There are many stresses the stay-at-home dad can, and probably will, face. A good deal of that pressure is internal. It is an absolute must that stay-at-home dads remain content with the role, or else the entire family can suffer. The best way to do that is to tackle those potential stresses as early as possible and to continually address them. Keeping the SAHD happy and healthy can be as simple as focusing on these tasks:
There isn’t a task in the world that doesn’t have the potential for burnout. But stay-at-home dads can be at greater risk, especially with all the stereotypes, lack of adult interaction, non-stop hours on the job and much more. Find ways to change up the routine every now and then, make sure to stay active with the children, relish your own interests and get out of the house with the wife every now and again. Anything you can do to keep the job, and life, fresh will go a long way to remaining happy with what you do.
It’s easy to think it’s a fairy tale that at one time you enjoyed catching up on current events or watching the latest independent film when it seems all you do is watch the latest Disney fairy tales. That makes it even more important to find time to read the news or take in a movie. Play a game or do a puzzle. Have a conversation that doesn’t include what a cartoon character is doing. Keep that mind stimulated or risk losing it.
There aren’t many breaks built into a stay-at-home dad’s day. Or night. Or weekend, month, year. You get the picture. And when your spouse spends a tough day at work, it doesn’t always feel right to just dump the kids on her as soon as she walks in the door. Still, it is inessential to get some me time, making it imperative to work out the occassional break or two from the family. So talk it over with your wife and work out some ways to get some time off. Even if it only occurs a few times a month, it could be enough to keep the batteries charged.
It may, or may not, be a bit of a surprise to the average SAHD, but rounding up children all day can be a good work out. Take some steps, literally, to remain active by working a walk into the daily routine, making errands work for you and tracking how much activity each day produces. Just knowing that everyday tasks can be beneficial to your well being could keep you energized.
At-home dads are at great risk for falling into an isolated hole. Or at least feeling like it. A lack of adult interaction and practically being by yourself all day will do that to you. But there are many ways to take care of the children and find like company at the same time. Find other stay-at-home dads (or moms), join playgroups, get out of the house as much as possible and hang out with the guys when you get the chance to not feel so alone. The kids are great company, and the reason SAHDs exist, but sometimes a little interaction with others can be quite refreshing.
Routine can go a long way in helping a stay-at-home dad house stay sane and happy. A routine establishes boundaries and comfort level for children, helps establish good and healthy habits for them and can help keep the day flowing along. Such structure should reduce surprises and help you keep your head, even during stressful times.