chores have no gender. He is our family cook, doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to feeding our family. He plans meals and does most of the grocery shopping plus all of the cooking. He gets laundry going (although we disagree about proper folding methods, so I fold the laundry). He cleans around the house and picks up the children from school every day.

As a stay-at-home dad…

He has shown my girls how partnership works. He fills the role of partner in marriage, parenting, and in the household. He respects me enough to pave the way for me to follow my passion. Not only has he supported my career, he also pulled double dad duty as I was pursuing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He handled the household fully to support my dreams.

As a stay-at-home dad…

He supports our children’s interests and needs. He brings our daughter to gymnastics twice a week. He plays baseball-diamond ping-pong, driving around town to bring the boys to various T-ball practices. He brings them to doctor’s appointments and was promoted this year to remote learning supervisor.

He might be the dad among a sea of moms at the playground. And the only man helping with gymnastics poses. And that makes him an amazing stay-at-home dad. So, thank you, Aree, for showing our children what an incredible dad looks like. And thank you for being the partner of my dreams.

Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.