Moms Make it Work: Andy | Full Time Working, Part Time Stay at Home Dad

Today on the Moms Make it Work series, we have Andy who is a dad that works full time outside of the house as a police officer. But his hours allow him to be home with the kids two, sometimes three days per week while his wife is at work. I loved Andy's take on 'mommy guilt' and his honesty about how much he loves being at home with his kids. I've always loved watching Nate with our kids and think that if he ever changed his hours to be home one full day with them, he would secretly kind of like it, too. But Dads just do it differently than moms and maybe we can learn something from their laid-back, straight-forwardness when it comes to parenting. Great post, Andy, hope you all enjoy!


Hello, everyone! I’m Andy (AKA: Kerm) and I’m married to Jodi at the “Raising Snowpeas” blog. I am also responsible for playing a role in spawning Allison (5), Jacob (2), and baby #3. This is my first ever blog post so thank you to Julia at “My Life in Transition” for letting me give the world a little insight into how I make it work as a dad to my charming offspring.

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What is your background story? What is your career/schooling before you started staying home with the kids? And how does that work now?

I am a 33 year old full-time working dad. I’m employed as a Police Officer with a suburban police department here in the Twin Cities area. I obtained an A.S. degree in Law Enforcement, and then my muse decided it would be fun to embark on a career change toward teaching. I went to the U of MN Twin Cities where I did my best to fit in with the Birkenstock wearing, bike-riding, cloves-smoking, anti-shaving, double soy latte-drinking English major crowd. I fooled them long enough to get my B.A. in English Literature but, by then, my muse had already confided to me that this was a terrible idea and cautioned me that my personality coupled with teaching high school children would be akin to using nuclear weapons on Gandhi. So, I gathered my Shakespeare and Keats and set my sights back on police work. Let’s just say that I write really good police reports and I like to confuse the general public with literary quips.

I am thankfully employed with a department that does not have rotating shifts, so I have set days that I work: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and every other Saturday. Of course, the downside to this is that I work 12 hour days, but I think the benefits of having a set schedule outweigh the negatives. When I’m not out saving the galaxy, I’m at home solo with the kids Wednesday and Thursday and sometimes on Friday as well when Jodi has to work. I don’t think there is another career that could prepare a person better for parenting than law enforcement. In fact, I will go as far a as to say that ANY stay-at-home mom or dad would be a fantastic police officer! They are so eerily similar, just on different scales. Let me explain.

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You see, the work of law enforcement is really just behavior modification, negotiation and crisis management. If someone hits another person, they get to go to jail; if my kids hit each other, they get to go to time out---same thing! If I respond to a husband and wife arguing, I diffuse the situation and instruct them to keep away from each other for a while; if my kids are arguing, I diffuse the situation and tell them to go play separately. If someone is speeding, they get a ticket; if my kids are running through the store they get exactly to the count of 3 to stop or…….well….something they won’t like will happen! I respond to situations where I have to talk someone out of doing something dangerous (read: stupid). That type of negotiation is really no different or less exasperating than negotiating with my kids over bedtime, brushing teeth, getting dressed, putting on shoes, not walking on the counters, not lunging at their sibling with a fork….etc. To sum: The world is just one big sandbox and everyone is expected to play nice. If they can’t play nice, then they get a time-out, their toys taken away or some other commensurate punishment/consequence. It’s simple, really!

What does a typical day at home with your children look like as a dad who is their caregiver?

A typical day at home for me with the kids is akin to a typical day at work: a little crisis management, some behavior modification and A LOT of negotiating. I am not, nor ever really will be, a morning person. So, when I hear the tell-tale “whomp” of size 12 feet hitting the floor in Allie’s room at seven on the dot, I groan a little. I may have even been guilty of pretending to be deep asleep in hopes that she gives up on rousing me and comes back in another hour. She’s persistent, though, so I get up and shuffle to the play room. One minute I’m sound asleep; and the next, I’m losing a game of Sorry to my 5 year old. But, I gather my wits enough to rally and not lose too badly.

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I hear croaking from the boy’s room so I retrieve him from his crib. I distract the two of them with toys and sneak downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee, then we all play for an hour or so. I then realize that we need to get moving in order to make it on time to whatever myriad activities we have scheduled for that day. Breakfast is typically something easy to make and, most importantly, something easy to clean up. Afterwards, I disrobe the children and manage to herd their naked butts into the shower where fights between them inevitably erupt over who gets to stand in the water and make the “soup” with the bowls and spoons that now have a permanent presence in the shower.


After showering, it’s off to teeth brushing and dressing then a mad dash out the door. In the car, requests are made by both children for their favorite songs from the Frozen soundtrack. One sings while the other plugs his/her ears then they switch when the other song comes on. Me….well I just gleefully sing along!!! Once our activities are finished and we touch down at home, I make lunch for all of us. Then….the magic hour has arrived: One o’clock ----Nap Time!!! Both kids usually go down super easy and without a fuss. While the kids nap I take care of a few chores then briefly consider tackling one of the many house projects; but, alas, I usually end up relaxing and telling myself that I’ll get to it tomorrow. If I haven’t already mentioned it, I also have a PhD in Procrastination.

