The most recent data from the Pew Research Center shows the number of stay-at-home dads almost doubled between 1989 and 2012. More dads than ever before are staying home while moms work and Oklahoma City father Jimmy Morris is one of them. For our Dad Issue, we asked him to tell us a little bit about his experience.
1. Tell us about your family and what circumstances led to you being a stay-at-home dad.
My name is Jimmy Morris. I'm 44 my wife, Mary, is 37. We have a son, Jacob, who is 9 months old. I am a stay-at-home dad and my wife is a G.I.-certified Nurse Practitioner.
After 14 years of marriage and years of foreign missions we decided to start a family. After endless discussions we decided that I couldn't compete with my wife's career (she's brilliant!) therefore I was going to be a stay-at-home dad. When we locked down this decision, I was nervous but excited. One of the deciding factors was the astronomical cost of quality childcare. The first try was unsuccessful when my wife miscarried with the pregnancy. This was the most painful, confusing and devastating thing I had ever experienced. But the second try brought us a perfect baby boy!
2. How did you feel about being a stay-at-home dad at first and has that changed over time?
After Jacob was born, my feelings about being a stay-at-home dad began to change. This was the most selfless thing I have ever experienced not to mention the sleep deprivation, being peed on, puked on and even pooped on. I never knew how hard it would actually be. My life as I knew it was over!
After adjusting to focusing 100 percent of my time and energy on Jacob, the rewards started rolling in. He changes every day and loves unconditionally. Every time I think I can't make it another second, he looks up at me and smiles and I realize that it's all worth it!
3. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you about fatherhood?
The best advice I ever received was to be careful about my words and actions around Jacob. I am already seeing myself in Jacob—the way he reacts, smiles and accepts others. I was given that advice by an elderly friend who regretfully is seeing some of the negative effects of his own actions in his children.