DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Say the words 'stay-at-home' Dad and no doubt a mental picture of Michael Keaton from the hilarious movie "Mr. Mom" will come to mind. After all, Hollywood has made movie magic, and millions of dollars, depicting bumbling, fumbling, Dads all coming up short as make-do-Moms.
But for some the role is more than enjoyable. "I love it," said Larry Thompson, of Dallas, "but it can be overwhelming. My wife took one month off after she [child] was born and started traveling again."
With his wife's career requiring near constant travel, Thompson expected to stay home for "a while" after daughter Samantha was born. She will turn nine-years-old in October!
"A lot of people say 'good for you! If you don't have to work, don't!" Thompson admits to having many of the same challenges as any stay at home parent. But he said, without hesitation, the unequivocal upside is "spending time with Samantha."
It's time the youngster admits is great for her, as well… already appreciating that it is something of a luxury to have a parent available to pick her up from school and ferry her to her many activities. Samantha recalled conversations with friends who spend long hours after school in daycare or after school care. "They say, 'oh, I hate it. I hate it,' and I feel bad."
During the recession, a job loss forced many families to revisit childcare arrangements. The Thompson's sold a business, which gave the family more financial options. But, Larry Thompson said there are others who simply find the rewards worth the lost income.
"I know a couple of guys that had to [become stay-at-home Dads] and now I don't think they're going to go back to work because they love it so much. Their wives have good jobs. It's a great feeling to be able to spend the day with your child."
Although stay-at-home Dads are still rare, Census Bureau figures suggest that the ranks are growing— at roughly 213,000.
Still, Thompson admits that he does still get the curious glances and questions from strangers who wonder: what do you do all day? To which he replies, "During school, I get her up. I have her clothes laid out, fix her a good breakfast, go to school, drop her off, come home, do dishes, take the trash out, wash clothes, take the dog to the dog hotel or vet or whatever. And then during the school year, after school she has ice skating, she has Girl Scouts, she has choir, she has golf practice, so we're going somewhere almost every night during the school year."
Whew. And yes, Thompson admits to getting tired as well. But said laughing he wouldn't change a thing. "You couldn't pay me to go back to work."
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