Washington D.C. — “You have to keep yourself occupied,” says husband and stay-at-home dad Don T.
Don is part of a historically small, but growing demographic of American men who choose not to take part in the 9-to-5 work hustle. A father of five, he’s spent much of his time making meals and packing lunches, shopping and cleaning, and driving the kids to and from work, practice and friends’ houses. After they left the nest, he found himself with a lot more time on his hands.
“All the ‘me’ time was nice at first, I’ll admit,” says Don from his desk. “But after a while you start to miss the sense of duty that you had when you still had kids running around.” Don says the decision to enter public service was a no-brainer. “I’ve always felt I had good ideas to combat some of the issues that face my neighborhood,” he says. “So many people have told me I have the best ideas.”
He decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of running for office. “I just went for it!” It’s paid off.
After garnering support from his community, he was given the title of ‘President.’ He’s now tasked with committee oversight, preparing budgets and meeting with ambassadors, to name a few of his new responsibilities.
The transition from caregiver into a leadership role was difficult, but rewarding nonetheless. “There were late nights, early mornings, a helluva learning curve, certainly. And I still have those days where the phone never stops ringing. But the sense of accomplishment I feel from passing a new resolution or erasing the legacy of my predecessor makes it all worth it.”
Even the family has gotten involved. “Boy, have they been a help. I figured they would be supportive, but I never imagined they would be so enthusiastic,” he says. “Junior especially has really gotten into it.”
What started as a hobby has turned into a full-blown passion for Don T. “I’ve had a lot of interests, I’ve done a lot of dabbling. Who would’ve thought I’d find my calling at 71 years old?” he says, signing another bill peeling back regulations.
“After all the years of child-rearing, I finally feel like it’s my turn.”