Making the decision to be a Stay at Home Dad can be a very tough one with lots of varying aspects to consider. Through my Stay at Home Dad Survival kit we will touch upon a few of these.
I have being the Stay at Home Dad for just over a year now, the decision to be the at home parent was not taken lightly. Following a major down moment due to Depression and Anxiety leading to a redundancy at work. The oppertunity arose for my partner Sarah to follow her career dream of becoming a midwife. This meant her attending university but also wanting to carry on with current job also.
Her job as a Care assistant in a Private Assisted living setting paid rather well, she had the higher earning potential between us. She would continue working and around part time hours she would attend University. First starting off with a One year course – Access to Nursing.
Due to opening up more career possibilities in the future she has opted to follow on from this in September and begin her Nursing Degree. Once completing this and gaining vital nursing experience she will follow on to do an 18 month Degree in Midwifery.
This meant that with Beast and Pig at home, childcare costs out-weighing the Household income it made more financial sense for me to fall into the role of the Stay at Home Dad.
Briefly how being the Stay at Home Dad has been for me
If I am to be brutally honest, it has been very hard work. I never realised how difficult it was being the at home parent. Many days I would return home from a full days work and think ‘what the hell have you done all day!!’ Well now I know. It is certainly the hardest but most rewarding job role I have had to maintain.
The self organisation, the childcare and the household chores are the main ones to come to terms with. The hardest part of being the Stay at Home Dad for myself was overcoming the stigma of the role. I doubted myself and kicked myself for making the decision. I had the mindset of I’m the Man of the household. I should be the one embarking a career and being the main and sole bread winner. But this is the 21st century ladies and gentlemen.
Being the stay at home dad has given me something that otherwise I’d never be able to achieve. Time with my children. The time spent, the memories made and the bond we have created is unimaginable. Definitely the best decision I’ve made in life. If the recent Lockdown due to the covid19 pandemic has taught or shown fellow dad’s, look into the working from home life if your career allows it. If you have always envisioned been a stay at home dad and want to fulfil the role, even over a short period of time, I say do it. You certainly won’t regret it.
Survival Kit for the Stay at Home Dad – SAHD
So let’s touch upon the main reason for this post and that is The Survival Kit for the Stay at Home Dad. Here are a few pointers to consider and put in place before and during your stint as a SAHD. These will help you to keep sane, stop mental health burnout and reduce the risk of Groundhog day occurring. Nah only slightly kidding there, but with these in place your time as the at home parent will be more enjoyable and your days will flow smoothly, a bit like a well oiled machine.
Build a SAHD support Network.
One major complaint from any stay at home parent whether they are a stay at home mum or a stay at home dad. Isolation and social isolation are some big factors in the role. I mean we can’t all rely on Rider and the paw patrol pups to help save us through the day or attempting to earn the colouring badge with the legend Hey Duggee can we. We need people within a similar situation that we can connect with, speak with and socialise with. It can either be meeting in person if they are local to yourself or online if they are at the other end of the country.
There are a few outlets available, one I use frequently is over on Facebook – UK at Home Dad’s Group This is a great group filled with other UK based SAHD’s. General chit chat, Banter, fun and entertainment.
The other is UK Dad_AF – A community of Dad’s from all around the world offering an open platform to support each other and connect.
Mentioned this a few times in post’s on my blog before and that is Dadvengers. Dadvengers is a great community for not just Dad’s but mum’s, grandparents and carers too. I have met some amazing and inspirational people through Dadvengers and the support received from fellow parents is incredible.
Learn to mingle With the Mum’s
There will come a day during your at home parent journey where you embark with your son or daughter to a local playgroup. Most commonly these are filled with Mum’s and their Children. Fear not they wont change into one of those odd creatures from the movie species and gobble you up.
Sit back and watch, be polite if approached. If invited into conversations with a coffee or tea, remember your not down the pub with the lads. Offer some advice parenting wise, this will probably be the main subjects of discussion. Just remember, you may feel uncomfortable being in this setting full of mum’s but they will be also feeling uncomfortable having a man around in their surroundings.
One big thing you may find yourself having to arrange, especially if you have Children in School is the Organisation and Execution of a Child’s Play date, God be with you on this one.
Never be Afraid to Ask for Help
Just like mum’s who may think they are wonderwoman, we are no superman or captain america. It is so easy to get sucked into the mindset of your the at home parent and you MUST do everything by yourself and on your own. This will only lead to one thing…Running round like a headless chicken… No sorry, spot of dad humour there, you may end up like this a little bit but it will lead to Stress.
Sometimes you may be experiencing one of those days where it feels like you are constantly following your toddler around the rooms of the house like a clean up crew after a tornado. One of those days where your child is super clingy and wanting Daddy’s attention that you can’t seem to get anything done.
Your partner will understand this, plus will expect this some days. It is ok to ask them for help, even if it is as simple a thing as cooking the tea when she gets home or running the hoover round the living room.
Relish in the SAHD status
Some men would be embarrased to admit that they are the at home parent. Don’t be, it is something that should be embraced and relished in. Having your baby or toddler in their pushchair or other form of little person transportation, you will often get people letting you to the front of the que for the all important sausage rolls in Greggs…. YES MATE!!! sorry had to be done.
But the SAHD status is like a VIP, being allowed VIP access to the front of the ques at the bank for example or cash machine. Being offered a better more suitable seat on the bus or train.
Many many positives from it, embrace it and use it for all it’s worth.
Me time may seem a little selfish, but it definitely isn’t. The time spent at home isn’t just for spending time with the kids. What do you do for example when they are sleeping? Stand staring at the baby monitor awaiting them to awake. No course not, do something for you. You could fulfil the house husbandry duties and get on top of the housework. Yeah that’s half an hour gone. What about the rest of your child’s nap.
You time, that’s what. Take a bath, Listen to some music or podcasts. Catch up with that series on Netflix that your mates recommended, Match of the day on Iplayer. Even smash in a few games of FIFA or Call Of Duty on the Xbox or Playstation. Enjoy the time you can get for yourself while being the stay at home dad.
Establish a Solid Routine
We all run more smoothly while following a routine do we not. Find yourself a routine that works for you and the kids. One that allows time for activities, school runs, essential shopping runs, socialising, after school clubs. Everything will be easier when all in a routine, like clockwork and a well oiled machine.
Try not to dwell on what your partner may think and say about your routine, what works for her may not work well for you. Plus your the one at home with the kids 8 plus hours a day. But discuss your reasons of doing things that way, include her and keep her in the loop. Once she sees how your routine is working, she will respect your decisions more.
Jobs lists and chores
This is one thing before taking on the role as SAHD that you definitely must discuss with your partner. Something you need to work on together as a team. Once you are both aware of each others expectations of what needs to be done and who will be the one to carry them out. It will reduce arguments later on down the line when some jobs may be missed or not carried out.
There isn’t just the one job of being the at home parent. Looking after the kids being the sole childcare giver. No there is, laundry, cooking, cleaning shopping. Basically everything day to day that couples tend to share the duties of.
There we have it
As above there we have it. A survival kit for the Stay at home Dad’s. Packed with useful information to help you decide whether to be the at home parent but also to help you be the best Stay at Home Dad you can be.
You can follow more of my family lifestyle as the SAHD by following me over on Insatagram – Athomewithayorkshiredaddy.
I have posted similar posts before of being the SAHD – Stay at Home Dad, take a look at The Stay at Home Father Experience and then when the time comes to end your run as the SAHD we have to consider our return to work after Stay at Home Dad stardom.