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Surviving the Rollercoaster of Fatherhood

Christine Pafumi
June 1, 2012

Troy Pattee shares his secrets to survival as a stay-at-home working dad as part of the Care.com Interview Series.

Dadventurous blogger Troy Pattee knows all too well what it's like to work from home while raising a son and a teenage mutant ninja turtle. While technology has allowed him to be a work-at-home/stay-at-home father, sometimes the lines blur between work time and parenting time.

Although there have been some unexpected twists and turns along the way, Pattee has readily handled going from a full day at the office to becoming a work-at-home dad. Here, he shares with Care.com why socks are just fine for Father's Day, and why, when it comes to Mommy's doghouse, bigger is definitely better.

Tell us about your family.

I have two children (boys) and one wife (clever polygamy reference because I live in Utah). My oldest son is 11 years old and considers himself to be a young adult. He has refused to order off the kids menu since he was 7, and absolutely refuses to sit at kids table at family gatherings.

My youngest son is now 8 years old. He is the creative type, and there was a two-year period during his preschool years in which he was utterly convinced he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle named Leo. When he looked in the mirror he saw green. If he had an itch on his back he would "scratch his shell." His teachers learned very quickly not to call him by his given name.

I've been married to my current wife (reference to clever comment above) for almost 15 years. We met at work where I was her boss. But ever since the wedding she's been the one in charge. She is one of the most awesome people on Earth. As far as personality and values go she is one of the 1%.

Tell us something you didn't know about fatherhood. What's surprised you? What were you expecting?

I blame my parents. They always made parenthood look so easy that I just assumed it would be the same when I was a parent. As it turns out, being a father isn't easy at all.

Because I've worked from home much of my kids' lives, I've often been the primary caregiver. I have a relationship and bond with my boys that can only be envied by other fathers.

The first few months of parenthood can be trying - as a dad, how did you feel most useful the first six months? What did mom need the most in your experience?

My first few months of parenthood did not go as planned. Less than three weeks after our oldest was born I was downsized from my job. My wife had worked full-time up until she became a mom, but was committed and looking forward to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. Instead, she had to resume her career while I watched the newborn. I loved it. I hated it. I'm glad it happened that way.

Why did you decide to start blogging? What is your ultimate goal?

My career in marketing and advertising has always involved a fair amount of writing, which I enjoy. My original intent was to connect with other dads, but I've expanded that to include moms as well.

Tell us about the best Father's Day you've ever had.

The only difference between Father's Day and every other day of the year around here is that on Father's Day, I get some new socks. I'm not complaining though. My boys make it seem like every day is special and are very good at showing their appreciation.

What is the most difficult part of being a stay-at-home dad, and how do you fit blogging and writing into your day while keeping the kids, and wife, happy?

The hardest part is having a full-time job while being a full-time parent as well. Technology has made it so whenever I have a moment that isn't a dad thing, I can jump on the computer or phone and do work-related things. The kids sometimes struggle with identifying whether I'm working or parenting at any given moment.

What is the hardest part about being a dad?

The hardest part about being a dad is seeing my kids go through the many difficult things that we've all had to go through. It's often tempting to jump in and do their homework or resolve a problem with a friend. But I usually succeed at allowing them to have the experiences and to learn from them without me solving it for them. They always know I will be there to support though.

How do you stay out of Mommy's doghouse? Any advice for all of the other dads out there?

I have a very large and comfortable doghouse. I seem to use it frequently.

Have you ever witnessed any big/funny/cute kid moments that mom missed? How did that make her feel and how did you handle that?

We have those moments every day. By taking photos and sending emails or texts she doesn't have to miss very much.

Kids want to know: What does Dad want MOST for Father's Day?

Socks will be fine. Or a new 80-inch Full HD 1080p Flat Screen TV with Built-in Wi-Fi.

What are the three best tips you can give a new dad?

  1. Don't be afraid to say 'no'.
  2. Don't solve all of their problems for them.
  3. Don't skimp on the doghouse.

Get more laughs and tips in the rest of our Care.com Interview Series: Daddy Survival 101 ยป

Troy Pattee lives in Utah with his wife and two children. In his blog, Dadventurous, Pattee tells of the adventures of parenthood from a stay-at-home/work-at-home dad's perspective with mission is to share the funny side of being a stay-at-home dad. Pattee has an MBA and likes to play outside in the snow, dirt and mud. You can also find Troy on Twitter and Facebook.

Image used with permission from Troy Pattee.

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