Stay-At-Home-Dads enjoy three kinds of vacations:
vacations with their kids, vacations for their
kids, and vacations from their kids. I have had the
pleasure of the last two within the last month. For
a break from my kids, I flew to Atlanta with my
wife, Liz, so she could attend a conference. Liz
spent her time sitting in medical lectures for ten
hours a day. I spent my time sitting by the pool.
It was a rough life, but someone had to do it.
I realized that five days is the perfect length
of time for me to be away from my job. The week
before we left, the kids had reached new levels of
button-pushing expertise. Daily, they pushed me
over the edge with whining, crying, fighting,
disobeying, and overall brain-wrenching behavior.
Point is, I was ready for a break.
The first day we were at the hotel, I was ready
to go out to eat when Liz arrived in the room after
her long day, but she wanted to call the kids at
their grandparents to see how they were doing.
Theyre fine, I said. If
they werent, we would have heard. Lets
The second day, I distinctly remember thinking
about them at some point in the day. I dont
remember exactly when it was, but I did think about
them. It was something like, I bet the kids
would have liked that if they were here.
Wheres my drink?
The third day, I wanted to call them before Liz
came back, but I waited. I paced a little when she
was late, but I still waited to call.
The fourth day, the kids said goodbye before I
On the fifth daythe day we returnedI
met them halfway down the hall and squeezed them
until they squeaked for me to stop. I let
nothingnot their minor tantrums, not the
burning dinnerdistract me from them. They
were the center of my attention and they were the
most important things in the world.
Yep, five days is just about right.
This past weekend, I enjoyed a vacation for
Noah, my only son. Liz took the girls to their
grandparents house and the boys stayed
We did only the manliest things. We built a bird
feeder out of wood and went to Home Depot to buy
stain; we dropped Mentos into bottles of Diet Coke
and shot fountains of foam into the backyard; we
team-read Call of the Wild (abridged)
from cover to cover; we had Doritos and M&Ms
for dinner while watching Spiderman I and II. Then
we went to church in the morning after eating a
breakfast of donuts and chocolate milk.
I didnt clean or do laundry all day. I
didnt give my attention to anyone or anything
but him. I didnt have to fit him into a block
into my calendar or worry that whatever we did
would have to be repeated three times for his
sisters, just to be fair. I could give him 100% of
my attention, instead of the usual 25% (or 20).
I could also relax my grown-up guard and just be
a boy, eating boy foods and doing boy things with
my only boy. Honestly, it was as fun for me as it
was for him.
Next week, the whole family is going camping in
Canada for a vacation with the kids. I suspect that
this one will be even better than the other
* * *
Women, it's true, make human beings, but
only men can make men. - Margaret Mead
Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance
writer. Along with raising his four children, he is
developing a franchise called The Vacuum IS a
Power Tool. It is designed to help SAHDs
maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy
Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in
Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching
certificates in English, public speaking, and
psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After
six years as a high school English teacher and
Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High
School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and
became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. www.TheVacuumIsAPowerTool.com
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