Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Don’t Miss Feeling Pressured to Drive to Work in the Snow and Ice

The picture collage you see here is one that I felt compelled to make nearly three years ago. My family had already been snowed in two days, and it was soon to be the third.

Despite living just a mile from the main road, my actual home was located down a slope in the dead end of the neighborhood: the cul-de-sac.

It was obvious to me that if I simply backed out of my garage, my vehicle would get stuck in the snow and ice, as my vehicle was not a 4×4 and therefore couldn’t make it out.

Still, I went through the motions of proving how dedicated I was to coming to work:

I started up my car, backed out of the garage, tried to make it up the hill, slid down the hill backwards, then quickly got stuck trying to simply make it out of my own cul-de-sac. And now, my already old and worn-out vehicle would have to remain out in harsh weather, which only increased the chances of another vehicle accidentally sliding into it, or the battery dying from the freezing temperatures.

To further cover my bases, I took a photo of my stuck vehicle, as well as one of my shoe; as I was standing on my street, which had an inch-thick sheet of ice under the snow. I also did my best to show the angle of the slope on my street where my vehicle got stuck.

Minutes later, I had put together the photo collage and emailed it to all interested parties, to provide community-wide evidence that I was not simply unmotivated to leave my family and the snow.

I had already been working for the company for over 7 years at this point and I was a supervisor for most of that time; yet I felt that providing picture proof was a nearly necessary move. Otherwise, people who lived only a few miles from the office could try to say, “Well I made it into today… are you just afraid to drive in the snow and ice?”

The least of my worries was that I was having to accept the fact I was using vacation days to be stuck at stay home; even though I wanted to be at work. This was problematic in that every summer, our family always spends a week out in California to visit my wife’s side of the family: I was cutting in to my reserve of days for that trip.

I imagine that feeling pressured to drive to work under dangerous weather conditions is a normal part of American culture, especially in the South; where we are understandably not equipped with the snow plows our towns need when it snows sporadically during the winter.

But you know what? I am now a stay-at-home dad who works from home now. Not my problem anymore.

The only one pressuring me to leave the house is my 7 year-old son who is eager to play in the snow. I think I can handle that.

Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: I Haven’t Forgot about You over There

Dear Jack,

I experience guilt over you. I don’t get to spend enough time with you.

However, it’s not an issue of choice. It’s not that I could be spending time with you but am choosing not to.

Instead, it’s that in order to make a living for our family, Mommy and I both have to work. That’s nothing unique. That’s a normal problem.

But it presents a lifestyle in which despite living in a wonderful neighborhood and you being able to attend one of the best schools in the Nashville area, Mommy and I have to spend so much of our time commuting- and therefore, you spend time at “before care” in addition to being at Kindergarten most of the day.

During the week, my time is so limited with you. Every morning, I get you ready for school and drop you off. Every night we eat dinner together and then I get you ready for bed. All time combined, that’s barely an hour.

So really, it’s mainly just the weekends where I get to spend time with you. Granted, we’re having to buy groceries, clean the house, run errands, and go to church.

Not to mention, I’m constantly taking care of your baby sister when we’re all together.

I’m not able to pay you the attention I want. You don’t demand it. But I’m not able to give you what I want.

That’s why I treasure our quality time together. That’s why I make the most of it.

I experience guilt over this. I don’t know what else I can do though.

This is simply what I know as being a modern-day American parent who works full time and lives in a commuter’s community.

I wish could be with you more. You’re worth so much more than I can give you.

Love,

Daddy