What was once considered a defiant breach of social norms is now the comfortable reality for many –the concept of a stay-at-home dad. Men are typically designated to have the role of breadwinner in families while their wives play the role of homemakers. This explains the huge multitude of resources available to educate and inspire stay at home mums.
While dads may not have the same access, here are some helpful tips to guide them:
Believe it or not, parenting does not come without its fair share of the risk of workplace injuries. Little children lack an understanding of what can be painful, and this can result in a range of wounds. Be prepared for kicks to the face while changing diapers, tripping over scattered toys, and even stepping on the occasional Lego brick.
freetousesoundscom/Unsplash: Dad buying groceries at store
Grocery trips are so much more when you have kids – they are nothing short of missions. Children can be incredibly picky eaters with palates that are constantly changing and evolving. Finding a balance of delicious and nutritious food your child will tolerate, is a challenge in and of itself, but making the dreaded trip to the grocery store can be worse, especially if you have a kid on tow.
Commit the shop layout to memory, draw up the list beforehand, and plan your progress. The sooner you’re out of there, the more likely you are to avoid a mid-aisle meltdown!
lordmaui/Unsplash: Father and kid posing for a lovely picture
Plan fun, meaningful trips for your children. You could make out-of-state visits to family members, go on educational hikes, or visit a historical landmark. While annual trips to Disneyland may be an easy cop-out, a variety of experiences in their formative years can leave a deep impact on children. You will find this to be true many years later when they reminisce how you used to take them fishing for guppies in the creek or to visit their aunts and uncles.
You Can’t Be a Superhero
Dad and daughter wearing superhero capes
Fathers especially feel like they have a lot to prove when cast in what is typically seen to be a maternal role. This can result in what is known as ‘helicopter parenting,’ where the parent obsessively monitors their children’s every move to try and shield them from danger.
Not only will this make your kid feel caged and suffocated, but it is also a futile effort – even the best ones in the world cannot ensure complete protection for their child.
What you can do is to admit that you cannot pre-emptively predict and stop every scraped knee and a broken heart. You can try your best but allow your children to grow and create their own experiences. If they get hurt, well, they can always come to you in search for a shoulder to cry on.
Stay-at-home dads do not have an easy job, and many are saddled with the worry that they may not be able to make up for maternal instincts when it comes to parenting. However, with some self-confidence, resilience, and of course, acceptance, it is a duty that can be fulfilled meaningfully.