Let me begin this post by saying that I’m a stay-at-home mom, not a stay-at-home dad. As stay at home parents, the challenges that moms or dads face are similar, but they’re not all the same, largely as a result of the differing gender expectations that our society has for men and women. And men relate differently to their children than women do.
Having said that, and just as in the case with stay-at-home moms, there are many benefits to being a stay at home dad, such as being involved in the day-to-day lived realities of your children, having the opportunity to take time off to explore new career paths, or learning new things about yourself and your wife.
Being a stay-at-home dad can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips on how to be a stay at home dad and love every moment of it.
Get male support. Stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads are similar, but, again, they are different. To talk about the challenges you’re facing as a dad or about your triumphs as a parent, consider, getting to know other men who are also stay at home dads. Online support is nice, but it doesn’t beat interacting with real dads face to face.
Get out and involved in your community. To stay connected to both yourself and your community, as a stay at home dad, it’s important that you make time to leave the house. Maybe go for a walk around the block with your children or attend a story time at the library. Whatever you do, be sure to include some “out-of-the-house” time for each day.
Make time for yourself. It’s easy, as a stay-at-home parent, to lose sight of your goals, ambitions, and interests since so much of your day-to-day reality is spent caring, nurturing, supporting others. And that’s why it’s imperative that you do something each day just for you. Whether reading or writing or exercising, schedule some time in and get it done!
Keep a flexible, daily routine. Having a routine is different than clock-watching. It means that each day, you (and your kids) have an idea of what to expect as the day progresses. So, for instance, maybe after breakfast, it’s in your routine to go to the park. This, or having a routine, will help you better fit in your “me” time and will help regulate your children’s eating and sleeping schedules.
Most importantly, remember that you are important and valuable and a contributing part of society. With some planning and some time at this, you’ll find your groove and stay-at-home dad-ing will be smooth sailing.
Any stay at home dads out there with any tips to share?