This list is based on my own experience in the short period of time I have been a stay at home dad, or SAHD. I will remain a proud father, and with my wife working at home a good 60% of the week, we can offer our adopted son a level of interaction that many parents cannot.
However at some point over the last nine months, I have experienced each of these, to a greater or lesser extent.
The older generations particularly struggle with the idea of a man ‘doing a woman’s job’. I have heard some pretty Neanderthal comments that quite frankly would have been tasteless in 1950.
We have done our best to break down equality barriers, but as the saying goes – you can’t teach and old dog new tricks. Stay at home dads will continue to be the subject of this stigma for a few years yet.
As well as external challenges, the modern man fulfilling the stay at home dad role is likely to feel emasculated at some point.
Try as I might to put on a brave face in public, there are certain situations where a bit of good old-fashion masculinity would do the world of good.
I realise this contradicts my point about stigma, so I am wary of sounding like I want my cake and to eat it, but perhaps these two points are related? If there was less stigma, would I feel emasculated?
Jealousy from and of their partner
One of the hardest challenges to face as a stay at home dad is the fact that I am fulfilling a role that my wife so desperately wanted herself.
It is clear that she wanted to be a mother in the truest, and yes perhaps most traditional of ways, but our ship turned in another direction.
It is true also, that at times; I daydream of my previous routine, and I have to admit, a job. I am unable to contribute to our house in the same way that I did before, and that is a continued source of frustration.
However, there is no question who in our house has the better deal. If forced to choose between the two roles, I would need less than a microsecond to confirm my answer.
Female heavy groups
This may be seen as more of an opportunity than a challenge to some men, and many fellas would welcome being the centre of attention to a room bursting with housewives.
Reality is a few thousand miles away from this though. I am a pretty sociable chap, but in England’s rural heartland I have found myself struggling to prise into one of the many female cliques that exist around the village.
I will persist though, and if things get desperate I will engage my trust-worthy wit and charm…
This last challenge is described with my tongue in my cheek, but it will ring true with many a stay at home dad.
It is generally accepted by the masses that women multi-task better than men. When looking after kids, this skill comes into its own.
My responsibility around the house is simply to ensure the neck of my son remains intact. That is my first priority.
On the rare occasion that I venture into something else, like dish-washing, I leave the boy exposed, and more often than not, find him juggling knives, or swinging from the light shade.
I jest, of course, but you get my point. I find it difficult to provide care for my son, and look after the house in an efficient manner – that is my challenge. It is every stay at home dad’s challenge? I would love to know. Please leave your comments below.
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