I've been reading a lot about being an expectant dad and there's lots of information out there about what to do once your baby is born. Much of it is from the woman's perspective - what to do as a new mom. For stay at home dads it's sort of been - "Do the same... only without the breast feeding."
Stay at home dads come from all walks of life. Many worked corporate jobs, I've known some who were grad students, professors, recently unemployed, artists... I'd fall into the latter category. I was not downsized. We do not have a traditional two income household and my wife definitely makes more money that I do.
I'm an actor.
My writing partner will tell you I'm a writer. I am. It's becoming more and more what I do. But that's mostly because of a stubborn persistence in making my own work. I have recently made the decision that I am finished with the bullshit involved in acting in New York. I do not kiss enough ass, nor, apparently, do I kiss the right asses. I am finished with dealing with the gatekeepers to this work, to which I have dedicated my life, who treat actors like they are stupid. Those rare champions of actors (you know who you are) have made working in this town a joy. But I am finished with getting my hopes up during final call backs to have a movie actor walk in and take a job. I am finished with pleading with self important pricks half my age, attempting to prove to them that I am worthy of their representation. My time and my talent are far to important. I will do it, stubbornly, on my own. (I said I was done with the bullshit, not with acting.)
Because I'm an actor. Persistence defines who we are.
My wife and I had this exact conversation - the one many artist have when they bemoan their career choice and wish they had gone into finance or some soul-less yet lucrative career or that I hadn't taken her up on her offer to drop out and join the peace corps before starting a family. Something meaningful.
My wife said, "You're going to be raising a child. What could be more meaningful?"
In the end, you can't take any of this with you. None of it. The paycheck, the swimming pool, the big house. In the end what you leave behind are the lessons you share - the things you teach your children and the people they become.
Actor... Writer... The occupation I'll be most proud of is Dad.
Here's where I give a shameless plug to a friend's book. A fellow stay at home dad.
Joe Schatz from Dad Blogs has a new book out. It's not a how-to. There are plenty of those. This one is nine years of "things I've learned as a stay at home dad." I'll be reading it. The title alone is worth the price of the book.
Go support one of my fellow stay at home dads.