'Staying home was the best thing I've done'
Kildare couple Adrian Millar (56) and Mary Deasy (52) have three daughters, Aisling (16), Rebecca (15) and Ciara (10). Adrian is a stay-at-home dad, while Mary is a lecturer in the applied science department at IT Tallaght.
Adrian says: "The second my wife got pregnant on our first child, I gave up my job as a lecturer in Japanese, which I loved.Why? Because some things are more important than money.
"Of course, 17 years later and with three daughters, I'm broke. Do I regret it? No. Everyone seemed to be against me at first. A man giving up a job to rear children? The horror and folly of it. It wasn't easy, but it's definitely the best thing I've ever done.
"I missed work a lot, initially, and could be found looking at the jobs section of the newspaper on a weekly basis, but I gradually learned to live with the changes and challenges.
"When the girls were babies, the worst thing about being a stay-at-home dad was the loneliness. I would have paid just to get in to a wake. In the eyes of the State, and perhaps of the world, I don't exist. I don't produce anything and I don't have any particular status. But I'm not bothered. I love what I'm doing and I know the value of it. It also leaves me more time for my wife.
"Being a stay-at-home dad to three girls grounds me in the everyday world of relationships. I enjoy listening to the girls as they widen their world. It also keeps me fit. Currently, the best part is the walks along the Grand Canal with my two teenage daughters. A close second is the highly dramatic, theatrical, yet heartfelt kisses my 10-year-old daughter showers me with - typically when I've given her her iPad for an extra half hour in the evening.
At my funeral, my boss won't be there to say I did a great job, but my children might. I say might because when I take their mobile phones off them before they go to bed, they hate me.
"The worst part of being a stay-at-home dad is when the women in my life are screaming at each other, and all I want to do is batten down the hatches and disappear into a cave.
"Thankfully, they tend to revert to normal behaviour when they have their mobile phones in their hands."