father and son drawing on a piece of paper with colored pencils

”Be Present In The Moment” – Tales from Stay at Home Dads

I wanted to highlight a great article from Arlene Harris with The Irish Times who recently spoke with a couple of stay-at-home dads about the evolution of couples beginning to split household and parenting tasks more. As Harris points out, for the longest time, being a parent involved very gender-defined roles – moms stayed at home and looked after the day-to-day needs of children, while the father would go out to earn an income and support the family financially.

However, times change.

’I think that society has changed’

The first dad that Harris spoke with was Ross Good, a 44-year-old who lives with his wife Mel, and their two daughters, Mia (10) and Elle (7) in Dublin. Ross maintains his blog thestentedpapa.com. As the title of his blog may allude, he has been a stay-at-home-dad since 2016 when he was diagnosed with heart disease and realized a need to make changes to his life. Now, he finds himself taking care of all his children’s needs while Mel works from home. He has noticed an uptick in other dads starting to do the same.

Harris’ interview contains additional quotes, but I wanted to highlight some of the below from Good that I appreciated.

When I became a SAHD, I also started blogging and got to know a few other full-time dads who also blogged. I also see dads being very active at my daughters’ school every day with drop-offs and collections, and while I can’t say for certain that they are minding the kids full time, they are very active and it’s great to see.

I think the way we parent has changed and for me and any other dad I know, we are all hands-on because we want to be involved and part of the equation, not just when mum isn’t available or has gone away for a weekend break – dads are parents too.

Also, I think that society has changed. The days of the traditional roles within the family unit aren’t the same as they used to be and we want to be involved more with our children every day. That’s not to say that all of todays’ parenting styles are on point as some people think the older ways are better and others think those ways are barbaric.

Also, I think the below should apply to all parents – be present.

My advice for someone who is about to become a SAHD would be to try to be present in the moment because it really and truly flies by so fast. Learn from the experience and try to enjoy it. And when things get tough – which they will for sure – talk to your partner and your friends and take breaks because kids will try your patience. They will push your buttons and it will frustrate the life out of you at times. Try to keep your patience as they are only children and don’t understand their actions, for the most part. And when all else fails, there’s always wine.

’They Are Only Children Such a Short Time’

Harris also spoke with James Daly, another stay-at-home-dad, who has been taking care of their family’s household for the last three years while his partner is in the workforce. Daly “feels privileged” to be a part of his children’s childhood and doesn’t see a spot for him in the workforce.

When we discovered that Jennifer was pregnant again, there was no question of anything changing and when Leah was born, our little crew at home just got bigger. The kids are still very young and Zach won’t be going to pre-school until 2023 and Leah the year after, so until then I am going to be here for them every day – they are only children for such a short time so I am incredibly grateful that I am playing a big role in their lives.

However, Daly has also discovered that this new parenting landscape doesn’t always sit well with everyone.

I enjoy their company and find them fascinating – the only thing which can be a bit strange is that I’m always the only man at the playground or parent and toddler groups. Some of the mothers can be very odd about it and while most are fine and will at least say hello, there is always one or two, who nearly clutch their children to them as if they think I’m going to do something.

This makes me sad and angry – I’m a father with my kids and have as much right to be there as they do. I know there aren’t as many dads looking after their children as there are mothers – but those of us who are, shouldn’t be made to feel unwelcome. People need to realize that dads love their kids too and the days of them just being the breadwinner are long gone.

Both Ross and James have some additional tidbits to offer up, so I highly recommend reading the rest of the article but wanted to call out some of the above.

For any readers out there who are also stay-at-home-dads, or even fellow dad bloggers, did you find the above relatable? I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to work from home, and like James and Ross, have found what a difference it has made to be able to be more present in the lives of our kids? I would be fascinated to hear from others out there, so definitely feel free to leave a comment below!

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