By Laura McAlister
Al Pollard considers himself a workaholic, and it’s a good thing.
His job requires him to work seven days a week and to be ready for just about anything 24 hours a day.
Al is a stay-at-home dad of 5-year-old triplets Jackson, Addison and William. His wife works full time as a business manager for a local company.
While it wasn’t exactly the career path Al planned, he said it is the one he’s now chosen. And after three years at home with his triplets, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Believe it or not, neither would his wife, Quenta.
“I think it’s wonderful because both of us have a great appreciation for what the other does,” Quenta said. “I’m not saying this is the best way for everyone, but it’s the best way for us. It works really well for us.”
Al worked in college recruiting with various companies when the couple lived in Seattle and later Dallas.
When his wife’s job moved her to Birmingham, Al quit his job. That’s when he started to think being a full-time dad might be worth a try.
“We decided to give it a shot, and if it didn’t work out I could always look for another job,” Al said.
Three years later, he’s quite content in his current position, and he takes it very seriously – at least most of the time. He admits that sometimes you just have to laugh when things get tough or when children throw tantrums.
In addition to caring for the triplets, as a stay-at-home dad it’s his responsibility to do the laundry, clean house, prepare meals and grocery shop – even during the evenings and on weekends, he said.
“He really treats it like his job,” Quenta said. “In the evenings when I come home, I don’t have to do anything. He cooks dinner and cleans up afterwards. He does the laundry, house cleaning and yard work. It makes mommy’s home time fun. I’m spoiled, truly I’m spoiled.”
Al said it’s important to him that his wife comes home to a clean, stress-free home, allowing her to spend time with the triplets instead of worrying about dinner and the dishes.
For Al, there’s usually no such thing as a typical day.
The family joined the neighborhood pool, so swimming is a regular afternoon activity in the summertime, and the children also participated in their church’s vacation Bible school recently.
Al said he enjoys taking them to the Birmingham Zoo and McWane Center as well. Then again, many days the family outing might just be a trip the Lee Branch Publix near their house.
While the Pollards are very pleased with their jobs, Al and Quenta said they get mixed reactions from friends.
Quenta said there are occasional snide comments, while Al said many of his friends are actually envious.
“Most of my friends are very supportive,” he said. “A few were a little jealous because they envisioned playing golf all the time. Some felt like I was almost threatening their manhood.”
Al did have to throw out a few of his man cards.
He admits he knows many of the Disney princesses by name, and he brags that he can do pigtails and braid hair, though he said he needs to practice more on the latter.
His dress code is also different from previous jobs. Al almost always wears cargo pants because of the extra pockets, and since he can’t very well carry a purse, he carries a backpack with snacks, drinks, Band-Aids and other useful items.
Some of the changes prompted by being a stay-at-home dad aren’t as bad as he anticipated. He now drives a Honda Odyssey minivan – and he loves it. To those parents resisting the change, Al said they’re missing out.
“You can park those things anywhere, and they have sliding doors,” he said. “That’s especially great when you have car seats. Just getting in and out is so much easier, and I can keep so much stuff in there. I keep an extra set of clothes for all of them and water. It’s great.”
Al said there definitely are perks to being at home, and Quenta also admits there are times when she’s a bit jealous.
Al said he loves days at the pools and the occasional nap he might get when the triplets are tired out.
Quenta said sometimes it is hard when she’s missing out on family time, but in the end she said it’s nice to know she can be at work and not have to worry about what’s going on at home.
“I never really had a strong desire to stay home,” she said. “The only times I wish I could trade places is when it’s 78 degrees outside, and they’re going to the zoo. Those days I would trade places, but I’m 90 percent content.
“I truly think what he does is much more difficult.”
Al said although he’s had to do some things he never envisioned, like wiping bottoms and sending his children to time out, being at home with the triplets was a great career move.
The triplets will enter kindergarten at Briarwood Christian School in the fall. They’ll only be there half a day, so Al will continue to be a stay-at-home dad.
As for the future, Quenta said she hopes her husband chooses to stay home as long as their financial situation allows. She just might have a few more projects for him to work on while the triplets are at school.
“If I had my choice, absolutely this would be long term,” she said. “They do start kindergarten this year, but I almost think it’s more important than ever that he be home. They are going to need someone to take them to after-school activities and help them with homework. Ideally, that’s what we’ll do.
“Of course, his honey-do list might get longer.”