In celebrating dads of all kind this Father’s Day, I want to specifically call out the stay-at-home dads out there. While slowly growing in number, they still face some adversity in going against the idea that the majority of Americans still prefer – the male as the breadwinner. I have personal experience with this as my husband stays home with our 4 kids. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have a man who provides an example for all fathers. I think others can benefit from learning some of his demonstrated wisdom. Here are 5 tips to being not only a perfect SAHD, but a pretty phenomenal father in general as well.
Forget Your Pride
Deciding to stay home means giving up years of a career for the benefit of your family. I’m a huge fan of challenging gender norms, but often men are particularly pushed to have a career-driven mindset in our culture. I can’t tell you how many surprised looks we’ve experienced when we explain our family dynamic. My husband has come to own his SAH status, but others aren’t always as quick to accept it. That has forced him to let go of his pride in some situations, and I love how he can do so while still possessing the confidence I find so attractive.
Play With AND Discipline Your Kids
This one is huge. I watch plenty of dads do one or the other very well, but it’s rare to find the perfect combination my husband displays. Our kids know they can count on him for a round of hide-and-go-seek tag, fort building, or a game of kickball anytime. But they also know that he means business with everything that comes out of his mouth or even just a raise of his eyebrows. He wants the kids to understand their role as children compared to grown-ups, and still encourages them to talk about anything on their minds. He makes sure they’re heard while teaching them to respect others.
Adore Your Spouse
Maybe this one is a bit selfish, but I think most of us moms still want our own attention even if we love that our husbands devote tons of time with our kiddos. Mine shows me love in countless ways – from my daily welcome home kiss to calls throughout the day to sharing the details of his day with me. As one of the most influential examples of romance and marriage to our children, it’s high on our list of priorities to show them what true love and communication look like. My hubs never disappoints here.
I doubt my husband would think to add this one, but it’s one of the things I love about him. He remains true to who he is in spite of his current career as a SAHD or that he’s a father at all. He is an ultra-confident, incredibly competitive, life of the party kinda guy no matter who is around. He tells it like it is, despises fake personalities, and is loyal to a fault. I know moms sometimes lose parts of themselves after giving birth (I know I did); he knows that’s not a good plan. He’s the first to say that having his firstborn helped him grow up, but he never loses touch with who he is at his core.
Treasure Your Time
We all know how quickly kids grow up. As part of a blended family, my hubs knows more than most SAHDs that our time with them is short. So he treasures every second he’s with them – even when our 5-year-old son is particularly defiant… or our daughters bicker more than usual… or our youngest CLEARLY needs a nap, but refuses to take one. He savors every “I love you dad/stad” and every request to play dinosaurs or Mario Kart. One of the reasons he stays home at all is so he can attend (and often coach!) every single extracurricular activity he can so his kids know he’s there for them.
I know that not everyone has as incredible a father in their kids’ lives as I do. But we can all learn from him and see what’s possible. To all of the men out there who care enough about their children to do their best for them… Happy Father’s Day. As for my man, I thank God every day that our kids have such an incredible example of what a father should look like. We love you!