Hannah Joy Photography

1. Why did you become a stay-at-home dad? Is it something you have always wanted, or did it come about after having children?

It was the path of least resistance; never thought about staying home and taking care of children. I assume, like us, most parents make it up as they go along. I viewed it as a temporary part-time job; in the beginning, I still worked part-time early mornings and weekends.  As you get more involved with childcare you realize the job/challenges don’t get easier or fewer, just different. To this day I don’t see how two working parents manage it all and still have time to enjoy life.  My wife also travels a lot for her job so it was extremely difficult to manage an inflexible job and unpredictable childcare.  It was just the best solution to our problem.

 
2. What was your job/career before becoming a stay-at-home dad?
I have a BS in biomedical engineering but in my mid-twenties I switched gears and went into cooking.  I wanted to be a good cook, maybe own a restaurant with my wife (this was before kids).  It was hard and stressful work but creative, satisfying and social.  You meet a lot of fun characters in the food business.
 
 
3. What qualities and skills do you think are helpful for stay-at-home dads?
You need to know how to cook! In my mind, if you’re an at-home-parent, male or female, and don’t cook, you are slacking on 50% of your responsibility.  It’s really unfair to expect the working spouse to come home from work and cook. That being said, it is a daily grind. It’s a never-ending chore, seven days a week, three times a day.  And unlike adults, kids have trouble skipping meals.  Other than that you are a housekeeper, yard boy, chauffeur, mentor, tutor, therapist, events manager, handyman, financial adviser, bookkeeper, house project manager, nurse… You get the idea.  Learn to be good at playing defense.  Your wife is on offense making money, learn how to defend, save and grow that money.  People don’t realize how much money you can save by staying at home and keeping on top of things.
 
 
4. What does a day in the life of a SAHD look like? What kind of routines do you have?
Routines are a fleeting luxury for at-home-parents. Don’t get too attached to them, you’re expected to flex and bend to the ever-changing situation on the ground.  Keeping that in mind, on a typical Monday school day, for example, I get up a couple hours before my daughters to exercise and have my first peaceful cup of coffee.  I catch up on the news and check the family calendar to know who needs what, who’s going where for the day and week. Once they get up I make them breakfast, although lately, I’ve been shifting that responsibility to them. I proceed to make them lunch, make sure they have everything for school (so I don’t have to bring it to them later), go over their schedules, then drop them off at school. My wife has left the house many hours prior, she leaves at 5:30 am to beat traffic and take an early morning yoga class.  We won’t see her again until 6:30/7:00 pm. 
 
After drop off, I come home and have a peaceful breakfast, write down all the chores I hope to accomplish for the day and week. Next, I set a menu for the week, plotting out every dinner while taking into consideration who has sports, music lessons, after work meeting, travel, etc.  I make a grocery list to restock the house but go shopping on Tuesday. Stores are notoriously bare on Mondays due to the weekend rush (which, thankfully, you get to avoid. A bonus, no doubt). Then I go into chore mode, clean all the morning dishes, make phone calls, schedule appointments, reply to emails, pay bills, yard work, housework, make and eat lunch (almost always alone). Around 3:00 pm I go pick up the girls, make sure they are doing their homework, clean all the dishes from my and their lunch, help with homework, get dinner going.  Usually on nights when they have after school activities I make something that can easily be reheated.  As I’m sure with most families, children seem to have nearly simultaneous activities at opposite ends of town.  So I drop my eldest off at exercise class, 5:45 pm, drive directly to the soccer fields on the opposite side of town, 6:15 pm, turn around and go directly back to get my eldest, 7:00 pm. If I’m lucky and get there early I take a ten-minute nap in the car.  We come home, by then my wife has arrived, 7:10 pm, sit down with the two of them and eat dinner or cook it in a rush (my youngest I try to feed before practice).  Then it’s back in the car to get my youngest, 7:45 pm, socialize for ten minutes with other soccer moms and dads, come home, 8:45/9:00 pm. I catch up with my wife before she falls asleep from her hectic and stressful day at work, go to bed around ten, waste an hour on social media, email, etc., lights out by 11:00 pm. Start over on Tuesday.
 
 
5. How do other people react when you tell them that you're a SAHD? Have you had negative reactions from other parents?
With women, it’s usually “Good for you”. With men it’s either “Oh man, I wish I could do that, you’re so lucky” or, mostly in meet and greets, “What do you do for a living”. When I tell them I’m a SAHD the conversation usually stops.  In their defense, I think they are looking for some common ground to start a conversation and they just closed the door on themselves.  If you are in the upper middle class or higher, most of the dads are power players in the working world, be prepared for that.  I’ve only had one negative reaction, oddly from a male pediatrician, who stated that “a man should be working”.  Odd that he couldn’t see the health benefits of a strong family structure.  Other than that I’ve experienced some laughing and disbelief from predominantly Latino men that I worked with in the food world.  It’s so foreign to them. 

