“We didn’t want our daughters to go to daycare,” says Dale. So they didn’t. And while it’s not that simple, the reality is that, each year, thousands of Albertan families make arrangements for one parent to stay at home and take care of the kids. Foremost,however, especially in the early 1990s, this means that Mom stays at home, forgoing or pausing her career to take care of the children while Dad makes the donuts. But not the Quist family. “I am generally laid back, which is ideal for parenting preschool children, so I stayed home,” recalls Dale who spent almost four years running a small business out of his house while taking care of his two young daughters. “It was actually a lot of fun.” “There’s some sacrifice: your income takes a hit, it can put stress on your relationship as a couple, and it had a bit of an impact on my [overall] career,” he says. “But not so much that I regret it. Our main goal was our family and raising our kids to be the best they can be. If that means sacrificing a little bit of career in order to accomplish this, well, that’s ok.” The Quist parents had both been raised in close knit families themselves and had decided early on that these were the same kind of values they wanted to pass down to their daughters. “It depends on what priorities you have, what kind of parent you want to be, and what kind of kids you want to raise,” explains Dale. “You have to look at the end product as your children develop and grow and become their own person. We can look at it now and say that it was worth it; worth having the time to mold these young people into what they are today.” Dale reveals that, on occasion, his wife would envy the amount of time he was able to spend with the children. And while this presented some difficulties, they decided that as the children got older, they could switch roles – with Dale going back to working outside of the home and his wife spending more time with the girls. “We both had a role to play; sometimes I needed to be there and sometimes she needed to be there,” says Dale. “There was always someone around.” For the Quists, putting family before careers, has more than paid off. “The biggest benefit is that, as a father, I have a very good relationship with my two girls,” says Dale. “We can have conversations and we often reminisce and laugh about the strange things I did as a parent, because it’s probably a little different than what a mother would do.” “The priority of raising well-rounded kids was more important to me,” concludes Dale. “Looking at who our girls have become, they bring us a lot of joy and pride. My legacy is not going to be wealth, it’s my kids and who they are; that’s really my legacy.”
Thanks to Alberta Father Involvement Initiative @ abdads.ca for sharing the story.