Monday, July 7, 2008

Stay At Home Dads - An Interview With Alan Harshman of

Normally, when we think about the definition of success, our minds immediately make the connection with 'business' success. However, life is not about business - it is about family. Being 'successful' in regards to your familial relationships is the real definition of success.

That being said, I have just interviewed one of the most successful people I have ever interviewed. Alan Harshman ( is one of those fortunate few dads who made the decision to stay at home. He did this in the interest of helping his children. Though in years past this might have been termed 'unconventional', this is no longer the case, as more and more fathers are making this important choice.

There is a very important topic that weighs heavily on the minds of those who make this leap - that topic is - survival!

Alan has really stepped forward here by creating a company that specializes in teaching the rest of us 'unknowing newbies' everything we need to know to become a stay at home dad. I, for one, appreciate this immensely, as it won't belong before I'll be dealing with . . . dare I say it? . . . . grandchildren.

1. Why are Stay At Home Dads important in today’s society?

Today’s stay-at-home dads are changing the world. As many as 2.5 million fathers in the US provide their children’s care, and up to 75% of dads would stay home with their kids if they thought they could. More and more fathers are deciding to stay home with their children for many reasons. Many factors come into play, and there is no single set of reasons that a dad might choose to come home. Fathers are more involved than ever before, which is great, because children who have involved fathers experience many benefits – they are healthier, have more self-esteem and confidence, and are less likely to use drugs or engage in sex and other risky behavior.

2. What are some of the reasons the Stay At Home Dad trend is growing?

There is no single set of reasons – they are as varied as the fathers are – but they are mostly financial and emotional – it is very difficult to find truly high-quality childcare, and the best care costs a fortune! No one will love your children like you do, and the only way to know for certain that they are safe and getting what they need is to have them with you. Others choose to come home because of rising expenses related to working outside the home, or because they know that their children will be young for only a very short time, and they want to see their children learn and grow. Some fathers find themselves unemployed, and it just makes sense on every level for them to stay home with their children. Predictions indicate that millions of men will make the move to being at home as costs continue to rise. It just makes sense to be at home.

3. How did you become a Stay At Home Dad?

Like most SAHDs, several factors contributed to my being at home - I have three children of my own, and they are all special-needs kids, and I’ve provided a lot of their care over the years. I worked night shifts in order to be with them during their waking hours, and now I am at home with them full-time. My wife and I have struggled with several daycare centers, preschools, and now their grade school – none of them have wanted to follow my children’s medically-prescribed diets (like millions of other children, they have food allergies and a sensitivity to wheat and dairy). My children have had all kinds of problems because of that, but the most frightening was when my daughter was two years old. She was very close to having abdominal surgery to remove a 13-pound impaction and most of her colon, because her preschool refused to follow the diet. It took weeks of treatment with high-powered medications to undo the damage done in one day at the preschool and avoid the surgery. The most recent struggle was resistance from the local grade school. They insisted my son be put on ADHD medication, when his problems were actually caused from food allergies, and they resisted doing what would actually help him. Now we’re homeschooling him and his younger sister. I realized that my children simply could not be trusted to anyone else! Over the years, I’ve taken notes, and compiled the information into SAHD Survival Guides for Dads.

4. How did you become an authority on being a SAHD?

I am a SAHD myself, but more than that, I spent years researching and learning – the pitfalls, what to consider when making the decision, how to handle debt reduction and a budget, what men need to know and what they need to be able to do. I’m also a member of organizations dedicated to supporting fathers and parents of special-needs children, and have been participating in a financial discussion board for about five years now.

5. Who needs a SAHD Survival Guide?

Most people - anyone who is a SAHD, anyone who’s thinking about working at home or being home with their children, and anyone who loves a man like that – all of those people need the SAHD Survival Guides.

6. Why did you decide to create the Survival Guides?

When I started looking for information on being a SAHD, I just could not find the information I needed. It’s hard to find and there isn’t any one authoritative source of information. There are some books out now, but most of them read like memoirs – not like the Survival Guides that men really need. The websites that are out there are more like support groups and forums, they don’t give much practical, applicable information, but rather serve as a place for dads to chat. Those sites are great for what they do, and I am a member of some of them, but dads need more – they need a practical manual, a Survival Guide, and they need something that is more than a book – something that’s all-in-one: a book, audio, video, and things like forms, menus, and recipes that they can print directly from their computer. They need something that works for them.

The was born out of frustration of not being able to locate information when I needed it, and when you’re a dad with kids who need you, you don’t have time to do exhaustive searches – you want to find what you need right now, and you want it to cover what you need it to cover. You want quality! That’s what the SAHD Survival Guides are. I decided to create the Survival Guides because millions of men need them and they didn’t exist. Over the last few years I’ve compiled four different Survival Guides that are guaranteed to make life easier for any dad.

7. Are the SAHD Survival Guides just for Stay At Home Dads?

The SAHD Survival Guides are for any man who has children and is or wants to be involved in their lives, or for any woman who knows a man like that. If you would like your life to go more smoothly, or get more done in less time, or have time to relax and have fun, you need the Survival Guides.

8. What are some of the things a man would need to know?

How to get it all done, get it done right, and still have time for things he wants to do. Some of the things involved in this are using the 80/20 rule and Parkinson’s Law, prioritizing, goal-setting, parenting skills (a book in itself!), identifying and caring for special-needs children (up to 95% are sensitive to certain foods and don’t even know it!), what to tell the school if your school-aged child has special needs, and how to clean the house, fast. All of these things, and more, are covered in the SAHD Survival Guides.

9. What kind of risk are people taking by checking out the Survival Guides?

Let’s face it, people want quality information, and they are willing to pay for it, but they do not like taking risks with their money. People want to be sure they’re not going to be ripped off, and there is a lot of that going on in the world today.

I’m very glad you asked that, and you’re absolutely right. They aren’t taking any risk at all. All of the risk is on me. I am so certain that the Survival Guides deliver what they promise that if you order a Survival Guide and follow it, and you don’t agree that it has saved you frustration, time, or money, I will give you a 150% refund. You have up to one full year to try the guide risk-free, and if you don’t agree that it has helped you, you’ll get all of your money back and then some. Making sure people get quality is very important to me; that’s why I wrote the Survival Guides, and that’s why I stand behind them like I do.

10. What are your plans for the future?

Well, LOL with a fourth baby on the way, I plan to be a SAHD for at least the next decade. I’d like to keep working from home, helping other fathers in several ways. I’m working on the next Survival Guide: Making Money at Home, and I hope it helps to transform the way America thinks about work.