The children eventually regain consciousness and we spend the rest of the afternoon playing. I love getting down on their level and playing with their toys and going along with whatever imaginary scenario they’ve created. It’s a fun escape from reality and a great way to act like a kid again.

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What are the best parts of your days at home? What are the biggest challenges as a dad who is home with his kids?

Being with my kids and seeing them learn, develop and explore their world is the best part of staying at home with them. I love my “daddy days” with the kids and I know they do as well. I have told many co-workers who don’t have kids yet that one of my greatest joys is coming home after work and having them run towards me with open arms. Now that I think about it, witnessing that exact scenario happen with an older co-worker and his kids was one of the impetuses that I had to start a family of my own. The challenges of my days at home with the kids lie in getting projects, chores and life’s little tasks done while still giving them the attention they deserve. There is an ongoing war of attrition being waged against the army of post-it notes that have entrenched themselves on our drop-zone cabinets. I dream of the day when their ranks are decimated and their evil is scourged from our home. That day, I fear, is never going to arrive.


How do females/moms out there react to your situation when they find out you are at home with the kids?

I’ve never actually received any discernible reaction from a mom while I’m taking care of the kids. I think most people simply assume that I have the day off or, as I sometimes fear, think that I’m some cottonhead that couldn’t cut it working the 3rd shift packing boxes at the cat food factory. When I begin to fear the latter, I have been guilty of using my children’s uninhibited inquisitiveness to subtly let those I fear are judging me know that I actually can hold a job. I’ll do this by asking Jake or Allie about “policey cars” which inevitably gets them talking and asking questions about my “policey car” and I oh so gleefully tell them all about my black and white spaceship and that, yes, I did once put 10 bad guys in time out while saving people from a burning building and delivering twins on the side of the road.


Tips on how to make this situation work for you?

Simple: relax and try to stay in the moment. I have a very relaxed and laissez-faire personality and overall approach to life. While there are times that I can be very determined and focused on an endeavor; the majority of my time is spent on attempting to enjoy the present circumstances. Too much effort on making things how they “could or should be” takes away from enjoying how life is right now.

What is your take on 'mommy guilt?' Do you think us moms are too hard on ourselves? Do YOU ever feel guilty about anything when you are with the kids?

I had to have Jodi explain this concept of “mommy guilt” to me; and, to be honest, I’m still confused. I guess it’s like explaining gravity to a chicken. I think ALL of us parents can sometimes be too hard on ourselves. We want so much – and to be so much – for our kids. We constantly compare ourselves to other families and either raise or lower our own family’s grade, and our parenting grade, in the process. It can be a healthy competition, one that keeps us focused on doing the best that we can as parents. But, I think we fail to recognize and remember that none of our situations are exactly the same. That we all are doing the best job we can to not screw up our kids raise our kids and to give each of them all of our love, support, encouragement, wisdom and strength.

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What is your take on 'balance' for home life versus personal life/work life?

“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” (Gary Keller).

I don’t think there truly is a balance. Trying to find some form of equilibrium is akin to trying to stuff cats into a bucket: 1. Cats HATE buckets, 2. You’ll wonder why they heck you’re even bothering, and 3. You’ll go insane. Instead, I strive to focus on what is most important (family) and put the majority of my time and energy into being the best dad that I can. That dedication keeps my integrity intact. Along the way if I can work out a few times each week and get out of the house once in a while with a friend, then I’m glad for the opportunity.

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How does your family divide up the roles and chores that need to be done? Who cleans the house, makes the meals, grocery shops, runs errands, schedules appointment for the kids...etc?

This sounds cliché, but it truly is a team effort at our house. Jodi and I joke that we’re nervous to go from 2 kids to 3 because we’re going to have to dramatically shift out defensive strategy from a man-on-man defense to a zone defense. We both play to our respective strengths, but we each take an active role in all of the chores. For example, I have always had a knack and passion for cooking so I’m usually tasked with making the meals and doing the grocery shopping. Jodi is great at planning and arranging so she typically devises a meal plan, delegates the errands and schedules appointments. However, depending upon the day of the week and whatever we may have going on at the time the roles can be completely reversed. What ends up happening is on the days I have the kids and Jodi is working, I’m in charge of the house and vice versa when Jodi has the kids and I’m working. This, of course, results in some hilarious, chaotic and epic battles when we are both home together!

If you have made it this far, congratulations, you have reached the end. Thanks again to Julia for giving me the opportunity to hopefully provide some relevant insight into a dad’s perspective. Take care and thank you for reading.


{Thanks, Andy! Find the rest of the MMIW series here}


  1. Really enjoyed this! Funny to equate being a cop to being a parent in so many situations - true!!

    Of course, had to side-eye the 7 a.m. wake-up time, since I know many of us would give our right arm for kids who slept that late, ever. ;)

    How awesome to have the balance between working and being home with the kids! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for doing a guest post from a dad's perspective. This is a great read for a new mommy and daddy!

  3. Love this insight... and since I follow Jodi's blog it's fun to hear "Kerm's' voice as well (such a fun read too). I've often wondered if my husband understands mommy guilt or has daddy guilt, but I think, he too, doesn't understand it. Thanks for sharing one dad's perspective.


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