When the movie ‘Daddy Day Care’ was released in 2003, many people found it to be quite humorous. The movie centred on the lives of 3 stay at home dads running a day care facility. It detailed their experiences trying to manoeuvre their way around taking care of toddlers without any female help. It was a representation of how fathers back then struggled with being primary care givers. Years ago, any attempt at suggesting to be a stay at home dad would have been met with distaste and contempt. You would have been labelled a useless man in society and chastised to a level of unbearable shame. Today, the gender roles have been reversed.
More men are slowly getting into the role of the stay at home dad for one reason or another. It could be as a result of retrenchment from work or simply a change in gear in your career and deciding to work from home. Being a stay at home dad means that you shoulder most of the responsibilities in your household. The transition from working full-time to playing the role of a father can be a brutal one. There are however a few tips one can learn to make that transition as smooth as possible.
Taking pride in your decision
It is important to understand that being a stay at home dad does not make you any less of a man. Many people may not understand your decision and you may be ridiculed for it but it is important to remember why you are doing it and block out the negativity. According to Levin, a stay at home dad on Parents, ‘Any stay at home dad should hold his head high and let everyone know that he is happy with his current status.’
Ask for help
Just as mothers require help in running the household duties, men will require the same if not more of that help. The transition into being a stay at home dad may be hectic. Having someone help out with the household activities can save you a great deal of confusion.
Learn what is expected
This is a job just like any other. It has schedules and duties one requires to fulfil on a daily basis. The idea that stay at home parents wake up whenever they like could not be further from the truth. Be ready to work full-time. The kids will require a lot of your attention and care. You must also learn to balance that with household chores.
Find time for yourself
The Lifestyle Magazine states that being a stay at home dad does not take away from being a human being. You still need time to yourself to reflect and rejuvenate. This will not only work for your own benefit but your children also get to interact with you at your best. This is also a chance to get to bond with your children. Take the time to get to know their wants, dreams, likes and dislikes no matter how small. It goes a long way in making you become a better father.
Sharpen your social skills
Being a stay at home dad means that you will need to mingle with other mothers as well. Learn to reach out to other mothers to set play dates and reading sessions. Interacting with other mothers also helps you build a support system which is vital when dealing with kids. It provides a platform for sharing of advice and problems.
Becoming a stay at home dad is not a decision that should be made lightly. It requires commitment and sacrifice. For those who find themselves in the situation unwillingly, there is more adjustment for them, especially in attitude. However, one can decide to make the most out of the situation and make life a little better for him and his family.