Hubby At Home blogger Dan shares tips for managing his toughest career path yet -
Stay At Home Dad
Well before our first son BX was born, Aims and I made the decision that I would be a full-time Macho Man (Man and Children Hanging Out) or stay at home dad (SAHD). As a first time dad the only thing I had going for me was blind confidence. I remember being excited, I knew I was in for the ride of my life but no one said I would be bending over and touching my toes (if you get my drift)..?
Don't do it.
I'm kidding… So far it's been a journey marked by stages and milestones.
Sleep dep (that's cool parent talk for 'deprivation') stage, teething stage, potty training stage, tantrum stage, crawling stage, walking and talking stage, the 'why' stage and right now - stand up comic stage…
At each stage though, you can count on there being a whole heap of giggles, cuddles, laughs, definitely some crying, and judgemental parents are all in there too.
Obviously there's no manual or Lonely Planet type guidebooks to parenthood (now that would have been great when I first started out), but I think if I'd known then what I know now, my approach to being a SAHD might have been the same, but then again - who knows?
Back in the day, if you were a stay home dad it meant that you were either really lazy or unemployable but these days however, I'd like to think attitudes have changed and that the Macho man is becoming more common.
I've picked up some things along the way that may help a potential Macho, and here are five of them:
#1 Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
From tots to teens, they won't stop challenging you but the trick is to pick your battles and don't sweat the small stuff.
My boys (like most little kids) can be real little sh!ts (I say that with love…) when it comes to meal times.
Sometimes RM (16 months) will pig out, like last supper type shizz, and other times it's one nibble and he's done…it balances out I reckon.
Don't sweat it.
#2 Get a plan but Hang Loose
The boys need a plan, a routine, timetable - it doesn't matter what you call it. Have something. The kids need the routine and it'll make your life easier too.
But sometimes, kids being kids, the boys will let me know that my plan for the day absolutely sucks!! So be flexible with your plan, you need to be nimble enough to change it, go with the flow.
Get loose and if everything completely f!cks out on you…just refer to point #1.
#3 Get Your Groove
Mum is Mum and that aint YOU! Dad trying to parent as Mum would, just isn't gonna work. And just quietly, makes you less of a man and more of a boofhead, apply a hashtag if you like.
Do things your way, find your groove. Get her buy-in, but at the end of the day you are the one performing the core duties - so you might as well be comfortable in how you do it.
Don't be Mum. Be Dad. Man up. You're in charge of the kiddies now bro!
#4 Get A Posse - Build a Support Network
Humans are social creatures by nature and being a stay at home dad/parent may seem to contradict this notion because it can be a lonely, isolating experience.
That part really sucks. In fact, isolation/loneliness is a common complaint of all stay home parents. And if you're a stay at home dad, then get ready to take that in spades! Why? Simply because the infrastructure and support just aint there (yet).
Right now, not many (if any) of the lads are doing the stay home thing so this makes things difficult when you need someone in the same boat to relate to.
There are no dad groups in my area so I've joined a playgroup (or is it coffee group?) of lovely mums and yeah, you get used to being outnumbered by mums and sometimes you might feel like an outsider but really, that's par for the course innit? How much that affects you is up to you.
Becoming a dad is a huge adjustment, becoming a SAHD even more so - so why make it harder by doing it alone?
NB: Secret handshakes and gangster nick names are optional.
#5 Get a Cleaner
Ok, so not everyone can do this but if you can…DO IT!
The immediate stress that is alleviated is worth the cleaner's fee, and besides there's nowhere in the 'at home' manual that says you can't outsource shitty jobs or jobs you need help with…
I can clean pretty good, but Jackie cleans way better. This means happy wife and happy life.
Read more of Dan's blog at hubbyathome.com
Published with permission, 25 August, 2012