I wanted to share with you all an insight into what my journey as a Stay at Home Father has been like so far.
Brief oversight to the decision.
A bit of background to the decision. Both Sarah and I discussed the circumstances, future included. We both came to the decision for me to become the Stay at Home parent / Stay at Home Father.
After a redundancy at work, Sarah’s desire to return to Higher Education. Her part time job, we discussed our options.
- Most important was the Financial side.
- If I wanted to be the Stay at home parent or look for another form of Employment.
- Would I be able to cope.
As in the list above. We both weighed up the Pros and Cons. Looking into what may benefit us best as a family. One thing to remember in a relationship, Communication is key.
The think tank of the decision.
I was slightly torn of what I actually wanted to do. I’ve always been a grafter so to speak. From roughly a 14 year Career as a Retail Butcher. Then to Goods in and warehouse supervisor at a Local Motor Factors (car parts). This was a fairly tricky decision to make. How I felt about being the Stay at Home Father. Before during and after my redundancy, my mental health wasn’t the greatest.
I had been and spoken with my GP for help and assistance. I had signed up and placed on a waiting list for CBT therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Along with that and aware of my recent redundancy I was recommended a work coach. The work coach would offer assistance with any queries I had with interviews, applications, cover letters and CV writing. It was a massive help. I had already applied for a few positions. I ha even attended an interview for one of them which resulted in a job offer. Result!
BUT… This is where I came to the decision. The decision that I would become the Stay at home Father and declined the offer. Now the route of the road ahead was planned. The discussions between myself and Sarah were the biggest part of this. If I was to return to work whether it was full or part time. Financially we would be worse off, we would have to invest in a 2nd car. This was something we just couldn’t afford in our budget.
We recieve help like any low income family. Without it I don’t know what sort of situation we would be in. Sarah’s Job has always given a higher earning potential. Higher than any position I have had. So this made sense for her to continue part time and attend her Higher Education around that.
It was big changes all round. Not just for us but for the kids aswell. It meant a rather considerable change to the families Routine. I took on the school runs. Becoming the housewife taking care of most of the household chores. I try my best but sometimes it isn’t easy with the kids around. For Sarah it would be working her shifts around her University Course.
She’s studying an Access to Nursing and Higher Education course. Well at least I think that’s what it’s called anyway. Her goal and achievement from this, is to follow on from the end of this course in June to do a Nursing degree. Get some nursing experience and then look to doing a bridge Degree course in Midwifery. In the end to lead her to her dream career as a Midwife. All in all with 4 girls through the week, and 5 girls in the house at the weekends. Life is pretty manic.
The Largest Change to come to terms with were my own, especially my thoughts and views on the situation of being the Stay at Home father.
Now being a bloke who has always been the one to go out to work. Being the bread winner so to speak, the responsibility of earning a living to feed your family. To clothe your Children and maintain a roof over there heads. It was quite difficult to come to terms with. This is something I’m still struggling with to a degree but not as much as before.
Sarah works shifts so it could be a night here or a late shift to even an early morning shift. Her shifts were always planned around the kids and myself with work. I would come home from work. You would take for granted what your partner in crime actually does when they are at home. Because we both worked, the housework was shared between us, granted Sarah did more.
Well let me tell you this, How wrong was I!!
You’d walk in from work to a clean and tidy happy home. You never take into account the hard work that goes into maintaining this. We would chat about our days over a brew. You know the usual pleasantries of “How’s your day been” or “what have you been up to today”. You simply think ah they’ve had a peaceful day, the kids have been at school and nursery. She would have enjoyed the peace and quiet watching telly or even had a nap with all the spare time.
My experience in the role as The Stay at Home Father.
It’s been a wake up call for me. To actually experience day to day what Sarah did while I was at work. Believe me it isn’t an easy task as what I previously thought.
The manicness that is getting the girls ready for school and Pre school. The housework, to keep and maintain the clean and tidy environment that we love. Not Just a simple case of whipping the hoover out for 5 minutes, a quick wipe round and wash up. Oh no there’s dusting, worktops to clean, windows to clean. Tidying after the kids… Constantly!! Keeping on top of ever mounting clutter. Being organised to return children’s toys to bedrooms and into where they’re meant to live. Cleaning of the bathroom, bedrooms jeez I could be here all day listing through it all.
Being the Stay at Home Father is hard graft. It is probably the hardest job I’ve had to date, but with incredible and amazing rewards. It can be rather stressful. But that’s more me I think, frustrated with motivation. Not getting to do certain jobs around the house. Unable to do certain tasks because of children.
Here’s an example for you. We have Beast who is now 14 months. A cheeky madam that like any baby of her age is into absolutely everything. You can barely turn your back on her for a split second!! Without her having to be moved away from something or told no. She’s certainly on the move with walking and even running now. So when it’s just me and Beast and she’s playing in the lounge. It can be quite a challenge to get upstairs to clean the bathroom or hoover the stairs. Not without her attempting a mad dash escape to become an expert climber to adventure upstairs.
I will be sharing with you all a plan for baby proofing the house. It is something we still need to address. But I’ll leave that for another post another day.
Reflection and my own New Year Goal.
After sitting in peace and quiet this morning. As we do, coffee in hand. Praying for that caffeine induced boost and motivation. Giving you the boost to crack on with my dad chores. I kind of drummed this post together in my head. Sat reflecting on the past 9 or 10 months that I’ve been the Stay at home parent. It’s been an incredible opportunity. One that not many Dad’s will ever get to experience. Sharing moments and creating memories with Beast, that I haven’t had the chance to with my older 2 Daughters. Not even my 2 Step daughters. I feel blessed that I have the chance to experience this.
Now my goal for the new year is to try and overcome my demons. This mental health situation. The medication helps but it definitely isn’t a fix. I still have good days and bad days. It’s a fight with your mind, the negative thoughts that can spiral you into a crevice of more negativity. Attempt to overcome my nerves and anxiety of getting out into the world. To get out with Beast enjoying what our town or even world has to offer and teach. Not just for myself but so Beast isn’t missing out on these. Missing out all because of my anxiousness. Not to worry about life situations.
If you can’t do anything about it or it’s not an instant fix… Fuck it forget about it till your in a position where you can sort it. Not to dwell on these worries and stressful situations that is life. To think fuck it to what people may think of me. I’m living my life how I want to without thinking negatively that people around are judging me. This isn’t just strangers who could be walking down the street but also friends and members of family.
A thing for other dad’s who may be suffering a similar fate. Struggling with their Mental health and even finding themselves feeling in a similar scenario to myself. My ‘Fuck It’ mentality seems to be working out ok for me. Anything you can’t sort at that moment in time… No ….. Fuck it! Is it something you can physically achieve… No….. Fuck it! Can you over come it mentally… Yes. Try it, it’s helping me to a degree.
As long as I’m happy and positive. The rest doesn’t matter. As long as I’m happy, my family is happy. That is when I know I’m succeeding.
Here is a previous post of mine sharing my struggle with my Mental Health.