Leave of Absence

When I left teaching last year to become a stay at home dad, I took a one-year leave of absence from my job. I was given the option of taking a full second year off as long as I let my school system know by May 1.

With May 1st rapidly approaching, I needed to make a decision.

I do miss my co-workers. I miss the daily chatter in between class periods with fellow teachers. I miss my 25 minute lunch period with the Lunch Bunch; we spent most of our lunch time laughing at each other’s stories and using whatever time we had left to eat our lunch. I miss the confiding in more senior teachers and the mentorship that evolved.

I enjoyed the one on one interactions I (rarely) had with students, the times where I would sit with one child and help them through a problem, about home, friends, or school. We talked through the problem until we found a solution. I miss the days when a lesson ran so smoothly, the kids really got what you were teaching them, that you came home feeling so good about the day.

There are many things I miss about teaching, but the rewards of staying home are unbelievable.

I love waking up, making breakfast for the kids. My new commute is just a 15 minute stroller walk to Kindergarten. I treasure holding my little baby as much as I want during the day. I was thrilled to teach my two year old letters and colors and spend hours each day playing on the swings and in the sandbox.

I love that I can go to activities at my daughter’s Kindergarten class. I had so much fun at the poetry cafe, peace walk, parades and field trips.

I love that I found a handful of dads that stay home with their own kids. We enjoy meeting each week to drink coffee for breakfast and eat frozen pizza for lunch.

I love that we get to visit my overworked wife, at least once a week, for lunch. I love that every one of her co-workers know our children by name and our kids know exactly which nurses will give them the best candy.

I love that I get to plan and cook “decent” meals for our family during the week. Instead of walking in the door at 5 pm and throwing fish sticks (ahem) in the oven, I can take the time to prepare meals that I previously wouldn’t have the time to make.

Was it a hard to make the decision to stay home another year?

Last week, I mailed in my letter requesting an extension to stay home for a second year.

No doubt about it.


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