On daddy duty

Officer moonlights as stay-at-home dad

Posted: July 28, 2012

Harrisonburg Police Department Master Police Officer Scott Drugo plays with his 10-month-old daughter, Ellaina, while his wife is at work. Despite a harried schedule, Drugo says being home with his daughter is worth the sacrifices. (Photo by Nikki Fox)
Ask Scott Drugo’s wife, Nicolle, to describe her husband and she says he’s a real “guy’s guy.”
But he’s no ordinary macho man.
The 43-year-old spends much of his day caring for the couple’s 10-month-old daughter, Ellaina. He also does much of the laundry, vacuuming and dishes.
But that doesn’t mean he’s any less of a man. Several nights a week, Scott dons the uniform of a Harrisonburg police officer, tackling city crime.
“So all of those things that tend to be the traditional woman’s role, he does,” says Nicolle, who also noted that she brings home slightly more pay than he does. “[But] he’s definitely very comfortable and not feeling as though he has to defend his masculinity.”
The fact that he is willing to take care of those responsibilities, she says, “makes it much more of a real 50-50 household.”
It is because her husband is so confident in his manhood that he is able to let go of some of the traditional male stereotypes, Nicolle says.
“It’s one of those things that you’ve got to be comfortable in sort of letting go some of what they call men’s pride,” she said. “Like you’ve got to be the provider and you sit there with your stogie and your scotch and your woman makes you a sandwich.”
A tight schedule
Because he juggles his time among his wife, daughter and job, Scott keeps a pretty tight schedule. He works a rotating 4 p.m-4 a.m. shift at the police department. On days that he works, he gets home around 5 a.m. and naps for about three hours before getting up to take care of his daughter.
After breakfast and a couple hours of playing, he and the baby take about a 90-minute nap. They get up just before noon to eat and play for a few hours before another nap at 2 p.m.
In between the sleeping, Scott takes care of household chores.
“I just know it has to be done one way or another,” he says.
One of the immediate benefits of being a stay-at-home dad is the money saved by not having to pay a babysitter, he said. Nicolle works a standard day, leaving her home about 8:30 a.m. and returning around 5:30 p.m.
Before he goes to work for the night, Scott will drop Ellaina off at his wife’s workplace.
“We just do a trade off kind of like relay and track, hand the baton off,” he said. “It’s so much cheaper than a babysitter.”
Asked if the schedule is demanding, Scott admits it is, but adds that it is definitely worth it.
With a second child on the way, the schedule is likely to get more hectic. But the two aren’t worried; after having one child, they’ll only be that much more prepared for a second, he says.
“I’ll just catch up on sleep in five years when they’re in school,” he jokes.
Being a role model
As the eldest of five children and the one who helped lead her siblings, Nicolle is happy having a husband who is willing to make time in his life for his children.
“It’s amazing,” she said of having a real-life Mr. Mom. “Especially growing up in a family where my stepfather was not an involved parent and everything was really left on my mom and myself. To have him be such an integral part of her life and partner with me is like a big change in the mentality of fathers.”
For Nicolle, having a stay-at-home dad as a husband is nice. And while it might be tough for him at times, she noted that it also comes with a few perks, like providing “the opportunity to be there for a lot of those firsts that moms are normally the ones to enjoy.”
“I can’t imagine being with somebody not like that now and having a family,” she says. “If I could clone him and give him to every woman, I swear to God I would.”

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