Dads at home: 'The chance to bond with my boys is my pay day'
While wife Rebecca brings home the bacon as a school librarian, former IT consultant and Dad.ie contributor Nick Cullen (42) is a hands-on dad to sons Danny (4) and Paddy (18 months) at their home in Celbridge. And though it's "tiring, frustrating and isolating", the real-life Mr Mom says he "wouldn't change it for the world".
"Before we had Danny and Paddy, I was never really 100% happy in any job I had. In fact, I would often tell my wife Rebecca that when we had kids, I would happily stay at home.
"One thing we knew for sure was that it was pointless one of our salaries going on childcare. So when I was offered voluntary redundancy a month before Danny was born -- I took it.
"As a school librarian, Rebecca gets better holidays and when I mentioned paternity leave to my employers, they looked at me as if I had two heads.
"Without a doubt, being a stay-at-home dad is the hardest, most challenging job I've ever undertaken. Some people might think it's the softer option -- clearly, they don't have kids!
"This role comes with no pay, no coffee breaks and very little sleep.
"But the opportunity to bond with your children and be there for all the little milestones that you might otherwise only see in a photo is my pay day.
"Most men are jealous when I tell them I get to stay at home with my two sons -- and, yes, sometimes I rub it in a bit by telling that while they're still stuck in traffic, I'm at home playing football with my four-year-old.
"With our second son, Paddy, I'm definitely more relaxed -- I don't ring Rebecca at work over every bump or bruise or panic when I sense a nappy needs changing.
"In the evenings, I have the boys fed and Rebecca's dinner on the table when she gets home so that she can squeeze in as much 'Danny and Paddy time' as possible -- and so I can clock off!"