Being A Stay At Home Dad
Malik Ruman shares his views on parenthood and being a stay-at-home-dad.
I am the father of a three year old boy named Logan we are really just your usual family except for one thing I am a stay at home dad and Logan’s mother goes to work. Now I knew before Logan was born that I was going to be the one to stay at home. My pay was less than my wives and we could afford to live on just the one wage so it was decided very early on that I would be a stay at home dad. I am here to give you a little run down of what my life as a stay at home dad was like at first and maybe give you an idea of what to expect if you are going to become one.
First of all take a moment and think just how lucky you are that you get to spend so much time with your child. Its not easy being a stay at home dad far from it, for me personally I had never had any experience with looking after a baby before my son was born. I had worked in a school and with various youth clubs over the years but never been responsible for a baby, but hey it couldn’t be that hard could it? After Logan was born Michelle (my wife) was on maternity leave so we did everything together and it was great I thought too my self looking after a kid is easy why all these people make a big deal out of it. But then something happened I was in the kitchen one day and looked over at the calendar and noticed something…………………………………….. In 2 days Michelle was back at work and my life as a stay at home dad was about to begin.
So there it was 7.55am Michelle drove off to work and it was just me and Logan. Being a stay at home dad one of the things I will tell you and I don’t mean to scare you, but being a stay at home dad can feel very isolating. There were times when I would go days without seeing another adult apart from my wife. It is very important to get out of the house if you can. Even if it’s for just a walk down the street you need to do something to get your self out of the house for just little while. Not having any experience with a baby before I was surprised at just how dependant on you a baby was. I know your probably thinking well of course it is but the truth is I had no idea what to expect. Looking after a baby and keeping your house in order will keep you busy make no mistake about it.
A huge plus of being a stay at home dad is getting to witness so many of your child’s firsts in life I still vividly remember the first time Logan laughed it was such a great moment one I will remember for the rest of my life. Now this brings me to another point for all you stay at home dads one that I hope can save you a little bit of trouble with your wife. When you are telling your wife or significant other what you and your child have been up to all day try not to make her feel like she is missing out on her child’s life. This was something my wife found very hard she sometimes felt like she was missing out on everything. I didn’t help by telling her every little thing Logan did, I wasn’t doing to it make her feel bad at all but it made her feel bad for leaving Logan to go to work. So while your partner will want to know what your child has been doing just try and be tactful when telling them so they don’t feel excluded.
Playing with your child all day is great but you still need adult conversation as well. For me in the area I live I was the only stay at home dad which was at times made me feel a little lonely. There was many mother and toddler groups a couple I went to and I always got that same look when Logan and I walked in the door. Don’t let this put you off as guys don’t usually go to these types of thing but most of the mums there will try and make you feel welcome. I am naturally quite a shy person so I found going to these groups very hard but it’s important to stick it out for your child’s sake. My son had a great time interacting with other kids at these groups so even if you find it awkward and don’t enjoy it I highly recommend you take stay for just a little while to let your kids play.
After Logan’s first 18 months I was extremely comfortable at being a stay at home dad something if you had asked me about just a few years earlier I would have said no way I could do that. Once your child gets a little older you can take them more places just going to the park for an afternoon is a great way to have some fun best of all its free. One great thing about going to the park is I found that more dads’ take there kids to the park so it was a great way to meet some other guys and talk about things guys like. While being a stay at home dad is apparently more common these days it doesn’t help the isolation that you can sometimes feel. The fact that society often says the men must be the hunters and gatherers and go out to work doesn’t always help your self esteem. Some days you will feel down it happens to us all don’t worry about it but don’t ever let that take away from just how lucky you are to be the one raising your child. Being a stay at home dad is a privilege and it takes a special kind of person to do it so don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I don’t want to preach to you but I want to leave you with 2 little bits of advice. First of all stay calm I can not say this enough your life will be so much more easy if you keep a cool head. Even if your child is screaming in a worst tantrum than a Hollywood diva that didn’t get the right kind of mineral water in her dressing room, stay calm. Getting all stressed out and worked up will not help you or your child just take a moment a few seconds is all it takes for you to get your head together. My second little piece of advice is this enjoy it as cheesy as it sounds you will never get this time back just enjoy it.
My name is Ruman I have been a stay at home father for the past 3 years and consider it the greatest job I have ever had.