Especially if you're a new dad, being the one who's home alone most of the time with the little one can be a scary thing. You want to do what's right for your child, but how are you supposed to know what's normal and what should be raising an internal red flag -- without getting on the phone with your wife or doctor or mother every other day, that is?
Luckily, all that spitting up and crying is often just a normal part of being a baby. Even some hair loss isn't necessarily something to get worked up about.
Our advice? Brush up on what some of this "normal baby stuff" is now, so you're not worrying yourself silly later.
The Temple University Department of Psychology is conducting research examining the attitudes toward fathers as primary and secondary caregivers and is looking for participants in a survey.
Graduate student Katharine Wilson is heading what looks like a worthy effort and tells me she is interested in the area because she grew up in a stay-at-home dad household and although she was oblivious to them at the time and now realizes her father faced a number of challenges. “I hope to use my research to educate people in an effort to eliminate the stigmas attached to fathers acting as primary caregivers,” she says.
Anyone over the age of 18 can take the survey, which should take about 30-45 minutes. It obviously would be a good thing to have a solid representation of stay-at-home dads. So when you have a second, give the survey a shot.
We live in a part of the world where baseball’s spring training takes place. So today I decided to gather up the boys and head to the ballpark. Nothing better than letting them run around the lawn seating while soaking up a beautiful day in February. I know, sounds weird and I’m not trying to make anyone who is freezing jealous, but it was nice.
The point is, though, it was a perfect chance to be active with the kids in a different way. As a stay-at-home dad the opportunity exists to infuse an afternoon out with your own interests to mix things up a little and add to the fun. There is nothing that says following standard fare like a library outing – not that there is anything wrong with that – is the only way to go.
A matinee baseball game is one such opportunity for a change up. The kids will have fun with you, and who knows, you may even make them fans of your interests as well.
It’s hard not to pay attention when you see stay-at-home dads mentioned in an Internet posting titled “6 Dream Jobs That Would Actually Suck,” such as this one from Cracked.com. Yep, there it is at No. 3: Stay-at-Home Dads. At first I thought it might be some sarcastic rendition of how at-home dads struggle with their inner being or something down those lines. I was ready to be a little ticked. But instead it mentioned a few very real struggles that stay-at-home dads face – struggles that can be killer if not addressed early and often.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had men tell me they would love to stay home, and recent surveys show that many working dads would consider this their dream job. I’ve always wondered if they’ve really thought about what it takes. There are no days off, kids show no mercy and traditional gender roles are a bear to break down. Just as this post says.
Now, do I think most of our wives are going to eventually flip on us because we aren’t masculine enough? Not in the slightest. Unfortunately, though, you know it has happened. More reason to keep working at every detail involved with the SAHD role. Being a stay-at-home dad can be a dream job realized, but it takes more than lip service to get there.
We went to our fifth birthday party in eight weeks over the weekend. All but one of them was for 4-year-olds. We’re kind of tired. Anyway, I found it interesting to observe the kinds of parties that are thrown for kids, and having so many celebrations in a short time made it easy to observe.
Some parties had huge jump houses, cotton candy machines, elaborate arts and crafts and creative games. Some were nothing more than a backyard gathering where the kids ran around with each other and the adults got some needed adult time. Want to know which ones the kids had more fun at? Honestly, I couldn’t tell. There seemed to be an equal amount of excitement all around.
So think of that before you get competitive and try and go bigger and better. Just find a fun day that fits your family’s style. Do kids really care how big of a bash they have? Maybe as they get older, but at least for preschoolers any time they get to be with their buds seems to be good enough.
Got your own birthday thoughts? Feel free to share it here and with the All About Parenting Blog Carnival.
This morning, for the first time, I was asked one of stay-at-home dads’ favorite questions: Are you babysitting today? The moment happened at a gas station as I was getting my youngest out of the car and came from an elderly gentleman. Didn’t really faze me, and I realize in his day he probably would have been. I just smiled and said “yup.” I didn’t need to go into any sort of debate as a response. Besides, I just wanted to get a drink and move on with my day.
I’ve gotten plenty of off-hand comments and the typical parenting advice, mostly on the grounds that my kids are hungry or tired, which usually come moments after they’ve eaten or slept. But for the first time as an at-home dad I was called a babysitter. Not sure if there is any SAHD badge that comes with the milestone or not.
A state legislator in Missouri has opened a stay-at-home parent can of worms. Republican Rep. Cynthia Davis has proposed a bill that would give stay-at-home moms $600 in scholarship money per year for each child they have under the age of 15 if they make less than $1,000. Problem here is it doesn’t include stay-at-home dads.
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story on the topic a fellow lawmaker questioned why men weren’t included, and Davis responded that it was because women are "built-in nurturers" who can, among other things, breast feed. So moms deserve to be paid for the same job that many men are doing because they have breasts? Let’s not jump to too many stereotypical conclusions, shall we.
Look, this isn’t a terrible idea (although how it gets paid for in this economic climate has to be another question). Davis’ heart might be in the right place, even if she used one of the worst stay-at-home misconceptions there is to defend it – saying this might encourage a mother who does nothing but “watches soap operas and eat bonbons all day” to further her education.
It’s not a bad thing for any stay-at-home parent to remain marketable if the time comes for them to go back to work. If a state wanted to help parents achieve that, awesome. But you can’t give taxpayer money to one group and deny it to another that is doing the same job, especially with no real reasoning.
Here is what has virtually become the weekly update on the economy’s impact on the role of dads in family. This one comes from the San Jose Mercury News and doesn’t really give any additional insight from the recent New York Times take. But it did seem to tone down a bit the implication that dads aren’t taking advantage of the situation with their families, although not always in the most positive of light.
It has become more than obvious that these times are tough on any kind of family make up, meaning people are doing whatever it takes to make things work. USA Today had a short piece this week saying the Census Bureau is having no trouble filling thousands of temporary positions to help come up with the 2010 census count. Stay-at-home dads make up a portion of those seeking the jobs, even though some positions last only a week and pay as little as $10 an hour.
There are lots of financial considerations for at-home dads, but these days every little bit helps. What are some other ways SAHDs are helping ease some of the economic pain?