Life as a stay-at-home dad

Life as a stay-at-home dad

by Brandy Hawley
Japan Birth Resource Network
When I was asked to write this article about how I as the mom work full-time and my husband is the stay-at-home parent, I quickly agreed, but after some reflection, I realized it couldn’t be one-sided. Plus my side of it isn’t all that interesting. 
Yes, I work full-time, and am a breastfeeding/pumping mother, but my husband does the lion share of work when it comes to maintaining our household and caring for our children. Truthfully, he’s better at it! So I believe it’s only fair to interview him and get his thoughts.
Q: How do you feel about being the stay at home parent?
A: It’s nice that one of us gets to do it (to be here to raise our children).
Q: Is there anything you found unexpected or surprising?
A: How much patience is needed for the ones you love the most! I’m used to physically demanding work. This is hard too but there is more reward. It is challenging because I have to manage our schedule and get things done while still taking care of the kids and having fun with them.
Q: What things could the working parent do to make it easier on the stay at home parent?
A: When I was working, I had this idea that going home was the break you get from work. There’s no breaks in parenting, so when you get home, get to work! 
But it’s also about realizing each parent needs a break just to have some alone time.
Q: How do you think your experience is different by being the dad? Do you think there’s any stigma on dads that don’t work?
A: Maybe, but it doesn’t affect me if there is. It is kind of funny though that if I tell younger men (without kids) that I stay at home, they think it’s so easy. 
Q: Do you miss work?
A: There’s a pride in making money and bringing it home to your family. But there is also pride in watching your kids grow and learn, and just being with them every day. But everybody needs something outside of work. I put my focus on training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so it hasn’t been bad for me.
[On the side, he remarks to me that I probably feel that pride about being a breadwinner, to which I have to say, actually, no. I’m proud of where I am in my career right now, but for me there’s no ego about being the breadwinner. I wonder if this is true of other moms??]
In ending, there are other things I feel I should point out that my husband would never mention himself. He’s a wonderful partner all around, and he’s very much hands on in caring for our kids, and keeping our house clean and meals prepared. 
You should see him casually sling our youngest, who is now 10 months, onto his back all by himself in a carrier! It took me awhile to have that same ease and confidence. Also he is definitely the more patient one. 
Though number two is proving to be a little easier in the sleep department, neither of my girls slept through the night their first year. That means a lot of sleep-deprived nights. I wasn’t always at my best. I was irritable, touched out, and just over it. But having him step up to give me a break, to wear out our girls to sleep so I could get a little extra, means the world to me, whether I’m working full-time or not. 
To all the dads, and especially my husband, you are awesome, and I love and appreciate all that you do. 

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