The best place to be is at home
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Hoani is a builder who decided to stop working for a few years to be a stay-at-home dad. The memories of his own childhood, when his Dad was always working, helped him to choose this path.
- How did you and your wife decide who would be the parent-at-home with the children?
The decision for me to trade places with my wife Farah and be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) came along with a new job offer. The new job would give Farah a salary that for me as a builder would be hard to compete with, and, I was willing to give up my dreams so my wife could follow hers... or maybe it was more like what Farah wants is usually what Farah gets! (hahaha)
- What's the best and the worst of being a SAHD?
The best part is simply just being there for our children, today is a good example as our 3 year old is sick with a tummy bug. I was booked to play golf today so yes it’s disappointing to miss the game with the lads, but I feel very lucky to be able to be with my child when she is sick, as many parents don’t have that choice.
I did find it hard initially once I stopped working not having that bloke time with my mates but I quickly realised again how lucky I was to be able to spend time with my kids, which many of my mates would remind me of.
- As a child, was at least one of your parents with you at home when you were little? What are your memories of that?
Yes my mom was home with us kids when we were growing up. I have great memories of growing up with my mom always around taking all of us 8 kids here there and everywhere. Being the second eldest of 8 kids has definitely helped me with being a SAHD. My youngest sister was born when I was 15 so changing nappies and doing chores has been a part of my life long before being a parent.
Another thing I remember about growing up is that my dad worked a lot, he needed to obviously with so many mouths to feed. Though as a child I didn’t fully understand why my dad was not around, and the relationship I had with dad was very different to that with my mom who was always there.
- SAHM and SAHD sometimes get funny comments about what they do, like "what do you do all day?" How do you answer to those comments?
I did get a few cheeky comments from tradie mates when I first became a SAHD but to be honest I didn’t really worry to much. Many of them didn’t have kids so they didn’t know what they were talking about.
I still get asked why I haven’t gone back to work because the girls are at school and day care but again I just say it works well so why change it.
- Do you feel that the approach women and men have towards the same "role" is different?
Most definitely, I have had many conversations with other parents about this. I feel the main difference is the mother/child bond is very different to father/child bond. I’ve come to accept that no matter how much time I spend with my kids I will always be number 2, sounds sad but it’s true.
I want my kids to be independent ASAP, but I feel my wife wants to keep them dependent on her for as long as possible because of that bond they have, that not wanting to let go kind of feeling I guess?!
- What do you think are the benefits of staying at home while the kids are little?
The main benefit is simply just being present for my Tamariki, I know how it feels to not have a father around much when growing up. It took me a long time to understand it. The bond I’m creating with my kids is something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. I want them to feel safe and have that same feeling I had, knowing my mom would always be there when we needed her.
I love my whanau more than anything in the whole world so what better place to be than right at home looking after them all.