After a clear prompting from God, I left my role on the staff of a church in August 2014. I was in the process for applying to be ordained in the Church of England but I had not yet attended a BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel). I promise to tell you more about that later.
My wife and I prayed about what I should do for the year before I started college, assuming I got accepted. I began applying for temporary roles but nothing materialised. To cut the long story short, my wife went back to work. So since November last year I have been a Stay at Home Dad.
As what has been quite an extraordinary adventure comes to an end, I wanted to share with you a few things that I learnt along the way:
1. Job titles don’t make a man
I’ve had some great job titles in my time and they have opened doors for me but I didn’t stop existing when I no longer had one. In fact it made me stop and examine who I am and I am very grateful for that. But for those of you who really want a job title, try this one: ‘Beloved Child of God’. I think it’s got such a lovely ring to it, and the best thing is, it’s one that has no hierarchy and we all get to share it.
2. Salary doesn’t define your worth
It can be a hard thing to accept, in a world that has taught us that a husband must provide for his family, to stay at home while your wife becomes the bread winner. While it was a challenge I became more grateful for the provision of money and soon realised what an amazing opportunity I had been given. I got to stay at home and cherish my daughter and she paid me in laughs, smiles and cuddles and they are truly priceless.
3. The world isn’t designed for stay at home dads
I’ve stopped being grumpy every time I find out the only baby change facilities are in the ladies’ or when I see adverts for mother and toddler groups with phrases like ‘new mums welcome’. There are things that I wasn’t invited to or couldn’t go to because of gender but I did find some great groups and activities that were very parent friendly. So the world has some changing to do, but it will only change if we choose to live differently. The world will get dad friendly changing facilities if dads live differently and the world will only get peace if we choose love above all things and actually live differently.
4. You can choose not to be lonely
My social network was not set up to support my new role so I went to a few play groups but my average day was still spent with just me and my daughter. On a good day I said hello to another parent at the park or spoke to a shop assistant but on a bad day I didn’t speak to an adult until my wife came home. Then, in a moment of self pity, I stopped and realised that I was the only one who could change this. So I sent a few texts, messaged a few people on Facebook and with very little effort I wasn’t so lonely any more. What was the key to make this possible? The answer: Church. It was my faith that linked me with people both in and out of my normal social circle – a community that I am so very grateful for. Some of the best advice I can give you is to join a church and learn about how Jesus teaches us to do fellowship.
5. If you want to get to know someone you have to fully commit
When my wife was preparing me for becoming a stay at home dad, she would tell me her routine and point out how she knew what our daughter wanted. She would say things like ‘that’s her tired cry’ or ‘that’s her hungry cry’. I would just think to myself, ‘Are you sure? They all sound the same to me!’ Now I can hear the differences between her cries; in fact I can usually tell what she’s thinking before she cries. This only happened because I spent time with her. I jumped in feet first and invested in our relationship in a way that only time can give you. The deeper lesson here is it’s not rocket science and if you want a relationship with someone you need to actually spend time with them and that goes for God too! Read the Bible, go to church and hear his word expanded, sing songs of worship and pray, invest time into him and I promise you will soon begin to feel your relationship growing.
Thank for reading and sharing my blog!