Stay at Home Dad! | By Eric Loper
I never thought I’d be where I am now as a father and husband. But here I am. As my wife, Christine and I rolled with the punches of life, we ended up not so textbook. I guess I would say it began when we moved back to San Diego from Las Vegas. In Vegas, I worked full time in a casino, while Christine had a part time gig in Human Resources. But you see, I wasn’t going to start over in the casinos and Christine found a reputable, full time job in HR once we moved back to San Diego. I tried the whole starting my own business thing, but having not put much heart and thought into it, that got thrown into the “never mind” pile.
While still searching for what it was I was going to do, Christine worked the 9-5, Monday through Friday. We did not want to send our kids to day care, so I watched them while Christine was at work. This didn’t seem permanent as I was looking for where and what I was supposed to be. My foot landed in the door of a restaurant/brewery as a delivery driver with the intention of working my way up to bartending while I went back to school. While bartending, I was given an amazing opportunity to take over as the brewer. This was perfect! A job that I had a heaping truckload of passion for, and was flexible. I could get to work early, in order to be finished in time to pick up the kids from school. Meanwhile, Christine was tearing up HR. Her experience and pay kept increasing. Eventually we made the decision to homeschool the kids. With my job being the flexible one, naturally I would take on schooling. While this works, it’s definitely not the easiest way of doing things.
On days the kids are homeschooled, if I have to work, I get up at 2am to start working before the word “early” is even awake. Christine then drops them off at my work on her way into the office. This way I am usually done around 10am and we have time to go home and hit the books. Normally, we hit history and literature by noon. That’s about when I feel the increasing weight on my eyelids, “OK kids, after history you two can have a recess while dad takes a nap.” These naps justify the 2am alarm clock. It’s like 30 minutes of heavy heaven.
Now, while this works, it’s not what we had planned. I mean I never imaged that I would be working part-time, as well as part-time homeschooling my kids, while Christine worked a full time gig, Monday through Friday. I did not expect to be the one texting my wife to see if she was going to be home on time, or making sure the house was clean before Christine got home from work so we could all relax and hang as a family. We just kind of fell into this.
As time went on, this path became more cemented. There was a bit of panic as the cement hardened. We felt trapped. Christine began to struggle with the idea of being a working mom when so many of the people that she looked up to were stay at home moms. As relatively new Christians, this situation didn’t seem to fit what we thought the Christian family should look like. As Christine was crafting ideas of how she could make a career for herself at home, her career in HR continued to excel. She received more and more favor and provision, which was a huge blessing to our family. At the same time things were going well with my work. I was also able to be involved with coaching my kids’ sports. We had time for ministry and the right balance of family time. Things were actually pretty good. You’d think we would have seen God’s hand in all this goodness, yet we were searching for a way out.
Thankfully, God showed us what we couldn’t see even though it was right in front of our faces. Christine attended a women’s retreat where Pastor Tracy was teaching on a woman’s identity. In that, she spoke that the focus isn’t whether a woman works inside or outside her home, but rather where her heart is aimed. The Holy Spirit showed us this is exactly where we needed to be. Since then everything seems so settled. Christine is still amazing at work and just the mom that our kids need. Sure I don’t get to have the kids yell “Dad!” when I walk in the door from work. That’s reserved for mom in our house. But hey, I get to work part time at a job that I love, help my kids learn, coach their sports team, and lead our family.
We’ve learned that marriage is a partnership and “roles” are what you make of it. I’m pretty darn good at cooking and I love to do it; Christine is great at cleaning. I’m more of the disciplinarian while Christine is the peacekeeper. I like to play and be rough with the kids, while Christine is the one they want when they need the tenderness of a mom. Although some of our roles might seem like they are turned around, it’s very much God’s handiwork at play here in this house. We love, trust and serve God; He leads, we follow.
Eric Loper is 39 years old and has been married to Christine Loper for 14 years and together; they have a 13-year-old son Keith and an 11-year-old daughter Jade. He works at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing in Carmel Mountain Ranch as the brewer. He also homeschools his kids and helps with their sports by coaching. He loves sports, cooking, and gardening.