Honoring Thy Stay-at-home Father

By: Elizabeth Maxwell

God knows the Stay-At-Home Dad deserves a break. Any one who spends as much time as these dedicated dads do trying to coax angry 8-year-olds to do their homework or getting feisty 5-year-olds to take a bath probably needs about a three day nap this Father's Day.

How he handles the laborious daily tasks with such aplomb is beyond most of the working world. Why he traded in his white collar and his Blackberry for a grubby t-shirt and a play-date calendar could be the best guarded secret in history, but believe me, we moms who benefit from the act are extremely grateful and really want to honor him.

It used to be me at the helm of the minivan searching all over town for the perfect birthday gift for our 9-year-old daughter's b-f-f. It used to be me planning and preparing nutritious lunches and after-school snacks for the kids to enthusiastically reject. It used to be me wiping runny noses and cleaning grimy fingerprints off the walls. But now I'm lucky enough to have a superdad on hand.

My kids are ecstatic to have an at-home-dad. They don't care so much if they can't find a clean pair of underwear to wear every day. They are more interested in learning from their dad some extremely important life skills:

-Self esteem: By playing video games with the kids after school, he's building their self-confidence. The gaming system continuously improves so that the electronically-engineered opponent is always a step ahead of the kids, but dad's the man for usually being a step behind them; at least, where the PS2 is concerned.
-Self-sufficiency: Now that the after-school snack consists of "whatever's left in the lunchbox," the kids have become pretty good at toasting bread and applying peanut butter without getting more on the floor than on their toast. They still don't know how to clean up after themselves, though.
-Memorization skills: Because he finds the time to watch television and encourage their passion for the tube, the three of them can now recite full episodes of SpongeBob verbatim, in unison. So it was Shakespeare in my time, at least the kids will be able to remember a business contact's name when they get into the corporate world (even if they follow it up with "and he loves money!")
-Building lasting friendships: Dad's also been great for the kids' chances to build friendships that will last a lifetime. Every time one of the kids gets an invite to go somewhere with a friend after school, he lets them go. They've had countless hours with friends doing God knows what that I probably would never have agreed to.

In all seriousness, though, our stay-at-home dad has given our kids an experience that they couldn't get with me. They've been given more freedom, but also more responsibility and because of it they've developed more character. So this Father's Day, the world is his oyster and we'll do whatever he wants to do. Even if that means that I have to be Mr. Crabs.

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