This blog post is part of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.
I could write about my journey into HR, but that would be a very long post (invite me for coffee sometime, I’ll tell you the story). I could write about a typical day in my life as an independent HR Consultant, but there are many good posts about that already.
I’m writing from a slightly different perspective…stereotypically different for a man, that is.
I’m an HR Consultant, part-time. My other part-time job is stay-At-Home Dad. I love both my jobs very much. The role of a stay-at-home parent is not new. However, it is not as common to see this role filled by the father. Let’s just say that there is an innate feeling, and a perceived feeling from society, that says “this isn’t the way it is supposed to be”. I struggled with my role as a stay-at-home dad for a while.
I have had many different jobs – starting in Operations Management in the Hospitality industry, to Account Management in EAP’s, then finally back to school and a transition into HR. I have also had time in between jobs where I worked as an HR consultant for small business clients. This kept me busy and up to date professionally. But during those “transition” periods, I was also the stay-at-home parent. My wife holds a high level and demanding position as Vice President of her company. Therefore, it made sense for me to take on more of the at-home parent responsibilities.
I work hard to find clients, project work and otherwise. Then I work hard to deliver results. Trying to do all of this between the morning kid routine of breakfast, making lunches and making sure they get to school on time. Then making sure they get home, snack and preparing dinner before they go off to their various extra curricular activities.
But I never felt happy. My family perceived me as moody, frustrated and sometimes even angry. Hindsight is 20/20, but I now realize that I always thought I “should” be doing something else. I should have the 40+ hour a week job. I should be the primary “bread winner” for the family. I also felt that others thought the same way…and that was a destructive feeling.
I recently realized that I had not ACCEPTED my role as a stay-at-home dad, and subsequently had not embraced it.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how the same concept of accepting one’s role, as it is presently, is very important to one’s career success. At times, we may feel like we shouldn’t be doing something – or should be doing something else. Perhaps we think it is beneath our level of expertise; perhaps we feel that we are supposed to be doing more. Once we accept that what we are presently doing is…well…acceptable, we can see more clearly the opportunities that are available. It is also worth stating that there is a big difference between being “content” and being “complacent”. I am very happy with my present roles, but I still have goals and things will change.
I am now fully enjoying being the primary stay-at-home parent, and am very excited about my career opportunities as a consultant. I can see things much more clearly.
Here are three points to think about:
Accept that you may have a role which may not be innately or immediately comfortable, for whatever reason.
Accept that any one of your roles may take priority over the others, for whatever reason…and that’s OK.
Accept that your roles may not always exist as they do at present. Seeing clearly helps us to create change.
I recently read a few articles that demonstrated how our society and culture is accepting a shift in family roles. Here is a great one: http://www.canadianliving.com/moms/family_life/could_you_be_a_stay_at_home_dad.php