SF Man Creates Group For Stay-At-Home Dads

"This is not me just babysitting"

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When thinking about a parent staying home and taking care of the kids, you might picture a mom in this role. But these days, more men are taking a hands-on approach to parenting, becoming stay-at-home dads. And one Sioux Falls father is making sure those who choose this path, aren’t doing it alone.

During the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you won’t find Charlie O’Hara sitting at a desk, pushing paperwork. Instead, you’ll find him with his three sons.

“I didn’t see myself graduating college and being a stay-at-home dad, I really didn’t,” says O’Hara. “But it kind of became a domino effect of events that happened in our lives.”

O’Hara grew up in Sioux Falls and worked as a firefighter for five years. He and his wife moved to Washington D.C. for his wife’s residency.

“We were expecting our first child and at that point in time, with her hours, they were just not going to help with our family at all,” explains O’Hara. “And her job was very important.”

So instead of continuing his career in Omaha where the family moved next, and again here in Sioux Falls where they currently reside, O’Hara chose to answer to his kids.

“We usually get along pretty well,” says his 5-year-old son Zachary. “It’s fun having him.”

O’Hara knows the stay-at-home dad title is a bit unconventional, even in this day and age.

“I had someone come up to me and say ‘oh today is your day with dad’ and I’m like ‘well, every day is a day with dad’,” says O’Hara. “So I think there’s a stigma that comes with it.”

To help other men overcome that, O’Hara created the group ‘Sioux Falls Dads’. He has a growing presence on social media and hosts outings for dads and their kids.

“My wife who is obviously working, she’s like you’re going stir crazy, you need to go do something and you need to talk to an adult,” says Adam Hockhousen. “So she found the group for me.”

Hockhousen says it’s nice hanging out with others working in the same industry, so to speak.

“The benefit is huge,” says Hockhousen. “You just have some comradery of other guys that get it. It’s a unique role, not a lot of guys do it, and to have someone else that gets it, it’s kind of nice.”

“This is not me just babysitting, I don’t have them for a couple of hours, I have them all day,” adds O’Hara. “That’s what people don’t realize.”

While their day job may be a little different than others, “I get to play at science centers all day,” laughs Hockhousen.

These dads pride themselves in being able to say this: “I get to raise my kids every day, and get to see every single transition they make,” says O’Hara.

The ‘Sioux Falls Dads’ group is associated with the ‘National At-Home Dads Network’, which is an organization geared towards empowering fathers.

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