|It's all about this kid!|
"Times they are a changing" - Bob DylanI wasn't sure when this moment would come. I knew that blogging probably wouldn't be a "forever" thing in my life. I sort of anticipated that my time as a non-working at-home dad would be limited. Sometimes, life presents you with an opportunity that you cannot not take advantage of, and I am at that crossroads. I have been an at-home dad/dad blogger for two years, and I am sad to say that this will be my last post as "The Real Matt Daddy."
Real OpportunitiesI have been presented with an opportunity to be a part of a small business owned by my step-father. This job will allow me to be flexible with my schedule so that I can still take care of my daughter when she is not in school. It will also allow me to do some things that I love to do - repair electric guitars and build cigar box guitars - and make money doing them. With this job comes the opportunity to really learn this business so that, one day, I could potentially take over when my step-dad decides to retire.
I have always wanted to run a small business, but without a sure-fire idea or start-up capital, I held back from taking such a big risk for the sake of my family. This could be the perfect opportunity because I could potentially take over an established business without the risk of starting from scratch. Not only that, it allows the me the flexibility that I need to be the kind of parent that I want to be and to pursue other means of giving back that I feel God calling me to at this time.
Real BalanceI feel that parents need to have a good reason for being away from their kids. One of those reasons is generating income. To be perfectly honest, the time required to write and promote a great blog that generates income takes away from being the best father I can be. It's not that I'm a bad parent when I blog, but it was different when my daughter was in a bouncer and was pretty much self-contained. She's much more active now, and I don't want to be a dad that sits online every day waiting for something to blog about while I miss out on her life. I don't want to find myself ignoring my kid because I'm promoting my latest blog post on Twitter. How would that be any different than just putting her in daycare while I go to work? The entire point of staying home was so that I could do it right, and the more I give to the blog, the less I have for her. That's just not fair to my daughter.
"Blog at night," you say, and that would be a great idea except that I value my marriage. The evenings are the only times that I get to spend with my wife to make sure that our relationship is strong. With her busy schedule, and especially with her new, longer commute, we have to be intentional about making quality time for each other. Blogging at night would ruin that opportunity to spend time together. We'd probably end up sitting on separate couches on our digital devices "connecting" with the world and growing further apart. That's not the marriage I want, and I won't sacrifice my relationship with my wife for my writing, no matter how much I love it. I have to prioritize my relationship with my wife and daughter over my love for writing, and I am very okay with that at this point. Writing was a very important and useful tool for me as I was leaving my full-time job to stay at home with my daughter. It really helped me process my emotions related to the major life change that was happening. I still love to write, but there are more important things in my life at this point, and I have to make room for them.
Making A Real DifferenceOne of my goals was to make a difference with my writing. I wanted to be a voice for men who needed some inspiration. I wanted to be an example of a good father so others could be encouraged to make the effort required to be a good father as well. There were many times when my writing made a difference for my readers, and I am thankful that our paths crossed at a time when the outpouring of my soul in text was able to speak to a thought or emotion that you were having at that same moment. Perhaps the best example I can set for you now is to make the decision to walk away (I seem to be pretty good at that. Just ask my previous employer!) Make sure the strength of your family always comes first.
I must admit, there were many times when it felt like I was "preaching to the choir" while writing on this blog. I felt like I was with a bunch of great parents standing in a circle and we were all yelling into the middle. Occasionally, one of us would have a message break through the circle. But those moments were rare, and when they did happen, they were minimized, trivialized, refuted, diluted, and rarely reached their intended audience. Anyone who could really benefit from hearing our voices was on the outside of the room that this circle was in, across the street, pulling their hair out because of their kids. They didn't get our message because we were not taking it directly to them in person. Real change never comes by talking alone. There has to be some action. If I want to help men be better fathers or be mentors to the fatherless, I have to get involved with them personally, and that is what I plan to do here in my local area. I encourage you to do the same.
Real Thank-YousThere are a few people who have supported this blog from the beginning, not to mention a few people I met along the way, that I need to thank.
First of all, I owe a debt of thanks to my family and friends who encouraged me and were faithful readers even when the writing was not very good.
Bruce Sallan, thank you for being my most frequent comment giver.
Zach from 8Bit Dad, I will miss beating you to posting about the latest "dadvertising" (and your jokes).
Oren from A Blogger and A Father, thanks for creating the dad blogger Facebook group and for your sarcastic sense of humor.
John from Daddy's In Charge? Your banjo-filled Lego videos always helped keep things in perspective.
Lance and Matt from the NYC Dads Group and the other NAHDN guys (Al, Hogan, Chad, Chris and Chris), thank you for always promoting my stuff. It really means a lot that you thought it was worth sharing.
Lastly, I want to say thanks to YOU for reading this blog. I hope it kept you entertained and encouraged amid the craziness of life and parenting. I appreciate every comment, every discussion, and every social media whirlwind we shared.