Leading Your Family as a Stay-at-Home Dad
Family walks along a beach at sunset
Chet Collins in stylized text
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HUMBLESERVICE

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Leading Your Family as a Stay-at-Home Dad

Why I Wrote This Book

Life as a stay-at-home dad was nothing like I expected. In the first two years, I was bored. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing, but I had all of the time in the world to figure it out. In those early days, I only had to care for our infant son and a small apartment.

All of these years later, my life today is totally different. My family has grown to three children, all under six years old. My days are booked solid, from the moment I wake up at 5:00am, until I go to bed at 9:00pm. There’s play, work, appointments, and adventures. In those twelve hours that at least two of my children are awake, I’m constantly in motion. Despite the demands on my schedule, I still need to schedule time to take care of myself.

For most of my time as a stay-at-home dad, I was lost. With little direction and no experience, I made many mistakes as I learned. Being a stay-at-home dad requires so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. Humble Service is my best advice for dads. I’ve pulled together many of the lessons I’ve learned to shape a philosophical understanding of my role in our family. This book has the vision for stay-at-home dads, along with all of the practical knowledge that you need to be successful. This is a guidebook to help you be the stay-at-home dad that your family deserves.

About the Book

Nothing can prepare you for your life as a stay-at-home dad. You will work harder than you ever have before. And you have the opportunity to lead and serve your family more intimately than you ever have before.

This isn't a job or a career, it's a way of life. You will give every moment of your day and every ounce of your energy to your wife and your children.

Here's how
Humble Service will help you:
 
Should you stay home?
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why a dad would leave the workforce to stay home and care for his family. While you might have a good reason, you should make this decision carefully. Staying home is not a life of luxury, it's a life of dedicated, quiet service. I give you some things to think about before you and your wife make the final decision.
 
A philosophy of fatherhood
The caricature of fatherhood that we're presented with in the media is just that. Fatherhood is a calling from God, a mission within the vocation of marriage that is distinctly holy. It requires devotion to duty and a commitment to the communal life of your family. I lay out the philosophical and theological underpinnings of fatherhood and how they directly apply to your life as a stay-at-home dad.
 
My best cheat codes
For six years, I muddled through my role at home. With no references or guidebooks, I made things up as I went. I made mistakes and learned many lessons along the way. My goal for this book is to help you avoid those mistakes so that you can do a better job than I did. I offer you a detailed look at my daily life and routines. Along with my strategy, I give you plenty of practical tips to help you shape your life as a stay-at-home dad.
This is the guidebook that you've been looking for.

Humble Service will help you get you up to speed, fast. You'll finish this book ready to get to work serving your family better than you ever have before.

Excerpt

A decade ago, I dreamt of the joy and ease that this kind of life would bring. What I’ve found is that it has all of the same joys and burdens as any other life, as any other job.

When I was in the workforce, I would stress about getting tasks done on time and I was accountable to a supervisor. I don’t have those particular stressors anymore. They’ve been replaced by new and different stresses. Getting the kids out the door in the morning, preparing every meal, cleaning the house while the kids are awake, keeping all of my children stimulated with activity, and so on. Stress, expectations, and pressure are just a part of life.
Many women dream of being stay-at-home moms. That’s a wonderful thing. They have workout groups, weekly play-dates, mom-friends, and young mom groups. They plan activities together, share calendars, and form a strong community. Their activities are designed for mothers to connect. The fact that the kids have something to do is an added bonus.

In large part, stay-at-home dads are men without a community. They have friends, but those friends work normal hours. There’s an awkwardness that comes with a man taking his children to one of those mom events. As a result, my daily adult interactions are limited. I could use one of those ready made communities.

The life of the family should always be viewed as a whole unit. Each individual member has gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that they contribute to help the family succeed, together. Regardless of one’s personal contributions, every member is responsible for meeting the needs of the entire family. So while one parent may work outside of the home, that does not excuse them from helping with other household tasks. While one parent may take the lead on daily care for the children, they’re not absolved of responsibility for the financial health of the family. This shared responsibility is what makes the family the basic building block of society. It’s what makes it so strong and so effective.

The family must be built upon a strong marriage. Marriage isn’t easy. There are good days and bad days. Regardless of how one spouse feels emotionally about the other, they can both be confident in their shared love. It’s this strength that reinforces the family. It provides the children the safety they need in order to come to know and understand their world. No family will succeed in having a parent at home if the marriage isn’t solid. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but there has to be the belief that nothing will break the relationship.

Mothers and fathers are the primary educators of their children. They share the responsibility for the academic, moral, and religious education of their children, regardless of their employment status. Day care, babysitters, nannys, grandparents and schools aid in this education, but the parents bear ultimate responsibility. There’s no shirking, no abdicating this lifetime effort.

This book is a work in progress. Every day, I’m learning new lessons and applying new principles. This book is aspirational and starkly pragmatic. It lays out a vision for the perfect fulfillment of my fatherly role, while also laying bare the profound difficulties and shortcomings that I face. This book is an offer of encouragement to those dads who join me as the primary caregiver for their children. It’s a noble and masculine calling. It requires us to give all that we have and requires us to take on objectives and situations to which we are not naturally suited. This is a book about my life as a stay-at-home dad, and what I hope to accomplish in my role. It’s also a book to help other dads transition into this life’s work.

My life is completely different from the one that I had imagined. In my five years as a stay-at-home dad, my family has grown from one child to three. I have encountered stresses and situations that I could not predict. My personality and preferences have adapted on a monthly, daily, and even hourly basis to meet the challenges that I encounter. It’s my hope that this book will help you, and me, thrive.
Humble Service book cover art

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Pre-order your copy of Humble Service, available November 26th for Kindle and Apple Books.

Paperback coming early December 2019.
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Chet Collins

About the Author

Chet Collins is the author of three books, including The Transition and Grant Us Peace. His most recent release is Humble Service: Leading Your Family as a Stay-At-Home Dad. Since 2013, he’s written extensively on his experiences as a husband, father, and a stay-at-home dad. Chet is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he met his wife, Alison. They've been married for seven years and have three children.