I have a confession, the concept of a Stay at Home Dad was foreign to me.
My Dad worked long hours driving a train and my mom was the one who got us ready, fed us and took us where we needed to go.
Stay at Home Dads represent a shift in the way a family functions in society. For countless years, the “family” was a dad who went to work for long hours, the children stayed home with mom and that was that. Times have changed on so many levels.
According to the National At-Home-Dad Network, in 2013 there were nearly 1.35 Million Stay at Home Dads living in the United States. With current trends from the Bureau of Labour Statistics this number could jump to nearly 1.75 million this year.
As I stated earlier, the concept of a Stay at Home Dad wasn’t in my vocabulary. Years ago, I was working at a local employer when one of the Directors had to take a day off to stay at home with his children. I said “Oh, he is babysitting today.”. My Co-worker jumped down my throat, and with every right telling me that he was not babysitting, he was being a parent.
A Stay at Home Dad is not a babysitter, they are parents
Society would never question if a Mom was staying home by calling it babysitting. Why do they do it with Stay at Home Dads?
That interaction stuck with me and I never made the mistake of calling any dad, regardless of the situation a babysitter again. A Dad is not a babysitter.
My Day as a Stay at Home Dad
I got a taste of the Stay at Home Dad lifestyle yesterday. My wife and daughter were out of town on a field trip and it was just my son and I against the world.
We went for a walk down by the water that leads to a playground. My son said “Hello” to every person, couple and pet that passed from his stroller.
We got to the park and he immediately made friends with two other boys that were his same age. Why is it so easy for him to go up to other people?
It was time to leave the park, that was when the first meltdown happened. Apparently kids like parks, who knew.
I finally got him back in the stroller and we were walking again. He once again said “Hello” to every person, pet, squirrel and bird that we saw.
As we walked by the water, he kept leaning over the side of the stroller. He was trying to see “fishies” in the water. Proud daddy moment I might add.
After some running around, I stopped to grab a quick bite to eat for lunch. After screaming for two minutes about how I got the wrong thing, he ate it. He fell asleep with the remainder in his hand.
I took him out of his car seat and brought him up to bed.
Morning Complete – Exhaustion Level 60 Percent
I decided to spend some time blogging while he was napping. Later on, I found out this is when the extra chores are accomplished. That didn’t seem right, relaxing after a hard morning seemed to make sense.
My son woke up and it was back on. We played trains for a while in the basement. I was playing it wrong, he let me know by raising his voice and correcting me.
It was time to prepare for supper. Knowing that my wife and daughter would be back soon, I started supper a bit early. My son wanted to help by crying and pointing at the fridge. I guess he saw something in there he liked.
Rest of Family Arrives home. Dinner is served.
Day as a Stay at Home Dad Complete – Exhaustion Level – Flatline
Ok, I am exaggerating a bit, I wasn’t dead. What a day though.
I honestly do not think I could do that every day.
Stay at Home Dads, I tip my hat to you. To do this on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing.
I know what you will say, it’s not that impressive. Or its just being a parent. Or its just life.
Being a Stay at Home Dad is not an easy job.
Men are not wired the same as women. Men do not nest – nesting is getting the home ready for when baby is born. Being a primary caregiver is not wired into our DNA the same as it is for women.
This was my experience on my day as a Stay at Home Dad.
I was happy to have a day just with my son. We did have fun together, even if it wore me out. Would I build up stamina, eventually, but over time.
Being a Stay at Home Dad was much more difficult than my day job. Even more difficult than blogging.
What did I learn from my day as a Stay at Home Dad?
Firstly, my son is awesome. I haven’t really had a Dad and Son day since he’s been born.
Second, being a Stay at Home Dad is not as easy as some people think. An exhausting day but an amazing day.
And third, I have a new found respect for Stay at Home Dads and the Stay at Home Moms. Raising a child (or children) on a daily basis while your spouse is off at work is a hard job.
Be proud of the job you do and the children you are raising.