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a stay-at-home dad?
That it’s a vacation, not a job.  Remember, we all think the grass is greener.  The biggest misconception I’ve had is that gender role reversal doesn’t change the traditional power dynamics and pitfalls between the breadwinner and the stay-at-home-parent.  All the things that mothers have complained about regarding their working husbands show up with working wives.  Also, you are now low man on the totem pole. Money and a paying job, not gender, are king.  Understand and accept that and you’ll be good.  If you can’t, then you better go back to work. 
 
7. Lastly, can you share a favorite easy, quick weeknight dinner that you make often? 
Even though I was a cook, I still use a lot of other's recipes.  I just know how to pick ones that are easy, use available ingredients and are quick.  My current family cooking friend is the InstantPot. I like it because it cooks fast, with no real loss of flavor, unlike a slow cooker. NomNom Paleo is a favorite "go to" site and the Summer Italian Chicken recipe is something I cook often.  Often I replace the fresh cremini mushrooms with a bag of frozen porcini mushrooms from Trader Joe's.  I also will substitute canned chopped tomato for fresh, always on hand. It just makes everything faster, and I feel the porcini increase the flavor (and can be kept in the freezer until needed).
 
https://nomnompaleo.com/post/148597361748/pressure-cooker-summer-italian-chicken
Monday, May 21, 2018
By Hannah Joy Photography
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1. Why did you become a stay-at-home dad? Is it something you have always wanted, or did it come about after having children?

It was the path of least resistance; never thought about staying home and taking care of children. I assume, like us, most parents make it up as they go along. I viewed it as a temporary part-time job; in the beginning, I still worked part-time early mornings and weekends. As you get more involved with childcare you realize the job/challenges don’t get easier or fewer, just different. To this day I don’t see how two working parents manage it all and still have time to enjoy life. My wife also travels a lot for her job so it was extremely difficult to manage an inflexible job and unpredictable childcare. It was just the best solution to our problem.

2. What was your job/career before becoming a stay-at-home dad?

I have a BS in biomedical engineering but in my mid-twenties I switched gears and went into cooking. I wanted to be a good cook, maybe own a restaurant with my wife (this was before kids). It was hard and stressful work but creative, satisfying and social. You meet a lot of fun characters in the food business.

3. What qualities and skills do you think are helpful for stay-at-home dads?

You need to know how to cook! In my mind, if you’re an at-home-parent, male or female, and don’t cook, you are slacking on 50% of your responsibility. It’s really unfair to expect the working spouse to come home from work and cook. That being said, it is a daily grind. It’s a never-ending chore, seven days a week, three times a day. And unlike adults, kids have trouble skipping meals. Other than that you are a housekeeper, yard boy, chauffeur, mentor, tutor, therapist, events manager, handyman, financial adviser, bookkeeper, house project manager, nurse… You get the idea. Learn to be good at playing defense. Your wife is on offense making money, learn how to defend, save and grow that money. People don’t realize how much money you can save by staying at home and keeping on top of things.

4. What does a day in the life of a SAHD look like? What kind of routines do you have?

Routines are a fleeting luxury for at-home-parents. Don’t get too attached to them, you’re expected to flex and bend to the ever-changing situation on the ground. Keeping that in mind, on a typical Monday school day, for example, I get up a couple hours before my daughters to exercise and have my first peaceful cup of coffee. I catch up on the news and check the family calendar to know who needs what, who’s going where for the day and week. Once they get up I make them breakfast, although lately, I’ve been shifting that responsibility to them. I proceed to make them lunch, make sure they have everything for school (so I don’t have to bring it to them later), go over their schedules, then drop them off at school. My wife has left the house many hours prior, she leaves at 5:30am to beat traffic and take an early morning yoga class. We won’t see her again until 6:30/7:00pm. After drop off, I come home and have a peaceful breakfast, write down all the chores I hope to accomplish for the day and week. Next, I set a menu for the week, plotting out every dinner while taking into consideration who has sports, music lessons, after work meeting, travel, etc. I make a grocery list to restock the house but go shopping on Tuesday. Stores are notoriously bare on Mondays due to the weekend rush (which, thankfully, you get to avoid. A bonus, no doubt). Then I go into chore mode, clean all the morning dishes, make phone calls, schedule appointments, reply to emails, pay bills, yard work, housework, make and eat lunch (almost always alone). Around 3:00pm I go pick up the girls, make sure they are doing their homework, clean all the dishes from my and their lunch, help with homework, get dinner going. Usually on nights when they have after school activities I make something that can easily be reheated. As, I’m sure with most families, children seem to have nearly simultaneous activities at opposite ends of town. So I drop my eldest off at exercise class, 5:45pm, drive directly to the soccer fields on the opposite side of town, 6:15pm, turn around and go directly back to get my eldest, 7:00pm. If I’m lucky and get there early I take a ten-minute nap in the car. We come home, by then my wife has arrived, 7:10pm, sit down with the two of them and eat dinner or cook it in a rush (my youngest I try to feed before practice). Then it’s back in the car to get my youngest, 7:45pm, socialize for ten minutes with other soccer moms and dads, come home, 8:45/9:00pm. I catch up with my wife before she falls asleep from her hectic and stressful day at work, go to bed around ten, waste an hour on social media, email, etc., lights out by 11:00pm. Start over on Tuesday.

