THE BEGINNING

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Our first baby, a little girl, was 3 weeks old when well laid plans began to change.

I was working as a director at a large health and wellness facility and I loved my job. It gave me plenty of outdoor work and just enough desk time to catch my breath. It was also school friendly (I was mid-way through my graduate work) and was grateful for a job with such flexibility.

Though the economy had been dipping for a while I had been given assurances that while the nature of my job may change, I was in no danger of losing my job.

Except I did. I was told that due to budget cuts my job position was being eliminated in 90 days.

I called my wife swearing and sputtering and panicked. We were use to two incomes, had a mortgage, and our baby’s full time childcare was located at my job (at a 50% discount). Now we were going down to one income, we still had a mortgage, and we had no childcare arrangements.

A solid 48 hours of utter fear went by when a remarkable opportunity presented itself. My wife, who was nearing the end of her medical residency, was offered a job with a local group, and if she committed she’d receive a signing bonus (which would cover my lost annual salary). She’d worked with the group before and liked everyone there, we both believed it was a solid God-given opportunity, and so she signed.

We decided that since we’d been given this cushion we’d make the best of where we landed. We decided I would stay home with the baby while I finished my graduate work.

All of this unfolded in the summer of 2007, and now it is 2013, my graduate work is complete, and we now have four children (our oldest is 5) — three beautiful girls and a very handsome little baby boy.

And I’m still a stay-at-home dad.

This life of a stay-at-home dad is beyond challenging, and what doesn’t take its toll physically can easily take its toll mentally. Each day can seem like an insurmountable summit . . . like a daily climb of Mt. Everest. And while this life wasn’t what I planned, I love it and wouldn’t change it.