When my wife and I became parents we suddenly found decision-making much more simplified. It all came down to what’s best for our baby. I was a workaholic when it occurred to my wife and me that we could afford to do better than a Nanny for our daughter who, at two years old, required much more than love, attention and regular feedings. Our Nanny was wonderful! And for two years, she faithfully and reliably provided everything our daughter needed in our absence. We soon realized that the mental development of a child was not only astonishing in itself, but also accelerating at rate we never anticipated…far more rapid than the now seemingly slower development of balance and dexterity which we prayed then cheered for. The necessity to incorporate more cognitive exercises into play and “feed” this little learning machine became increasingly important to us and increasingly beyond the ability of her hired care provider. School was not yet an option because we had adopted the “natural course” method of potty training and thus were still changing diapers on outgrown changing tables. It was clear that since we could comfortably sustain ourselves on just one salary, the ideal scenario would be for one of us to stay home until she was both of school-age and potty trained. The promise of dinners, weekends and holidays together was a no-brainer. The question as to who would stay home with her was answered as quickly as it was conceived. It was a matter of simple economics really... my wife is a surgeon while I was a restaurant consultant and commercial real estate broker in a down market.
There's a scene in the film Cast Away in which Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck, finally builds a raft capable of taking him past the breaking surf that has held him captive on a deserted island for years. Once Chuck realizes that he has overcome the surf and is in the open water, he rows himself away from his former prison and begins to weep while watching it get smaller and smaller on the horizon.
With over twenty years of experience in the restaurant industry and a successful consulting business taking off, being a stay-at-home dad would be an escape from: long hours, constant drama, exhausting redundancy and hidden stress for what I knew would be a better life. But, like Chuck, I understood how painful it is to leave everything you know (good or bad) and everything you have become behind.
“DBA: Daddy” represents the paradox and resulting identity crisis with which I am struggling. It reflects my belief that being a stay-at-home-dad demands the honing of every skill-set I previously utilized in my professional pursuits. “DBA: Daddy” is now a way of sharing my transition from “working dad” to “stay-at-home dad” with anyone else who thinks that they too are probably the only guy at Gymboree mentally calculating the franchisee’s Bottom Line based on average class size, hours of operation, number of employees and market rent per square foot.