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Happiness for a Stay-at-Home Dad

Success for men usually means a high-octane career. But for him, it’s a happy family.

David has some advice for dads

Photographer David Difuntorum loved his work. He loved his wife, Andrea, a recovery room nurse, even more—so much that he put his career on hold for her.

One day David visited Andrea at work. He was awed at the medical equipment she had mastered. “I told her, ‘You are so brilliant!’ and she yawned,” David recalls. “I really wanted her to love her work as much as I loved mine, so I asked her, ‘What do you dream about doing?'”

Civil engineering, Andrea decided. She left nursing and accepted a Navy scholarship to the University of Chicago. She hadn’t been in school long when she got pregnant. The couple had decided that when kids came, one parent would stay home with them. So David threw himself into his new role of Dad: He told his clients that his photography business would be on the back burner and set about becoming an expert diaper changer.

David wanted a deeper emotional connection to son Nathanial. What better than a road trip? They took off when Nate was nine months old and camped from coast to coast. They emerged the tightest father-son pair ever, says David. Andrea, meanwhile, graduated sixth in her class and endured the rigors of officer training.

Now she loves her work as a civil engineer in Philadelphia. David embraces the job of raising not only Nate, but their new daughter, Annaliese.

“It’s tougher than it sounds,” laughs David, describing everything that goes into making sure the kids are fed, clean and entertained. “You have to be there and you have to be consistent” is his parenting philosophy. What was the biggest surprise about being a stay-at-home dad? The limited daily interaction with adults. It’s tough when you don’t fit the mold. “The template is a woman,” he says, and admits, “It’s lonely sometimes.”

But for David it’s all worth it. “I wanted to see my wife go in a direction that was best for her,” he says. “It’s so great to see her heart and her character grow.” We have the feeling Andrea would say the same thing about him.

David’s Tips

Take risks.
You can’t get rewards otherwise. Mitigate your risks by thinking clearly and cleverly about what you need to do and then be decisive.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
It’s a trap. You have bigger and better things to do!

Success involves a lot of thinking, analyzing.
Set aside time to do it.

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