magazines and comic books.
James started the blog and Facebook group for Stay-At-Home Dads of Utah as way to connect with other at-home dads and set up playgroups and other activities. Even though the blog and Facebook group have the word ‘dads’ in the title, the group is open to at-home moms as well.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see a man with his child during regular business hours? Do you think this man is lazy? Do you think he’s just out of work at the moment? Does the thought that he is an at-home dad even cross your mind?
I am a stay at-home dad. My family’s situation is different from other people.
With daycare prices rising and my wife making more money than me, it seemed like the right thing for my family. I’m not a lazy man, I’m not out of work, and my child will not grow up with problems. I am a loving and caring father.
The decision my wife and I made for me to become a stay-at-home dad could probably be described as one of the best decisions in my life. I feel like being home with my son has made a better husband, and definitely a better father. I love that my son is so interested in new things. He likes when we read a new book, and when he hears a new song. He loves running, jumping, dancing, and swimming. He loves watching things like Mickey Mouse, Phineas and Ferb, Word Girl, Sesame Street, and pretty much anything else on PBS in the mornings. He is an amazing artist who loves to draw, color, and paint. My son is a little ball of energy and I love every moment that I get to spend with him.
Sure every day has its challenges, but I can assure you that the joys of at-home
parenting outweigh the challenges. Our days usually start around 8:00 am. We
start off with a morning diaper change. We then enjoy breakfast while watching
Super Why and Dinosaur Train. At 9:00 am we turn off the TV and either read for 30 min and decide what adventure we are going to go on. We try to make it back to the house at 11:00 am for Sesame Street. A diaper change usually occurs at this point of the day. Noon we have lunch, usually a sandwich and some fruit and juice. After lunch we decide what else we are going to do. Usually we read and play with the trains for a few hours, then it’s nap time. Nap time lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours. During nap time I try to get some cleaning or freelance work done. After nap time, we read some more, play and then watch some Phineas and Ferb until Mama gets home.
Our adventures usually consist of trips to the store, park, play groups, dance
class, walks, or just playing with toys at home with some music in the
background. We also do a lot of drawing and coloring throughout the day. I feel
like my schedule is similar to that of an at-home mom. I don’t understand the
perception that at-home dads are lazy.
As well as being an at-home dad, I also do freelance audio editing work in my free time (nap times, and when my wife gets home). If I have a big project, I take naps with my son and work while my son and wife are sleeping so I don’t miss any time with them. I can work anywhere from 8-35 hours per week.
One thing that I hear from time to time is that my family situation is unnatural and my child might grow up with some issues. I hear that my wife should be at home doing the cooking, cleaning, and child rearing. I hear this from men and women, working professionals and at-home moms. To these people I ask, why will my son have problems if my wife is the one working? Am I teaching him that he should strive to be a stay-at-home dad when he grows up? Is the goal of an at-home mom to raise her daughter to be an at-home mother? My goal as an at-home dad is to raise my son to be a value to society. That he treats everyone with the respect he is given, that he doesn’t allow society to govern his way of life because of gender stereotypes. I want him to know that men and women are equal and deserve to be treated as such.
Yes I do spend a lot more time with my son than my wife does, but my son knows that when Mama gets home, it’s his time with her. They have a very strong mother/son connection. She is in no way an absentee mother. I feel that as long as we always show our son that we love him, he will grow to be an amazing man. I don’t think that my son will have issues when he gets
Another thing that bothers me is when people say, “women are better parents, and men are better workers.” I believe that anyone could be a great parent, they just have be willing to use their knowledge and skills to the best of their ability.
Gender has nothing to do with good/bad parenting or even with “bringing home the bacon.”
The things that I have heard from people about my family situation used bother me a lot. Sometimes putting me in a funk that took days to get out of. But one thing that has really helped me is the support I get from friends and family. I think that when people make the choice to become an at-home parent, mom or dad, they need to have a support system ready, because this is hard. Parenting is not easy, and it shouldn’t be. But it’s so much harder when people are judgmental and cling to outdated gender stereotypes.