I’m a Work at Home Dad
No, I Don’t Wear Pajamas All Day!
I Work at Home!!
I Don’t Stay at Home!!!
Hi, I’m Don; I’m a father and I have job. Conveniently my job is based in my home. I’m a Work at Home Dad. And while I stay at home to work, I’m not a stay at home dad.
Confused? You’re not alone.
Most people who know me personally – I believe – don’t believe I have a real job. It’s possible some, perhaps most, believe I don’t even work. Let me explain, I believe this because –
– I’m most often asked / told this:
“It must be nice to be home with the kids all the time.”
“Do you wear pajamas all day? I would!”
“I couldn’t focus if I worked at home.”
“What do you do all day?”
It’s hard for me to offer a rebuttal and a thorough explanation of just what I do and how it makes money. I’ve tried. But, usually, I’m too tired to speak coherent polite sentences.
I will add that I have a wife who works outside the home. And we have children together. At various times the kids have been / or are in daycare or school.
Perhaps because of my tired incoherence, or our children being placed in the care of others when there is a capable parent at home, is why my wife (when I’m not around) receives comments such as these:
“How do you cope?”
“Does he ever get dressed?”
“I can’t get my husband to do anything either.”
“What are you going to do?”
As if every day she comes home to find me asleep on the couch, nacho cheese crusting on my shirt, the video game controller falling out of my hand, and some small fire burning in the kitchen.
I don’t believe she offers much of a rebuttal either. She’s as tired as I am. Plus, she’s not the husband-griping sort of person.
But, just like Popeye, I’ve taken all I can stands –
Well, I can stands more, but I think this topic is worthy of discussion. So, In the interest of my sanity and that of my fellow SFCHDMSMP business owners, I will provide this coherent explanation as to just what I do all day.
It’s an easy concept to grasp the parent who works outside the home who drops off their kids at daycare.
You need to leave your children with a caregiver so you can work (and earn that paycheck). Right?
So, to understand what I do, just switch “works outside the home” with “works inside the home”.
Outside becomes inside. Out becomes in. Just a few letters difference. Easy enough to follow, I think.
But the concept of outside care-giving when you work at home can still be a bit tricky.
Perhaps it’s even an incomprehensible thought, like the limitlessness of space.
So let’s flip around some other parts of this work equation. Keep “work outside home”, but let’s have the childcare remain with the parent.
Here’s a way to think about it: You take your two year old to the office, and, of course, be as productive as you normally are. Scratch that. Imagine you only are paid for what you produce. You earn no money for getting coffee, chatting, making copies, drinking some more coffee, and then a trip to the bathroom.
You’re not even paid for reading and answering emails. You’re not paid for filing invoices or restructuring some computer database. You’re only paid for producing a tangible product (and then selling that product).
I’m only paid for what I produce. While email, filing, management, etc., is necessary to run the business, those tasks don’t directly make me money. Certainly no one pays me to pee! To be sick or, good grief, take some time off work! There’s no reimbursement for training or continuing education either.
So having a two year old and all his demands throughout the day would make for dismal productivity. And, oh by the way, I work with power tools all day long. I have four saws that cut wood as easily as they’ll cut bone. So no, I can’t have young children around while I do this.
But this is hard to explain to people. Usually I’m too tired to speak coherent polite sentences. And really, I don’t care a whole lot anymore.
I know it’s easy to say “I don’t care”; you hear a lot of people say it. It’s hard to say it and mean it. It’s taken a lot of work and self-reflection to say it and mean it even 80%.
But I don’t care.
Because, honestly, I haven’t complained about my boss in years.
“Aha!” You say. (Mr. Holmes, that you are.) “But why are you writing this if you don’t care?”
Fair enough. I do care about 20%. I’d like someone to think I have a real honest-to-goodness job. Plus, I’m not alone. I talk to other SFCHDMSMP business owners. I read their blogs. The “do you work in your pajamas?” comment is real. As in, real annoying.
And the comment is never said in good fun, there’s always a undertone of bitterness to it. As in, “why do I have to go to work and dress up and you get to stay at home?” Right?
Okay, so first. Most people don’t dress up for their job anymore. So, are some old jeans and a wrinkled polo shirt so much different than pajamas?
Two (and here’s where my bitterness bleeds through) – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRESS UP AND GO TO WORK! Quit your job. Create a business from nothing. Live with the constant stress involved with every aspect of it. Then see how big a deal it is to wear pajamas.
I DON’T WEAR PAJAMAS!
No SFCHDMSMP business owner wears pajamas, not really.
But like I said, I haven’t complained about my boss in years, so what do I care? And as much complaining as I’ve done in this article, this will be all the spleen venting I need to do on the issue.
Now that I’ve gathered my thoughts on the issue, in addition to having another article to chronicle the SFCHDMSMP business, I have some well thought out rebuttals. I might even jot a few down on a card and keep it in my wallet.
Or maybe I’ll just shrug when I hear those eye-roll enducing statements. Because, despite all the stress (and there is so much stress), there is so much more benefit to this way of working and living.
Once you learn to live without so much money, when you learn to get by with just enough money, life is isn’t bad.
I could quote a laundry list of the bad and the good (perhaps this is also a SFCHDMSMP business article for another day), but I will conclude with my favorite (and the most, “The times they are a changing”) benefit:
Kids are sick? No problem. Just remain at home, watch The Price is Right, smile in glee that you’re an adult watching The friggin’ Price is Right and not working, look at your kid and see the look of confused horror on their face, fail to explain how awesome the show is (or why knowing the price of Rice-a-Roni can win you a car), visualize the look of horror that must be on your face when you realize you won’t be able to watch The Price is Right, pop in a DVD five minutes into the show.
(Then catch up on email as your kid dozes on the couch.)