HOGAN HILLING At-home-dad veteran for 20 years and no regrets.

Hogan Hilling, author, stay-at-home dad.

AGE   56

HOMETOWN   Huntington Beach, CA

ON THE WEB   www.hoganhilling.com

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Three boys

DAY JOB   At-Home Dad & author of Rattled: What He’s Thinking When You’re Pregnant & Pacifi(her): What She’s Thinking When She’s Pregnant (winner in the“Just for Dad Books” category of the 2011 SheKnows Parenting Awards).

*Editor’s Note* Hogan Hilling is also the current Media Relations Rep for DaddysHome, host of the 16th Annual At-Home Dad Convention, where we met. Hogan crafted the special profile questions you see here with other at-home Dads in mind. We’re grateful to him for the contribution to the project!

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

My wife, Tina, a schoolteacher, and I reversed roles in 1991. At the time I owned a wallpaper business. Tina and I experimented with a two-income and flex-time lifestyle. Eventually, we did the math and concluded that the cost of our second job didn’t justify the net gain. The extra net income of $15,000 I earned at the end of the year wasn’t worth leaving our children in the care of another person. We felt strongly that our children needed a parent to be home to care for and raise them. Based on our family dynamics I was the best candidate. Tina had job security as a teacher, health benefits and a good retirement plan. And I loved the idea, the challenge of being the at-home parent. Now 20 years later I have no regrets.

My motto was “The quality of our life as a family was more important than the quality of our family’s lifestyle.”

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?

College basketball, fishing, poker and beach volleyball.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU DO WELL AS A HUSBAND AND DAD?

As a husband I feel that I:

1.  Am very supportive of Tina’s role as the primary breadwinner.
2.  Show my appreciation, by carefully keeping tabs on our budget to alleviate some of the financial pressure and stress for Tina.
3.  Keep the romance alive in our marriage.
4.  Am very respectful of Tina’s role as a mom. When she’s with the kids I don’t interfere with the way she treats them as a mom.

As a dad to our children, I feel the best things I do well are:

1.  Provide emotional support
2.  Am consistent and fair in the way I respond to them. Whether it’s in regards to their inappropriate behaviors or successes.
3.  Support their goals, dreams and careers they’ve chosen

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR KIDS AS A DAD, THAT YOUR PARTNER OR WIFE CAN’T?

As a dad I feel I teach our kids to be independent, resilient, solve problems on their own, take risks; accept the consequences and hold themselves accountable for the choices they make in life. I’m also more playful and creative in the way I interact with the kids.

WHAT ARE THREE THINGS THAT YOU WISH YOUR PARTNER WOULD UNDERSTAND BETTER ABOUT A FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE?

Three things I wish my wife would understand better are:

1.  Just because I care for and raise the kids differently than a mom doesn’t mean it’s wrong
2.  Saying “NO” to our kids is not easy. Nor does it mean I love them less. It is very hard for me to say no and hold our kids accountable for their inappropriate behavior and choices, but I do it to prepare them for real life.
3.  I don’t want to show my feminine side because I don’t have one. I can still love and nurture our kids the way a dad does in his own unique and masculine way. I’m a dad —not a mom.

WHAT ARE THE THREE TOUGHEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A DAD THAT A WOMAN MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND?

1.  Putting up with society’s misconception of men as inept dads
2.  Pressure a dad feels to be the primary breadwinner
3.  Controlling my sex drive and erections is not easy.

WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER OR WIFE?

What I appreciate most about Tina are:

1.  How she accepted her role as the primary breadwinner for our family
2.  How she relinquished control of and entrusted me with the caretaking responsibilities of our children and household duties.
3.  Her support for my role as an at-home dad
4.  How gracious and respectful she was of the “me-time” I needed.
5.  How she helped me become a better person

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

The day I received news that our second son, Wesley, was born with a genetic disorder. Wesley was diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome. He cannot walk, talk and requires 24/7 care for the rest of his life.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

The day I wrote the following poem titled “Instead” for Wesley.

INSTEAD by Hogan Hilling

Instead of walking with you,
I will crawl with you.
Instead of talking with you,
I will find ways to communicate with you.
Instead of isolating you,
I will create adventures for you.
Instead of focusing on what you cannot do,
I will reward you with love for what you can do.
Instead of feeling sorry for you,
I will respect you.

I came to the conclusion that I would accept Wesley for who he was and not his disability. What happened to Wesley was an act of nature, not God. My job as a parent was to love Wesley the person.

*Second Editor’s Note* In November 2010 Hogan and his wife Tina appeared on Oprah, where they aired Hogan’s story from ABC’s documentary “The Story of Fathers and Sons”. Hogan recites the poem in the clip.  The link to the video is here. It’s immensely moving and inspiring, and we are grateful to Hogan for including it with his profile.

Lisa D

Lisa Duggan is the founder of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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