Out with the old and in with the new. Before 1970, the stay-at-home dad percentage was less than one percent among married fathers. Careerbuilder.com even conducted an annual survey calculating how many dads would choose to stay home in the past decade. The site concluded that four out of ten dads would stay home if their families were situated correctly. With more dads electing to remain with the kids, they need to be prepared. Taking on this role means a new lifestyle, so here are the best habits for a successful stay at home dad.
Please, Embrace Your Role
JOKER / Gudrun Petersen/ullsteinbild via Getty Images
Maybe it’s the pride society has filled dads with, but many of them dislike being called stay at home dads. That way of thinking has to go if you’re going do great things in this role.
We understand that saying that’s what you do might stir up some unwanted opinions, but that’s just something you’re going to have to get over. Along these same lines, you must also know how to roll with the punches better than Ali.
Roll With The Punches Or Get Knocked Down
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
To avoid complete chaos, you plan out the day in advance. As a stay at home dad, you want to be sure that you prepare for the challenges ahead. That’s the right way to approach it, but you must remember that young kids don’t care what you have planned out.
This is why it is imperative to roll with the punches. A random temper tantrum can arise, and now you just spent 20 minutes trying to calm the little one down. That 20-minute timeslot was when you planned to read that new book to them. Put your gloves on and expect the unexpected.
Map Out Your Schedule… Or Else
Allison Shelley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Piggybacking off the last slide, you still must have a game plan. Even when things don’t always go as planned, having a routine ready will help with your sanity when improv is required. By nature, humans are creatures of habit, so it makes sense.
The kids can quickly take over the day. Getting them into a routine of some normalcy can help a ton. Be sure to throw in some outdoor activities to help tire them out. Be sure that you always are aware of your tasks.
Always Define Your Role
Whether this position fell upon you or you chose to do it yourself, be sure to define it. What we mean by that is don’t go head-first getting into the dirty work, but instead begin by negotiating. Talk it up with your spouse and figure out what it is you need to do to handle the job correctly.
Are you going to be responsible for all the cooking and laundry? It’s imperative to delegate these tasks early before issues arise in the future. In the coming slides, you will see how sticking up for yourself and others can go a long way.
Own Your Role And Take Pride In It
Own your position. Don’t let negative comments bring down your mood. Instead, showcase that dads are just as capable as anyone in the stay at home field. Many think that since you’re staying home, you’re not doing the real work of bringing in the money. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even if you don’t care what others say or think, they still have those thoughts, and that goes for your children too. Don’t miss a chance to acknowledge how proud you are of your role.
Help Is There If You Need It
Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
Unless your name is Mr. Incredible, super dads don’t exist. Don’t let a false ego crowd your mind. It’s always okay to ask for help when you need it. People sometimes forget that it takes a team to accomplish this role adequately.
You might have planned out the next week in your schedule. You also could have multiple apps that keep you on pace with things. None of that matters if you can’t ask for real help when it’s needed. Burn out is real.
Remember To Take Care Of Yourself
Fairfax Media via Getty Image
Exhaustion is natural in this role. You must take the required steps to heal fatigue and make sure it doesn’t come around often. By that, we mean don’t forget about your health.
You can try waking up an hour before the madness and take a break. Find moments that allow you to let your guard down. Maybe find yourself at a coffee shop talking with other adults when everything settles. Create your peace.
Don’t Fear Mothers
Thankfully, we aren’t in the dark ages when it was taboo for the male to take on these duties. That doesn’t mean we still don’t have a long ways to go. In the meantime, dads should polish up their co-mingling with other moms.
Some dads might find it intimidating or they’re coming off a certain way when approaching a group of stay at home moms. That way of thinking needs reversing. It can lead to some valuable connections.
Connections And More Connections
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Going through this alone is probably one of the worst choices a stay at home dad can make. You want to locate those other dads in the position that you can get connected with. One way to do this is to find groups on Facebook.
There are also plenty of blogs such as DaddyMindTricks.com that are excellent resources. Finding other dads like you will help you in all of the different categories we’ve discussed.
Soak Up The Moments!
Altan Gocher/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The role you have chosen to pursue is not one to take lightly. As the number of stay at home dads has increased over the decades, you still are in a rare position. You can enjoy and spend quality time with your kids, opposed to the millions of dads who had to miss out on such a joy in the past.
These are going to be the moments that live with you for a lifetime. Your younger child might not remember, but the older kids will carry these memories for as long as they can. The more unique you make it, the more appreciative they will be down the line.