This is not to discourage anyone from being a stay-at-home dad. The purpose here is to put some skin on the problems we face. Please don’t mistake this as complaining. Share this with any friends or family you have that are considering to be a stay-at-home dad, or use this to be aware of our unique set of needs. There aren’t too many of us around, people aren’t sure how to approach a stay-at-home dad on how to help.
I still get a raised eyebrow from time to time when I tell people I am going to be the primary caregiver. A series of questions seem to follow in this particular order.
“What does your wife do?”
“What did you use to do?”
“Married a sugar mama, didn’t you?”
Enough people tend to assume you are good for nothing if you are a stay-at-home dad. I am not one to let other’s thoughts and opinions dampen my day, but I must admit it has been difficult to keep a high self esteem from time to time. The problem here is that many people (most with the best intentions) assume dad may not be up for the challenge as the primary care taker.
Oddly enough, there is a flip side to this. Keep your eyes out at the grocery store or ball park. If you see a lone father with a child watch how little help he is offered in the public setting. No one offers to hold the door, give up their seat, or allow them to step in line before them if they have a fussy baby. Moms have better luck here and rightly so I suppose. Still, when pushing a stroller with a handful of groceries, it’s nice to have a door held open for you.
If you know of a dad struggling with his self image and value, be sure to encourage him. He is working in a woman’s world, and there isn’t much support available for him outside of his family. Hold the door for them and let them know they are doing a great job.
Like I said earlier, there aren’t many stay-at-home dads around. We are a rare breed. It is difficult finding other men for a support group. Women are better at this. They are great at planning support groups and networking mommy’s day out with friends. Men tend to be less accommodating when it comes hanging out with friends and their kids. The need, however, is still there. If you know a stay-at-home dad, make sure they are getting out enough. Offer to meet them for lunch, or stop by for a visit. If you are the wife of a stay-at-home dad help them out by making some time available for them to leave the house everyone once in a while.
A note to the wives
Wives, you are in the greatest position to affirm your husband. Your words go a long way. Be sure to thank your husbands when they go over and beyond. Do what you can to help your husband transition into fatherhood. Teach them the tips and tricks you have learned and encourage them as they put them all in practice. Let him know you value their role in the family and that you appreciate their leadership.
I hope the tone here isn’t me complaining or whining. Honestly, I have been blessed and haven’t had to deal with most of these problems. Bless the dads you know who have taken up the mantel as the primary care giver of their family.