Being a stay at home dad is not easy. It takes a certain personality to be able to raise a child and deal with the switch over from working full time. Personally, I think most guys are not really cut out to be a stay at home dad.
Let’s face it, most guys are terrible at household chores. When I was a bachelor, I vacuumed about once a year or so. When we were both working, Mrs. RB40 did most of the chores. I think I did more chores than the average husband, but you can tell me if I’m right. I cooked dinner about 50% of the time. I dealt with the kitty litter. I drove and took care of the car. I occasionally cleaned the bathroom. Does that sounds about normal for a husband?
Now that I’m a SAHD, I try to do more chores in the daytime when Mrs. RB40 is working in the coal mines.
- Vacuum every few days. This is much better than the once/week we did before. Baby RB40 drops cheerios and cookie crumbs on the carpet pretty often.
- Cook on the weekdays. This way we can have dinner around 6:30pm. I’m a fast cook and can get food on the table reasonably quick. Mrs. RB40 usually takes more time so we only let her cook on the weekends now.
- Laundry. I’m doing most of the laundry (two to three loads/week) on the weekdays now. I leave the delicates to the Mrs.
- Dishes and general picking up around the house. I do the breakfast and lunch dishes after lunch so there won’t be a huge pile in the sink. Mrs. does the dishes after dinner. We usually pick up all the toys before bedtime.
The main reason why the mom can get resentful at SAHD is that she has to do a bunch of chores when she gets home. I’m not great at doing chores, but I’m willing to improve so Mrs. RB40 will have less on her plate after working all day.
It is very easy to get mad at a kid. Baby RB40 can’t communicate very well yet and many times, I don’t know what he wants. I’m a pretty patient guy and only occasionally lose my temper. This is essential to being a parent because the kid is learning. We need to teach him to function well in the world. I think most men are direct communicators and find it hard to deal with a small child. I have always liked playing with kids, though, and that is an essential part to being a stay at home parent.
It can be difficult to transition from being a breadwinner to being a home maker. Strangely, I don’t have any qualms about the transition at all. I guess I was so unhappy with my job so getting out that situation made me feel great. I also have a pretty thick skin and generally don’t care what other people think. I really don’t mind that Mrs. RB40 is the main provider now. We joined our finances when we got married over 12 years ago and all our income goes into the family. It doesn’t make much difference who earns the money as long as the family finances are on solid footing. I’m quite happy to be a SAHD right now, but we’ll see if I can maintain this positive attitude in the long run.
Being a SAHD can be a lonely experience. Most men will miss the social and collaborative environment of the office and that can be difficult to replace when you are a SAHD. It’s hard to find a support group because of the obvious reason. Most stay at home parents are moms and most groups are mom-centric. We have been taking Baby RB40 to story time at the library for a few weeks now and I can get along pretty well with the moms there. I also met another stay at home dad/writer so hopefully, we can get together and share some notes sometime. I also just found Portland Dads at Home, a local dad network. I plan to joine this group soon.
I think it’s essential to keep active and have fun with your kid. The weather has been nice since I’ve became a SAHD and we have been taking full advantage of it. We go out to the playground, parks, libraries, museum, and other public spaces. We went to a bunch of free concerts and events this summer too. I don’t know what we are going to do when it starts raining again. Winter will be tougher since we won’t be able to go out as much. I think there are a few indoor playgrounds, but we haven’t been to any of them. I guess we’ll figure it out later this year.