I am a guy who bought into the idea that with enough education, I would get a great job to take care of his family. That’s my goal. Take care of my family.
Now, I grew up in Tennessee. In Tennessee, the men in the family work. If you don’t work it isn’t just culturally shameful, it’s unbiblical. You see Tennessee, and Nashville, in particular, is the buckle of the Bible Belt. Like almost everyone I knew, I grew up Christian. As we all know, the Bible tells us that women are meant to stay home and care for the children. Meanwhile, men are meant to go to work. This is the culture I grew up in and actively subscribed to. How ironic then that I am a stay-at-home dad while my wife is the one that works and provides?
As someone who takes his faith seriously, it has been a struggle to learn what it is God wants from me as a “deadbeat” Dad. I have 4 degrees in 3 fields and I cannot get a job. I have applied to a variety of jobs in a variety of fields and position levels. The problem is the jobs I have been offered don’t cover the cost of daycare. That means the best thing for my family is that I become the best “deadbeat” dad that I can be. Traveling into the unknown wilds of the zoo during work hours, shopping outlets to pick up clothes and dare I say it, the grocery store!
All of this has blown up my worldview. I expected to be the income earner for our family. I expected to be the one providing for my family. That was what I was trained for. I felt called to that role. It was supposed to be my job. And I failed. I failed to obtain a job. I fail every day to provide for my family. What is someone to do when the main ways they are taught to identify themselves are erased? You boil it down to what you do have and what is most important, faith and family.
I am forced to confront the reality that being a stay-at-home dad is what God wants for me and my family regardless of what tradition, my wife and I grew up in. So how do you confront what God wants from you? You embrace it!
So here I am embracing the call to write. I am finishing up a book about this faith with maybe more books to come. There are things that God has put on my heart to share with the world. He calls me to not just be a content consumer but a content creator. Writing is what I can do in the in-between spaces of parenting. When my kids fall asleep on me and my phone or a pad of paper is still in reach, I write. When I wake up early because my kid has been up all night and sleep just isn’t worth it anymore, I write. When I feel crummy but can’t take it out on my family, I write. I hope you will tune in. See the mess that comes from a guy who is just trying to be the best dad he can. A guy who writes messy, but still writes because that is what God has for him.
I think we can all aspire to be more, but we might actually get there if we lean into what God actually has for us to do. See you out there in the great big world or in here hanging out and laughing at my mistakes and hopefully sharing a few of your own.