My Best Day Ever as a Stay-At-Home Dad

Most people would say that their best day with their child would be the day she was born, her first day of school, or her first recital. Or maybe it's something funny that sticks with you, like the first time you needed to (quickly!) create a shield with the diaper as your newborn son gives you his first "shower."

As a stay-at-home dad, I get to see more of the everyday happiness than my wife. I have the privilege of seeing my daughter's new best friend come over for a play date, help my son learn to ride a bike, or get the first peek at a straight-A report card.

Honestly, though, my best day as a SAHD was nothing like that. I'm the one who is home during the day, so I field all the calls from school. From "your son forgot his lunch" to "your daughter has a fever," I handle any mini-emergencies that crop up during the school day. My favorite moment as a stay-at-home dad was unexpected: My son, Niko, was suspended from school. Yes, you read that right.

I didn't feel that way, though, when I got the call from the principal. I was horrified -- until I heard the whole story. As it turns out, it was the policy of this particular school that all children involved in an "incident," no matter what their involvement was, are suspended. And Niko's involvement was sticking up for his friend who was being bullied. He was trying to do the right thing. And I was so proud, because it would have been far easier for him to avoid that suspension by pretending he didn't see what was happening.

I knew it would have been easier for Niko to keep his head down and just go to his classroom, because that's what I had done. This conversation with the principal reminded me of my own childhood. Decades ago, when a friend of mine was being harassed by a group of bullies, I didn't do anything, because I was scared. I still think about him from time to time.

There have been times when I feel like I mess up as a SAHD, but if I've learned one thing, it's that on this crazy ride of fatherhood, you just have to hold on tight and trust that you are doing more right than wrong. And on that day, I found out I had.

by John Vercelletto