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Being a Stay At Home Dad

Last month, I was called by Astro AM Live to share about being a stay at home dad.

Now, this is about Seth. I love him so much. I love the way he finds uncontrollable, unrelenting, and untameable utter bliss in empty shoe boxes and knocking over his cereal bowl. I love watching him tear through the house like a wrecking ball, giggling and causing mild destruction everywhere he goes.

But here is where the rubber hits the road: As much as I love him, I would give nearly ANYTHING for him to be nearly ANYWHERE other than where I am at this very moment.

I’m a freelancer – a job title that elicits eye rolls and imagery of spending countless hours in the coffee shop and freeloading off my parents. One of the great misconceptions of my career is that it is a life of leisure.

The reality of my vocation, however, is much different.

I am extensively trained, and exhaustively worked professional. My clients are discerning and my deadlines are non-negotiable. When I get a phone call at 11:30 at night from a client who wants a revamped marketing set to present to their executive board at 7:30 the next morning, my family’s livelihood depends on me pulling the all-nighter. When working on intricate designs and subtle changes, my mind must be sharp and focused. When nervously preparing for a conference call with a prospective new client.

…and this is where Seth comes in.

A critical part of my choice to pursue a life of freelancing chaos was to also be a stay at home dad – a decision that I still maintain was one of the best of my life both personally and professionally. I live for the moments when I can perfectly balance my work load and loads of laundry and loads of laughing. The moments when I can perform the delicate work/life balance ballet flawlessly. The moments I can read a story to my son before his nap (okay, actually watch marble race on Youtube), all while sending out invoices and quotations. I love this moments.

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But then there are the mornings that I’ve been pulling the all-nighter for the good client with a picky executive board. These moments are when having a post-toddler wake up at his usual 8am can be trying. A sweet two-year-old boy who is well rested, hungry, and literally screaming with delight to see a new day arrive – all while I’m doing all I can to keep my eyes open and my thoughts coherent.

Or the moments when the aforementioned two-year-old boy gets a quick spell of the “Whys” while I’m desperately trying to determine what tone of turquoise would best represent my client. Or when the innocent and sweet two-year-old seizes the opportunity to experiment with shoving Legos into his nose, at the exact moment a major new potential client is calling you in for a Skype call.

These are the moments when, despite my intense love for Seth, I would give just about anything to be anywhere else. A busy coffee shop. A quiet library. Heck, even a stuffy office. Anywhere that would isolate me from the chaotic nature of life at home with a two-year-old.

But then I remember: Conference calls can be rescheduled. Turquoise can always be reconsidered. Coffee can always be drank and sleep can always be caught up on.

But witnessing the life of a two-year-old? That only happens once.

Scratch what I said above. Call me crazy, but I am the luckiest fool to ever be.

Picture of Syaf


Syaf is the Founder at Brand Chapter Agency, a branding and web design agency with clients across all industries.

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