By: Matt Peregoy, TheRealMattDaddy.com
As we have had several days of temperatures at or above sixty degrees here in the Mid-Atlantic, thoughts of spring cleaning are coming to mind. In fact, just last weekend, I spent all day cleaning out two cars and detailing the insides to showroom quality. I was never actually aware of just how many Cheerios my kid was dropping in the back seat until I emptied the vacuum canister. This time of year gives us a chance to not only clean up the clutter in the play room, but to also clean up the clutter on our calendars. It’s time to spring clean your schedule, and find out where you can get more quality family time.
Eleven months ago, I made a drastic change in my life. I walked away from a career to become a stay-at-home dad to my then one year old daughter. My entire concept of fatherhood was changed. I had previously been content to be the “provider,” meaning my biggest contribution to the household was my paycheck. When I decided to become an at-home dad, I learned to live without the career and the recognition and the paycheck. I learned that the most important thing I could ever provide for my daughter is my quality time.
The biggest thing that was cluttering up my schedule was work. The hours are endless, the work is aggravating, and the concept of “evening” and “weekend” are non-existent when you work in retail. This was not a problem for us before we had our daughter. I even worked two jobs back then. My wife and I joked that absence made the heart grow fonder. We were able to carve out time together whenever I had a day off or just stay up late together when I arrived home. But when the baby came along, my wife was on the baby’s schedule 24/7. That meant that I had to make a special effort to put in quality time with both my wife and my daughter, and it just was not working with my work schedule. Absence was making the heart grow cold and bitter. When I came home one day, and my wife said, “I can’t do this alone anymore,” I knew we had to make a change. That began a series of conversations that lead to me staying at home and my wife going back to work on a normal nine to five schedule.
Looking back, walking away from that job was the best decision I ever made. Instead of being over-committed to my job and under-committed to my family, my life is back in balance. I am more involved at home. I am more involved at church. My marriage is better off, and my health will improve once I start to exercise regularly. At the very least, I’m not as stressed as I was when I was working, so I guess I can claim that my health has improved too. The bottom line is that my job was my clutter, and I cleaned house.
What do you have that is cluttering up your calendar and stealing your valuable time from your family? To what projects, clubs, activities, or people are you over-committed? Who would benefit if you were suddenly more available? Aren’t those the people you want to make happy? You should just go ahead and tidy up a bit. Let me know if you find a bunch of Cheerios.
Matt Peregoy is an at-home dad and owner of TheRealMattDaddy.com, his blog about parenting. He lives with his wife and daughter in Gettysburg, PA. He is also involved as a guest blogger for Daddy’s Home, Inc. – The National At Home Dad Network, The Good Men Project, and The Balancing Act.