We're living in a modern world where we discuss a lot about gender equality and defined stereotypes. If women can excel at roles primarily occupied by men, then surely the opposite can happen too. In this new reality more dads are taking on the role of stay-at-home parent. They see this as an opportunity to care for the kids full-time.
However, we still face some misconceptions about stay at home dads such as: men can’t watch the kids as well as women; You could never replace your wife; He must have lost his job or is looking for a new one ; He must have no motivations; Stay-at-home fathers have no real job; He is not masculine and much more.
What these people don’t know is that father’s parenting is generally quite beneficial in many ways: it helps the child’s development, destroys traditional gender roles, helps kids grow emotionally, allows moms to do their work and the kids are equally influenced by both parents and a lot of other benefits.
Although it’s an increasingly common option, becoming a stay-at-home dad does presents some unique challenges. To help you prepare, here's 10 tips about this newer role!
1 - Embrace the New Responsability
This is a huge responsibility. In the beginning it might be normal to feel hesitant to make a move to full-time fatherhood. But remember you're having the opportunity to spend more time with your kids and help them learn and grow. So, the same way you strive to succeed at any job, you goal has to be the best dad you can be!
2 - Clear Communication on Responsibilities
It is imperative to clearly discuss expectations and responsibilities early and often regarding all aspects of parenting to reduce conflict and resentment. Discuss expectations about cooking and home care, contributions to parenting at night and on weekends, managing relatives, and what are your dos and don'ts to.
3 - Establish a Routine
We all have habits. Getting a routine and keeping to a fairly regular schedule is important to know what to expect every day, to keep your sanity and to keep the kids from dominating the day. For that, you can schedule the time for eating, napping, bedtime, and other routines. Plan some activities for the day, including some quiet time and get kids involved with outdoor activities.
4 – Give Time for Yourself
Setting some time aside for yourself is extremely important. Parenting does not have to consume your entire life. You gotta try to keep some activities for yourself, carving out personal time. Have some time with friends, go to the gym, pursue a hobby. Not forgetting to take care of the health, exercising, getting enough sleep, going outside and keeping your mind and body in a healthy state. The whole role is physically and mentally draining so It'll keep you fresh for the challenge.
5 - It's O.K. to Feel Overwhelmed
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at home with housework or parenting responsibilities. Parenting takes time, effort and might be overwhelming at times. It's O.K. to take a short break if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. Remember the 4th tip and give yourself some time to relax.
6 – Go Outside
Getting fresh air is very important for you and your child(ren). Make sure you find some time to different activities like picnics, taking walks on a park, enrolling on parent and child classes or to hit the local library or bookstore. Spending time outside helps the kids to have a healthy contact with nature, less technology and to have a good time in general.
7 - Quality Time Matters
Your children will not remember how clean you kept the kitchen when they were toddlers or how their beds were well done every day. They will remember trips to the park, finger painting at the dining room table, and playing hide-n-seek in the backyard. These moments will have way more impact on their lives than you might think.
8 – Inform People and Fight the Stigma
Full-time fathers say they still struggle to be accepted and have to battle for approval. Some people still aren't comfortable with a man being a full-time caregiver or they don’t understand they’re home taking care of the kids because they want to be. So they often criticize and find it quite odd.
One thing we can do to change that is shattering stereotypes and informing society. It's your duty to inform others, as well as demonstrate through parenting, that fathers can be nurturing, competent and capable of doing the hard work as well.
9 – Socialize and Connect with other parents
It might be quite isolating at times but have in mind that you are not alone in this journey of parenthood. It's very important to socialize, build a network and share your tips and frustrations with other dads. Find some male companionship. Stay active on social media, read blogs and get in touch with other stay-home-dads, those are great ways to feel connected and understood, because you’re dealing with people who are in similar situations, sharing their tips and frustrations.
10 - Seek Advice or Help
Don’t let your ego block the way as it usually tries to do. Be aware to not fall into the trap of thinking you need to do it all on your own. Ask for help when you need it, whether with hiring a cleaning person to help with housework or calling another parent for advice. Ask for guidance and support and prevent a potential burn out.
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