My goal is simple and that is to be the best stay at home dad I can possibly be and the only way for me to do that is to treat it like I would any other form of employment.
What do I actually do all day long? Well, I’m glad you asked as it gives me an opportunity to not only justify my own existence to anyone who cares (it is not all lattes and lunches you know) but also to help other dads who are just starting out or thinking about giving the stay at home role a go and have no idea of what to expect.
As there really isn’t any official guide to the stay at home dad role, I found it helpful to firstly define the role, and then break it into specific occupational areas that I could then deal with in their own right. Divide and conquer I say.
I’ve come up with 7 key areas that, when put together, best define what the stay at home dad role means to me. I found that by doing some research on these particular occupations I could see what the professionals do in each area and then simply try to copy or modify some of their techniques to suit my situation.
This was our primary focus and probably the reason most of us choose to stay at home in the first place. It involves all aspects of child care and health care from feeding, pooing, clothing and washing to growth and development. If like me, you have never done this before then I’ll tell you that is a very steep learning curve.
Early childhood teacher
When they are infants they will happily stare at a spotty wall for ages and sleep for even longer but as they grow their little brains and bodies come alive and it is important to keep them stimulated with educational games and structured, supervised play time like drawing, spelling, writing, counting, singing and reading.
All family meals must be planned for, shopped for and prepared. We have about 20 recipes that I rotate over the month and I always make more than is needed to allow for lunches for my HWW (new acronym = hard working wife). In addition, the kitchen-hand and dishwasher duties must also be performed.
Our house requires a major clean every week that involves scrubbing the kitchen and appliances and bathrooms/toilets/showers, vacuuming and dusting and washing all hard floors. Additionally there are other cleaning tasks like windows, fridges and ovens that also need to be completed on a fairly regular basis.
The washing, hanging out and bringing in, drying, folding and ironing of clothes is a mammoth task especially when you only have 1 washing machine and limited drying space. The goal is not an empty basket (oh nirvana!) but not an overflowing one. I don’t think I have ever seen an empty basket.
We like our child to be involved in group activities not only for social reasons but also to promote a healthy and active lifestyle and to give her days/weeks a bit of structure. We currently attend a soccer program, gymnastics program and a dance program on three separate mornings a week.
The allocation of funds, payment of bills and general household administrative duties must also be performed.
My working day starts at 7am with the family breakfast and finishes at 7pm when our child is put to bed and involves all of the above aspects. I like to treat my stay at home dad role like a professional duty and attempt to do all aspects of it to the standard you would expect from a paid professional.
Even though I know that this is only an ideal, it helps me to set goals for my working week and thus enables me to derive a sense of much needed achievement in my daily life.
Most importantly I don’t want to forget that I am firstly a husband to my HWW. Just because I perform a traditionally female role does not make me any less a man. We stay at home dads still have our basic chemistry and anatomy and a lot of women find the image of the nurturing male quite attractive.
I hope our wives do…