5. How do other people react when you tell them that you're a SAHD?

Have you had negative reactions from other parents? With women, it’s usually “Good for you”. With men it’s either “Oh man, I wish I could do that, you’re so lucky” or, mostly in meet and greets, “What do you do for a living”. When I tell them I’m a SAHD the conversation usually stops. In their defense, I think they are looking for some common ground to start a conversation and they just closed the door on themselves. If you are in the upper middle class or higher, most of the dads are power players in the working world, be prepared for that. I’ve only had one negative reaction, oddly from a male pediatrician, who stated that “a man should be working”. Odd that he couldn’t see the health benefits of a strong family structure. Other than that I’ve experienced some laughing and disbelief from predominantly Latino men that I worked with in the food world. It’s so foreign to them.

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a stay-at-home dad?

That it’s a vacation, not a job. Remember, we all think the grass is greener. The biggest misconception I’ve had is that gender role reversal doesn’t change the traditional power dynamics and pitfalls between the breadwinner and the stay-at-home-parent. All the things that mothers have complained about regarding their working husbands show up with working wives. Also, you are now low man on the totem pole. Money and a paying job, not gender, are king. Understand and accept that and you’ll be good. If you can’t, then you better go back to work.

7. Lastly, can you share a favorite family-friendly recipe that is good for a busy weeknight?

Even though I was a cook, I still use a lot of other's recipes. I just know how to pick ones that are easy, use available ingredients and are quick. My current family cooking friend is the InstantPot. I like it because it cooks fast, with no real loss of flavor, unlike a slow cooker. NomNom Paleo is a favorite "go to" site and this chicken recipe Nom Nom Paleo Pressure Cooker Summer Italian Chicken is something I cook often. Sometimes I replace the fresh cremini mushrooms with a bag of frozen porcini mushrooms from Trader Joe's. I also will substitute canned chopped tomato for fresh, which I always keep on hand.

Thank you to this sweet family for letting me document a few hours of "real life". Every family has a story of their own and I loved learning about theirs.

I'm looking forward to my next Real Families shoot- a large, homeschooling family- and will share that with you soon. Have a unique family and want to share it with the world? (well, the world that reads my blog ;) ) Comment below and we'll talk!

 

Blessings!

Hannah 

 
Sunday, April 16, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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Tonight was my alma mater's prom. It's rather shocking to think that I attended Fletcher's Senior prom TWENTY SIX years ago (which doesn't make sense at all because I'm like 30). Such great memories photographing this adorable couple brought back. I've known Season since before she was born (which also made me feel old). It's hard to imagine this gorgeous young lady is already fifteen. I'm hoping she ditched the shoes early and had a blast dancing ;) 

 
Monday, April 03, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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I met Tanner and his family a couple of years ago at a mini-session event. Since then I have had the honor of photographing him and his sweet mom and dad several times, and I just LOVE this boy. I'm pretty sure I've never seen him without an Elmo of some kind, so I love that we got pictures that show his adoration of his buddy. 

As you can see, he has a smile that will melt your heart. I'm so grateful that I have the privilege of capturing this special guy as he grows up. 

 
Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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There's nothing in the world like welcoming a new baby into a family. The first days with that tiny new family member are both exhilarating and exhausting, especially when there's a toddler older sibling! It's not exactly the quiet, peaceful time the first child likely enjoyed. I think most parents agree that those precious first days, and even weeks!, are a blur. These will be cherished images, and memory joggers, that mama and daddy will enjoy sharing with their girls when they talk about this special time. You can see the love that big sister has for her- honestly something I've never seen in a child so young. She's a little mama and she's IN LOVE with baby sister. AND, we got to have mama's grandma their too! Three generations in one photo. Thank you Jess and Devyn for letting me capture you sweet family welcoming baby Azalea!     

 
Thursday, March 23, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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I'm incredibly blessed to be a photographer in North Florida. Not only can I shoot outdoors year round, but I have my pick of every possible background (other than mountains!) within 20 minutes of my house. This beach family didn't have to think long about where they wanted to capture an evening of fun with their family. The sand of Neptune Beach is where these babies have spent countless hours since birth. We got lucky with an incredibly gorgeous sky and had a blast letting the kids just be kids! With two kids under 4, it's best just to let them lead ;)

Jennifer, I'm so glad we FINALLY made this happen. Thank you for trusting me to capture your family.  

 
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