I honestly don't know what I was thinking. I've been a worker all of my life, since I was 14 and detasseling in the cornfields of Iowa. I had two jobs throughout high school, and kept a full-time job when I went to college full-time. So in 2008, when my spouse and I had "the talk" about moving to suburban Connecticut, I have no idea why I thought being a homemaker would do it for me. I'm not saying being a homemaker isn't a full-time job -- it definitely is. It just isn't the job for me, and it took me almost six years to realize it.
In June 2009 our son was born. Suddenly the scope of my homemaking job expanded to "stay-at-home dad" (or for those who know me from Twitter, @GayAtHomeDad). I was busy as hell, to my delight. I'm an idealist, so between keeping my house Martha Stewart perfect and making sure my son had every one of his needs met, it was a juggling act. In between feedings, I spent countless hours getting every room of my house Architectural Digest worthy. I was lost in an endless sea of fabric swatches and throw pillows. Becoming our official interior decorator was fulfilling and gave me the creative outlet I needed. I considered making it into a career, but upon doing market research, I realized the demand just wouldn't be there.
Over the course of the years, I weighed the advantages and disadvantages of being a stay-at-home dad. The obvious best part is spending all the time in the world with my son. On the flip, I suddenly realized I was now a man in his 30s with a huge gap in my resume. Even though my spouse has a wonderful job, this started to concern me. That concern kept growing and growing, and ultimately I realized that I am the kind of person who needs some form of independence. So I started plotting and planning how I could make the transition from stay-at-home dad to working dad, and eventually I found the best solution.
My son is now 5 1/2 and attends kindergarten full-time. We aren't necessarily planning on adding to the family anytime soon (see my article "Confessions of a Gay Dad: The Pressure to Have Two Kids"), so I now have ample free time to work again. Fortunately, I have a fabulous friend I respect very much and she kicks ass at real estate. We sat down earlier this year, and she felt that with my luxury retail background, impeccable taste (quoting her), and my mix of brutal honesty and charm, I would be a natural as a real estate agent. Not to mention, one of my favorite pastimes is perusing (judging) other people's homes. So over the past few months, I low-key did all of the work required to get my license, which meant tedious classes and several extremely difficult exams. I'm happy to announce that as of last week, I'm officially licensed to sell homes and signed with one of the best brokers in existence -- Keller Williams.
To say the least, I'm extremely pumped to start selling homes. I will bring my trademark organizational skills to the table and offer my almost-too-discerning eye when it comes to staging a home for sale. Put me up against the meanest negotiator and I'll come out on top. I'm ready, and stoked. Since I took a slow route into the business, my family is adjusting accordingly. I essentially just have to move my schedule around a bit, and make myself more available to both clients and my family. I'm a wiz at time management, so I'm certain it will eventually all fall into place.
As for being a stay-at-home dad, I will only miss portions of it. I will miss the tender moments of alone time I had with my son, especially when he was a baby. I will miss lazy afternoon naps with him, and I will miss him being my "boss." However, he's a little boy now and doesn't need the level of attention he used to. If we do decide to have another, I will have to perform a juggling act again, but I'm confident I will figure it out. In the meantime, please feel free to send me any clients (Hartford area -- email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and help get me started! And from now on, you can call me a "gay working dad." Or better yet, just a working dad.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate'sparenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.