Recently when someone heard that I was a stay at home dad, they commented that they would gladly have that life and would swap their 38 hour/week job for it in a flash. "Sounds great" he said. "Nice and relaxing!"
Let me compare...
As a stay at home dad:
Split shifts, usually lasting around 4-5 hours each, the rest of the time you are on call. If you have childcare you get about 8 hours off a week (8 hours per day at childcare). No holidays, no loading, no sick days, and remember, if you work from home, that has to be done as well.
Your shift starts at about 6am. You get the child ready for breakfast (chef), and if they cant feed themselves then you do that (maid). When they are mobile you must monitor them or secure the room/area they are in (security guard). This is good time for reading to your kid (teacher) or playing (playmate), and in summer months going for a walk with the dog and kid (childcare manager with two children)
This shift usually ends at anywhere between 9am and 10:30am.
During this down time if you can, you get the housework done that cant usually be done whilst the kid is terrorizing the house and dog (housemaid).
The next shift starts without notice at around 11:30. Lunch time (chef), of course, Star Trek is on tv (education). Same deal with this shift, monitor kid (security guard) and maybe cater to the childs needs with a Sesame Street video or Patsy Bisco cd (psych ward attendant).
This shift may end at 2:30 or so, depending on the length of the previous downtime. This particular downtime (if you get it) is coffee time, study time (student), fixing computers (IT professional) or maybe play on the net time (student), however it pays to start preparing for the next shift while you have the chance (logistics management), remember, there's your work to do too.
The dinner shift starts anywhere from 3:30 onwards, once again, no notice. This is where your day tends to turn to shit if it has the potential, and quite often it does. Its a bit of a rush, kid to secure (security guard) and constantly request to stop making so much noise (jackhammer operator), dinner to prepare (chef), dealing with any mail that came (solicitor). Time to feed the kid (council worker with shovel) and clean him up afterwards (fireman). Getting to watch the news is a bit of an anomoly due to the chaos (psych patient), but can be achieved if you have a second tv and can dissapear (public servant). Unfortunately you are usually found within minutes by the dog or kid (politician).
Dinner done and all the associated stuff taken care of, kid asleep finally. A bit of tv or net, maybe read the paper...but it aint finished yet.
A late evening bottle is does the trick for a full night's sleep, and usually occurs about 9:30.
Weekends are a little less busy, two of you normally, and its a good chance to do some family stuff like shopping (accountant), going for drives (cabbie), or generally being dad and taking the family somewhere (childcare manager with three children).
Remember also, that by the end of the week, your usual beers on a friday night turn to a cup of tea. Saturday night might mean a shot of bourbon, but a shot of valium is just as effective.
Yeah sure dude, I'll swap you your 38 hour a week job...(nah, wouldnt swap for the world)