By ANNA CATE LITTLE
As we salute all the hard working dads out there this Father’s Day, we especially remember those that forgo the paycheck and stay at home with the kids. It takes a special kind of man to handle laundry, meals and carpool, not to mention the mental and emotional demands that all children create. While at-home parenting may be tough, at least the dress code is casual and the bosses are much cuter. Here are three Homewood stay-at-home dads who honestly and candidly give us a taste of their daily daddy duties.
Meet the dads
Richard Bradley is married to Bette and the dad of Sam (2.5) and Eli (8 weeks).
Randall Griggs is married to Alison and the dad of Jackson (12), Samuel (10) and Peter (8).
Jeremy Bernstein is married to Julia and the dad of Nate (6) and Charlie (3).
What is the best part and the hardest part of being a stay-at-home dad?
Richard: Of course, getting to watch your children grow and being a big part of that process is the best part. Two years ago, when my wife and I decided on this arrangement, I was worried I wouldn’t find being a stay-at-home dad as fulfilling as having a successful career. After getting into a routine, I can’t really imagine doing anything else that would be as fulfilling as supporting my family in this role. But, being a stay-at-home parent can be extremely isolating. Luckily, within a year I found a great group of moms that have welcomed me with overwhelming acceptance. We have regular playgroups at each other’s houses, go to McWane and the Zoo together, hit up Chick-fil-a, etc.
Randall: The best part is being involved with the kids in all their activities and getting to know other kids. The hardest part is keeping my patience with my three boys and having to split time amongst all three of their activities.
Jeremy: For me, the best part is that I get to be around my boys. Conversely, that can be the hardest part as well; there really are no days off.
What do you miss most/least about the working world?
Richard: I miss the camaraderie of working with a group of people towards a common goal. The working world is full of instant gratification. Parenting is a long-term process where instant achievement is only measured by the loads of laundry you get done a day or how many errands you get accomplished while your child is at preschool. However, the working world can sometimes seem repetitive. Although my family definitely has a routine, you never know what the day will bring you.
Randall: What do I miss the most? Nothing. What do I miss the least? Adults that act worse than my kids.
Jeremy: Before staying at home I worked in recruiting, which I really enjoyed, and often I miss the competition it brought. However, I don’t miss the day-to-day dealings of office life and the challenges it brought.
What is a common misconception about your job as a stay-at-home dad?
Richard: Many people believe that being a stay-at-home dad is not a choice. They imagine that we are having trouble finding a job or we are just plain lazy. Two years ago, when my wife and I completed graduate school, we made a choice that this was the dynamic that was going to be best for our family at the time. Nothing was permanent, and we both agreed to be honest if we ever felt uncomfortable with the arrangement. She is currently on maternity leave, and it has been wonderful with both of us being able to be at home for the first few months of Eli’s life.
Randall: The most common misconception is that there is time every day for a nap.
Jeremy: I can’t say any big misconception comes to mind, although I often joke that stay-at-home dads are often forgotten about. Everything from websites to playgroups are geared toward stay-at-home moms.
What is your favorite thing to do without your kids? In other words, how do you unwind after a day of parenting?
Richard: I am really into discovering new music and reading, so that helps me unwind. Plus, trash TV.
Randall: The day doesn’t end until all the sports are done for the night, but I enjoy yard work during the day while the kids are at school and sitting on the patio at night with Alison, just relaxing.
Jeremy: I’ve gotten really into cooking. It started as a hobby, but now I really look forward to it; for me it’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Plus, Nate has become a more adventurous eater.