Navigating Parenthood as a Stay-at-Home Dad: Challenges and Tips

June 14, 2023 4 min read

Navigating Parenthood as a Stay-at-Home Dad: Challenges and Tips

No matter if you’re tough as steel like Superman, rest assured, there are plenty of kryptonite moments that you will face as a stay-at-home dad. And for those of you that are new to the role, know this: No matter how prepared you think you are to stay at home with your children, you will struggle to have all the answers at times. Because, hey, you’ve never had to take on this role before, and it’s a lot harder than it looks. Keep reading to find out some of the challenges that stay-at-home dads face along with some tips to help you navigate them.

Own Your New Title

It’s normal for new stay-at-home dads to feel insecure about their role in the home and afraid to tell their family and friends. I would encourage you to own that new role and to run with it to the best of your ability. Don’t worry about what others will say or think of you. If you and your spouse are working together as a team to make ends meet, who really cares about other people’s opinions? Every family tries to do what’s best for the needs of the whole crew, and everyone’s family and needs will look different. Regardless of what others may say or think, you are making a decision to put your kids first, and sometimes that can look bold in today’s society.

Establish Your New Role with Your Partner

To help you steer clear of any arguments or disagreements with your spouse, be sure to sit down ahead of time and discuss as a team what your responsibilities and duties as a stay-at-home dad would look like. Do they expect you to have the house clean and dinner prepared? Would there be any errands that need to be done, laundry washed and folded? Discussing these expectations upfront will keep both parties on the same page and avoid conflict. Every household has their own divide-and-conquer strategies for a smooth running of the home, and the most successful ones are those that are planned out clearly ahead of time.

A Stay-at-Home Dad Doesn’t Have to Stay at Home

Tired of the same old scenery day after day? Because, chances are, if you’re bored with being home all the time, your kiddos may be too. I’d encourage you to switch it up a bit and leave home in the rearview mirror every once in a while. Try to be creative by taking them to different places like the library, and the park, or going on a nature hike. You may find out it's the fresh air that you (and they) have been needing.

Create Structure and a Routine

Whether you’re raising an infant, toddler, or adolescent, a structured environment is absolutely necessary so that they know what you expect from them. Once your children are used to their routine, it should make a difference with how smoothly the day goes for you.  

Love the Little Moments

If you’re not careful, taking on a stay-at-home job can become just that, a job. But this is your rare opportunity to enjoy the precious time that you have with your kids: whether it’s playing games with them, watching their favorite movies, or playing pretend with them. These are the little moments that you won’t get back, so treasure them and make memories with your children.

There’s Nothing Wrong about Asking for Help

Don’t hesitate to seek out help when you’re feeling overwhelmed and in over your head. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about when you’ve reached this point. So, take the time to call up a friend to help cheer you up or dial a sitter’s number so you can get out and get some alone time for a bit. For your own sanity and your children’s well-being, ask for help.

Remember to Take Breaks

A stay-at-home parent’s role is always go, go, go. But you need to take a break when an opportunity presents itself, whether it’s chugging your coffee down profusely before the kids wake up, or taking a 30-minute nap, or catching up with friends on the phone while your kids are laying down. A break throughout the day will help you hold on to your sanity.

This Role Probably Won’t Be Forever

Have you experienced chaotic days as a stay-at-home dad when you feel exasperated and ready to toss in the towel? As a dad myself, trust me, I’ve been there. Whether you’re stressed out about sick and cranky children, a baby that has an ear infection, or perhaps changing an endless amount of diapers in a single afternoon, it’s completely normal to get overwhelmed at times. But what you have to remind yourself is that this role that you’re currently in is temporary. Try to enjoy this time with your children because there may come a day when the roles reverse and you return to working outside the home.    

Whether you realize it or not, there are several challenges that dads face when they choose to raise their children from home. Whether a dad is struggling with an identity crisis or just plain lost on how to manage from day to day, these tips will help him be more confident and up for the challenge.

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