I’m the main caregiver for my children, I’m a stay at home Dad. I cook, I clean, I educate, I entertain and I support. Yet society insists on associating only the ‘Mums’ as caregivers.
The Stay At Home Dad
There is an increasing number of men taking on the role of the main carer for their children and becoming stay-at-home dads. This could be out of choice or out of circumstance but the traditional role of ‘Dad’ being the bread winner has long gone.
Many men have chose to stay at home for financial reasons, as more and more women become career focused and see a rise in the pay for women. And rightly so. Long gone have the days where Mam stays at home, looks after the children, cleans and cooks, waiting to serve the man his tea when he arrives from work. It just doesnt work like that anymore. Nor have the tables turned where the man does that. It’s a two way street, or at least it should be.
What about Mam?
Well? What about Mam? Mams aren’t a special species that we should segregate and mollycoddle. Quite the opposite, mams and women in some cases are stronger minded, focused, determined, and hard-working. She’s chosen to pursue a career, she’s sick of being at home, living the stereotypical life, she wants more from life. And I’m all for that. Women should be recognised and praised more for this.
Take Mrs. F, for example. Now Mrs. F had been the main caregiver to our children for many years, although qualified as a Nursery Practitioner. We did what adults do in the dark and ended up having children. I was already in a solid employment position, so made sense under the circumstances to carry on working. Over time though, you could see Mrs. F was getting bored, she wanted more from life. On the flip side of that, I hardly saw my kids. I worked all of the time and rarely saw the kids. Mrs. F ended up going back to work and we worked together to care for the kids between us over the next couple of years. She wanted to go back to work, she needed to go back to work. Not for financial reasons but because she needed more. I was all for it.
Becoming a Stay at Home Dad
The Covid-19 Pandemic hit and I lost my job. It was at this point I chose to be a stay at home Dad. I’d get to see my kids more, interact with them more and ultimately be more of a family.
The decision was fairly easy to make, but Mrs. F and I did have a long conversation about whether it was the right thing to do, both financially and mentally. So in 2020, I became a stay at home dad. I’ve never regretted my decision.
The forgotten Dad
When I started being a newbie stay at home dad, I looked into things to do in my spare time, as, I’d imagined I’d have plenty of it. There wasn’t a great deal! A couple of Facebook groups for Dads, that was about it. Hundreds of groups aimed at ‘mammy’s’. Plenty of things to do for Mams. Places to go for Mams. Mams, Mams, Mams.
One thing that really frustrates me is the ridiculous amount of services, groups, support, and more that is all aimed at mams… They call it ‘Parent and Toddler’ groups… it’s not, it’s a mammy and toddler group because if a dad goes, you get looked at like your some weirdo who shouldn’t be there.
What about Dads!? Are we incapable? or is it just inconceivable that a Dad is actually quite capable of caring for children? Or maybe it’s inconceivable to think a stay-at-home Dad may actually be struggling and needs help. How many times have you seen in the mainstream media a headline “Stay at home dad, doing everything he can to support his children, but there’s not support for him“. You don’t.
Well done to all of the mums!
Excuse me? How about changing that to “well done to all of the Parents/Guardians”. Just generalise it. Better still, How about giving us Dads some recognition too! Like I said, times have changed. Mams don’t need mollycoddling and neither do Dads. But Dads very rarely get recognition for their efforts at home. Stay at home Dads, single Dads, same sex couple Dads, transgender Dads, Step Dads, ‘Acting’ Dads.
A Dad is a Dad. It doesn’t matter what colour, sex, religion, or gender type you are. We cook, we clean, we educate, we entertain, we nurture, we support, we protect. And, I, like many parents would risk my life for my children. I’m a Dad, I exist.
The Rise of the stay at home Dad
Peoples attitudes are changing though. There’ll still be some people who think that children are better raised by their Mam, while the Dad busts his nuts out at work every day. You might even get some funny looks and pointless comments once you decide take on the main caring role. Who cares!? People adapt to change and once they do they’ll realise you are more than capable of looking after your children.
Advice for stay at home Dads
Don’t stop doing what you enjoy. Keep a keen interest in your hobbies. It’s very easy to forget about yourself whilst devoting your entire life to your children. Keep doing what your hobby or interest is, it will keep your sense of self.
Don’t be affraid to go out and meet new people. You’re a parent. There’s loads of places that you can take kids, from parks, shops to museums etc. You need to be mixing with other parents, whether its over a zoom call, in a park or wherever. It gives you a chance to have adult conversations and discuss your experiences with other parents.
Having kids is great, it gives you a chance to be a kid yourself, at times. Just remember it’s about having fun, interacting with your kids, creating memories and bonds with them.
Stay at home Dad support
I’m not insinuating that Dads should be treated the way society treats Mams. I’m not even trying to change the world by saying stay at home dads are superior. But we do deserve recognition for our efforts also.
So, to all of you stay at home Dads who read this. WELL DONE. You have done and still are doing a great job. I’d also like to add that, if any Dads feel the need to talk or just find they’re bored and a bit lonely ( it does happen!) get in touch with me, either through my contact page or on social media. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest we’ll have a chat about anything you like.
Are you a stay at home dad? Whats your thoughts on the ‘forgotten Dad’? Let me know in the comments below.