Down in Dad’s Shop: a second generation stay-at-home-dad’s reflections on childhood

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By: Brandon GreerCC BY 2.0
A few weeks ago a friend clued me into Sweet Juniper!, a blog written by stay-at-home-dad Jim. In 2006 Jim Griffioen quit his job as a securities lawyer in San Francisco and moved to downtown Detroit where he has spent the last seven years, in his own words, “as a very happy stay-at-home dad.”

Jim recently reflected on his experience with his own work-from-home dad:

I grew up with a father who was always at home. Having now abandoned my professional career, it’s not strange for me to see my kids growing up with a mother who leaves for a traditional job and a dad who is there during the day and whenever they need someone to be there, like all these furloughs from school they get every few weeks for parent teacher conferences or Caesar Chavez’s nephew’s birthday or the anniversary of the final battle of the Crimean War or two weeks for Christmas and then another week-long “winter break.” My mother, a special education teacher, was also usually home during those times, and she also stayed home with my sister and me for a few years before returning to her career.

I grew up with an understanding of manual labor that the children of those who work with their hands often receive: as rewarding as it might be, it is awfully hard on your back. My dad would come in from his barn at night, primer dust in his hair and streaks of paint on his shirt and we knew better than to complain about our days.

I bought into the promise of my generation. I found a way at age 23 to make more money than my dad ever would. Of course I quickly learned the truth of that simple cliche; it didn’t bring happiness, not when indentured to miserable sadists who thought nothing of taking away your weekend or forcing you to work until after the buses stopped running. I often spent my limited free time in the leisure of shopping for shit I didn’t need because that was the only thing that made me feel better about losing all the time spent earning it. Hours and hours and hours where it never felt like I ever accomplished anything.

You can read the rest at Sweet Juniper.

Comments on Down in Dad’s Shop: a second generation stay-at-home-dad’s reflections on childhood

  1. Jim is a wonderful writer! I’ve been following him and his wife since their first baby was a few months old. Check out the amazing costumes he’s made for their children!

  2. oh dear. i am still trying to process my recent realization that i might want to be a stay-at-home dad. and then i went and read that thing about making gladiator costumes for your four-year-old. i’m totally sold.

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