Peter Graves

Peter Graves, our Lead Dad of the Week, vividly remembers the year he devoted all of his time to his boys. It was 1995.

In that pre-cellphone era, he was pivoting in his career and thrilled to be fully engaged with his young sons, then 3 and 1.

“I left a job in the precious minerals business, in which I was unhappy, and decided to take a break,” said Peter, who was living in the Washington, D.C. area at the time. “I said I’ll take care of the kids. My wife was eager to get back to work. I just went for it.”

The only downside was the “Bethesda Moms” who shunned him. “I just became friends with all the nannies,” he said.

He loved it and said he probably would have done it longer “if there wasn’t all this bullshit out there about Dads being at home.”

After getting a position at USAID, the U.S. government’s international development organization, he held on to those moments as he tried to work his international travel around what his family needed, as best he could. For one, he loved coaching them in their sports.

Fast forward 30 years. Having gotten separated and divorced in the pandemic, Peter is now a single Lead Dad – part of the 18 percent of fathers in the U.S. who are unmarried.

“For me I love being a father, and I love my boys,” he said. “Taking that year off to be home with them was truly enlightening, Most Dads just don’t know how difficult managing kids and a household is. All Dads should have the opportunity to try it!”

His sons are 31 and 29 today. What’s his biggest lesson? “Love wins out,” he said. “You’re going to make mistakes. You’re not perfect. Nobody is perfect. I felt incredibly lucky to have two beautiful boys. I was present with them. I was traveling but I was not traveling all the time. Hopefully, as they get older and have their own children, they’ll see that.”

Welcome Peter to The Company of Dads. And one parting bit of advice: “Just relax as a parent.”