Being a stay-at-home dad in a mom’s world is tough. Trying to fit in for playdates and other things can be hard.
Here are the truths about being a stay-at-home dad (in a mom’s world):
1. Remember how you used to go to the gym or meet the guys for a beer after work?
Ha… hahaha! Yea, good times. There’s no way to sugarcoat this. If you’re an involved parent, bringing a helpless infant into the world will completely turn your freedom and priorities around. It’s a delicate thing, but you do have to make sure you are still taking care of you and your partner. You are embarking on the greatest journey of your life. Take pride in it. Be a great father. Take care of your family and squeeze in a little time for yourself… You can’t pour from an empty bucket. Neither can your wife.
2. You know that “mom guilt thing” people are always talking about? Dads get it, too.
It might not be talked about as much, but it’s there.
Could I have handled a situation where I lost my cool better?
Could I have pushed them to do better in school?
Maybe I am not being the best teacher and influence that I could be.
These are the things that will keep you up at night (once the baby no longer does—nature’s cruel joke), but I think a certain level of guilt is present in any relationship, and that tells you how much you care. Sure, use it to check in with yourself and review the parenting techniques you are using, but don’t beat yourself up. Dad Guilt is real, but we are all human and we have a new day everyday to do better.
3. What do you mean you want mom?! #TEAMDAD
The small human is squalling for mom. When they’re that little, mom is food and comfort. Be OK with this. Acknowledge it, and just know that eventually, your little buddy will be ready for some adventures. The baby needs you just as much as he/she needs mom. The amazing thing about kids is that their hearts are capable of unlimited amounts of love, and there will be certain things that you can provide them with in your relationship with them that will be unique to just you two. Plus, watching your child with their mom is an amazing thing.
4. Bringing home the bacon, and what happens when you can’t.
I am well aware that times have changed, and financial/ home responsibilities are split between the sexes, but men still feel the pressure of being the provider. And if there isn’t enough to go around, it’s hard to swallow. I have watched countless co-workers come and go and I know that you can’t guarantee this. Whether you quit your job, retire, or were laid off, life has a way of evening itself out.
Enjoy your time home with your kids. We are all guaranteed some bad, but the beauty of it is that we will rise again and we can make lemonade out of these lemons. Your child will love you no matter what your bank account has to say about you and they will have memories that will take them much further than your job ever could.
5. Time is the enemy.
You are embarking on one of the messiest, craziest, most unpredictable, terrifying, yet amazing times of your life. Each stage will feel bigger than the last. You will be exhausted, standing on a ledge at one moment, but then exhilarated, and in awe of this little person you helped bring into the world, seconds later.
Enjoy this time as a stay-at-home-dad in a mom’s world. Have fun with your kids! Do crazy science experiments or play their favorite game… make memories, because that is going to be what matters.