No More Damn Meetings

Once upon a time, I was a dad who worked at a job. You may be familiar with the routine: daycare drop off, meeting upon meeting upon meeting, a bagged lunch in my cubicle, staring at the clock hoping that 5pm would hurry the hell up and arrive, daycare pickup, rushed dinner, bedtime stories, crash. Rinse, repeat.

Ten years ago this summer, we decided enough was enough. I left the workforce, and all those pointless meetings, to become a dad full time. It was always going to be me, the dude, who took on this new gig; I made slightly less than she and, more importantly, I am very much my mother’s son with the laundry, vacuuming, dishes and all that business. 

Being a dad to 4 and 1-year-old daughters was the hardest job I’d ever had, even harder than the adult video store that employed me when I was 18. [see what I did there?] If fatherhood had an HR office, I’d have marched in and tendered my resignation straightaway. What in the hell did I get myself into? 

Thinking that I’d made a truly terrible decision to be a full-time parent, I was on monster.com looking for a new line of work on the 3rd day. Slowly, as the pile of diapers grew, I grew into the life of a Stay at Home Dad and I started to blog about the things we did, the toys we played with, the music we listened to, and the places we’d visit.

Slowly, being a dad became a profitable side hustle. Now, nearly a decade later, when we’re not traveling to Norway, Spain, U.S. National Parks, or kicking it on a cruise ship somewhere, the kids are both in school and my work is very much my life, and vice versa. As they sing in Wicked, so could I to my daughters: “I do believe I have been changed for the better. And because I knew you I have been changed... For good.” 

Because my girls and wife are wonderful, patient and supportive, and because I leaned in, rather awkwardly and with serious reservation, to the job of fatherhood, I’ve not only developed strong bonds with my daughters, I’ve quite accidentally made being a dad my second career. The hours are long, the pay at times has been squat, lunch is often still rushed, but the benefits package is unbeatable and, unless you count the twice annual parent-teacher conferences, there are no damn meetings.

* Jeff Bogle writes about parenthood at OWTK.com (which stands for "Out With the Kids").