Mr. Moms thriving in CK

Craig Mcdonald, a stay-at-home dad who works out of his house, reads over Web design code as his wife Amber plays building blocks with their two children, Danica, 4 and Eoin, 2. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Craig Mcdonald, a stay-at-home dad who works out of his house, reads over Web design code as his wife Amber plays building blocks with their two children, Danica, 4 and Eoin, 2.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The traditional nuclear family keeps a’ changin.’

Stay-at-home dads — so-called “Mr. Moms” — are not as uncommon as they used to be. Many moms and dads willingly switch roles when the mother earns more than the father and the couple want at least one parent at home with the kids.

And telecommunications by computer and phone have changed where people work — enabling moms or dads to work at home.

Many dads, like CK’s Craig McDonald, have an office at home. This enables him to help his wife, Amber, with the couple’s two young children.

“We moved to Kansas City five years ago,” said Mr. McDonald, “so I could work at national headquarters for my company.”

McDonald works for Cerner, a medical-records software company with international ties. His specialty is software education and training.

“But I wanted to go back home, to the Northwest,” he said. McDonald grew up in Kitsap. Homesickness finally prompted him to set up a special arrangement with Cerner in November 2000, in which he now works out of his home near Pine and McWilliams roads, between Bremerton and Silverdale.

In fact, the idea worked out so well for Cerner, that several of McDonald’s six-member software-ed team are spread around the country.

McDonald works on Kansas City time, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. He often works overtime, but still sets aside time to greet the kids home from pre-school.

“I will re-arrange my schedule to help with the kids, such as when my wife has an appointment, or when I need a break. Instead of just walking around the office (in Kansas City), now I can go out and play with the kids,” he said. “I often grab my laptop and go outside on the porch to sit in the sun while I work.”

After the children are put to bed, he’ll come out to the living room to work. “I may be working, but at least I’m in the same room as my wife. We’re still together, much of the time.”

He said the children have learned that “When daddy’s working, he has to be left alone.” McDonald has shuttered doors on his office, and can close them for more privacy.

Overall, he describes his new lifestyle as “The most stress-free time I’ve ever had. It’s the most I’ve ever enjoyed my work.”

Wife Amber used to be involved with a group called the “Moms Club,” a national organization that helps single mothers, working mothers, and busy mothers in general. She dropped out when the Kitsap group split into two chapters, one in Port Orchard and one in Silverdale.

“Most of the friends I’d made in the group (while it was in Silverdale) were up from Port Orchard. It’s too far to drive now. I don’t have the time,” she said. Although “I still get a lot of support from members.”

The couple has a daughter, 4, and son, 2. The kids spend time in pre-school and day care.

Part two of this series will feature a CK couple that’s had a complete role reversal — she works and he’s a full-time “mom.”

This is the first of series of two articles on stay-at-home dads.

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