My four hours of useless

Hey there, jobber. Employed person. Working so-and-so. Whatever you call yourself. How would it feel if you suddenly got a four-hour break from all work activities? How about if this break became a regular thing, happening twice a week?

I’ll tell you how it feels. My son (almost 5) and daughter (newly 3) just started going to preschool at the same time. A wonderful group of teachers is imparting essential skills and molding these animals into better people with no help from this stay-at-home dad. I’m useless for about four hours, twice a week.

It’s an electrifying opportunity to catch up on elusive goals like fitness and creativity. It’s a focused moment for chipping away at big projects around the house. It’s prime time for personal errands like haircuts and doctor visits as well as boring stuff like auto repair, lunch with grown-ups and stores that don’t sell toys.

The only drag on my newfound freedom is this haunting truth: We’re paying a lot in tuition, and I don’t make any money. The longer the kids are in school, the less being a stay-at-home dad makes financial sense.

That’s why I’m resolving to make the most of every four hours of useless. Here’s what I did the first day: Continue reading My four hours of useless

The stay-at-home question

Nobody asked me if I was going back to work. I wasn’t. Not for long, anyway.

Right before I became a dad, I sat down with my boss and a bigger boss for an annual performance review. It had been a bad year. I took an unwelcome job change in place of a promotion I wanted. The company’s latest round of layoffs had booted several of my friends, and the bigger boss used it to justify me not getting a raise. The company’s vision for my future: more copy-paste busywork.

Meanwhile, my wife was approaching triple my salary at her law firm, and she actually enjoyed a lot of the work. Her benefits included 12 weeks paid maternity leave, while I exhausted my vacation and sick time to spend nine days with a newborn Champ.

My choice to stay home seemed so obvious that I thought everybody at work saw it coming. Yet nobody grilled me about child-care plans while my wife had to reassure a lot of nervous partners that, yes, she was coming back to work.

As a Cosmopolitan editor points out, women get this a lot, and they’re sick of it. Continue reading The stay-at-home question