Hannah has been the other big change this past year. I have thoroughly enjoyed having her as my daughter and staying home with her. Just the other morning she did something really cute. Instead of waking me up by crying I wake up to hear her humming to herself in her crib…I think she is the most adorable little girl ever, but I am very biased.
Life as a stay at home dad comes with many benefits and some challenges. While I do not feel held down or bound to the home I am not completely free to do as I would like. This is an obvious statement but has a slightly more profound impact than I thought it might. While, I do not believe that providing for my family solely means that I have a job and make money, I would still like to provide in that way to some regard. I have recently been thinking of this or that idea of something I could do from home with Hannah around, but I haven’t come up with anything yet. I certainly do have plenty to do while I am here with Hannah.
One thing I have been doing is teaching science for four boys (elementary and middle school) which has been really fun. It has been a good type of challenge for me to learn how to teach at the elementary level as I have very little experience there. I have also been working with some of my church people in helping plan for some groups that are coming to do work in the city of Reading. My role will mostly be in hospitality. Tasks will include organizing food and snacks, making sure there is all the bedding people need and otherwise making people feel at home.
A challenge for me has been the severely limited time with Rebekah. Since she works about 80 hours a week she just isn’t home that much…or awake for long when she is home. I truly love taking care of her when she is at home. It can be hard for me that we don’t always have time to talk or do things together but she gives me all the time she has, and I am so thankful for her love in that way. Part of the challenge is that the only time she is home (except when she is on nights or off) is that she is home in the evening. This seems normal enough, but it limits the types of activities I can be involved in. We really can’t afford the time for me to be off doing things when she is home. Occasionally, I do something but those times are far and few between. There isn’t room for a regular commitment.
Right now this is probably the most difficult thing, next to Rebekah being away so much. There are a lot of good things I could get involved in if I were more available in the evenings. Part of this stems from the fact that since high school I have bordered on being overcommitted with my activities and often had somewhere to be every evening. Now most of that is gone, I do take bagpipe lessons on Thursday evening. This is one area where I do feel a little bound and held down on occasion. But given the choice I would still want to be here with Rebekah and Hannah.
Along with the long work hours comes an inherent emotional toll for Rebekah. While she loves the work it is long and hard and for the most part consumes her life. This can lead to frustrations that I am powerless to fix. We have been learning to find joy in these moments because they lead us both to look to God for our strength and encouragement. Having Hannah here has also helped a lot for both of us.
I love having the time to cook. Cooking is probably my second favorite thing about being a stay at home dad. Rebekah even got me a culinary school textbook so that I could learn more techniques! She has certainly benefited from it. Another hobby I am thinking of taking up is rug braiding. I have some supplies and a book so I’m going to give it a try. If I like it I might try selling rugs online. We’ll see!
Just in the past few days a number of ways to get involved with church have been opening up and I am hoping that some of them pan out. For now I am going to pick a project up that I had almost forgotten about. I was developing a curriculum to go along with the books Ministering Cross-Culturally and When Helping Hurts. These are two books I have found to be very helpful. I could see myself teaching a class or seminar in relation to these books so I thought it would be good to have some material.
So most days I’m doing well, occasionally, I have a day where I am lazy but I work well most days. Stay tuned!