Piedmont Triad stay-at-home dads

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — For several fathers in the Triad, they are a far cry from “Mr. Mom,” instead they like to see it as being more hands on as “dad.”

“It’s tough, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” James Stewart, a father of two, said.

For Stewart, an outing at the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem with his 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son makes being at home worth it.

While working a demanding career, he quickly learned, you can’t take time with your children for granted.

“I missed the first 10 months of her life,” Stewart said when speaking of his daughter.

The former professional golfer was working 13 hour days, six days a week.

“It kind of hit me in the stomach one day when my wife Kimberly said to me, ‘James I feel like a single mom,’” he said.

He quit his job as a pro-golfer to stay at home five days a week — giving lessons on the weekends.

“There’s a lot that happens in those first five to six years. A lot of dads might miss out on that.  For a lot of us, that was a really troubling thing,” Michael Johnson said.

Johnson is at home with his 5-year-old son during the day, but also balances working a full-time job at a restaurant at night.

“It can be very frustrating, but if anything it allows us to sort of break those molds and feel like, yeah, this is possible,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Stewart are part of a group called Forsyth Fathers.

The group has become a hub for stay-at-home and working dads.

The fathers share information about places to take their children and even schedule playdates.

Johnson and Stewart say they have no regrets and don’t see the choice to be with their children as a sacrifice.

“Now that I know what it’s like, I don’t think I could go back,” Stewart said.

“We don’t really feel like we’ve given up something to be those parental figures, we feel like if anything it’s something where we’ve traded up,” Johnson said.

Both men plan to stay in their current roles until the children begin grade school.

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