Insights from a stay-at-home dad

First and foremost, I do NOT use the term “house-husband”! I can fully appreciate how stay-at-home mums feel undervalued and unappreciated when labelled a “house-wife” (after all, neither husbands nor wives are betrothed to a building!).

I’ve had an opportunity to stay home with my boys for a few months and so feel worthy to share some insights to not only those who might be considering this but to all parents, would-be parents and anyone facing CHANGE. At some point, we all make transitions from what we know to the unknown, moving into a realm that offers greater uncertainty and unpredictability.

Enjoying routine, my greatest challenge initially was developing a structure. I was accustomed to arising early and doing the CBD transit to work, returning late evening. This was me Monday to Friday with the boys’ soccer on Saturday, church Sunday and various mid-week meetings or events. The first week or two I was in holiday mode minus the beachside vista and the budget! After this, I clambered for structure, a routine around which I could reasonably expect to produce something.

The idea of producing became key. At work, my production was clear – I knew the outcomes expected, the processes I needed to undertake and how productivity was measured. As a stay-at-home dad could I count my 3-year-old having a successful toilet encounter as an outcome? Perhaps a day where the ice-packs remain in the freezer and the band-aids in the cupboard is deemed “successful”?

And what do you tell people when they ask how the job’s going? Stay-at-home mums look at you surprisingly with an equal sense of empathy and sympathy, career dads mostly look confused. This is where an elevator pitch comes in handy!

So whether you’re considering ditching work in favour of managing your home or you’re entering a new phase of your life, take stock of the things you currently take for granted and prepare a plan for the unknown!


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