Who's the Daddy?
Paul Smith explains all about being a stay at home father.
Why become a stay at home dad?
There are lots of reasons why more men are becoming stay at home dads. One obvious one is financial - as more women are becoming career minded and see their salaries rising, they often earn more than their partner. Another common reason is that more men are becoming stressed with their jobs and finding their work unfulfilling.
Most dads these days say they want to spend more time with their children and are now finding ways to achieve this. It is becoming increasingly important for them to keep a good balance between work and family life.
Advice for all stay at home dads
Don’t worry too much about what other people think.
Although attitudes are changing, there will still be some people who think that children are best raised by their mother, while the dad goes out to work. You may well get some funny stares and unnecessary comments once you take on the main caring role.
When I started taking my children out and about on my own, it was funny how people looked at me as though I was some kind of alien. Wherever I went, I would always get asked the same questions, “Are you looking after the children today then?”, or “Where’s mummy today?”. It was as though it was obvious that a man could only be capable of looking after his children on his own for a day.
However, once people get used to seeing you with your kids, they generally accept that you are able to look after them and can actually do a decent job of it too.
Keep your sense of identity.
It’s important that you keep up some of the interests or hobbies you had before you became a full-time dad. When looking after children all the time it is easy to devote yourself to their lives and to lose your own identity in the process. By continuing with your own interests you can keep your sense of self and not just be ‘dad’ all the time but also a person in your own rights. This will keep your mind active and help you relax; meaning that when you are with the children you will be calmer and have much more patience.
Set a good routine.
Having a regular routine is vital for you and your children. Children need routine, but having a workable schedule is also good for you as it means that you won’t feel quite so lost and unsure of what to do next. Obviously your schedule should be flexible and adaptable but you should at least have set times for main meals, bath and bed. These general rules will make up the framework of day-to-day life and will let everyone know what is happening, and when.
Go out and meet new people.
It isn’t much fun being stuck indoors all of the time so try to take your children out as much as you can. There are loads of places that you can take kids, from parks and shops, to libraries, museums, swimming pools, children’s gyms and toddler groups. Parents and tots groups are a great place to go and although it can be daunting going to a predominantly female environment you will normally find most mums very welcoming and accepting of dads.
I was nervous about taking my daughter to a tots' group for the first time but when we got there I was welcomed and introduced to others just the same as everyone else. My daughter loved it and was really happy playing there and I got a cup of tea and a biscuit so I thought that it was okay too!
It is good for your children to mix with other kids and it is good for you to have some adult company and conversation, as well as to be able to talk about your experiences with other parents.
One of the great things about having children is that you get to play with toys, act silly and have fun together. Children grow up really fast so it’s important to make the most of your time together and to enjoy being with them. Having fun and playing together will also help to create a strong bond between you and your children, as well as making your children happier and more content.