5 things I’m asked as a stay at home dad

stay at home dad funny post

Our resident stay at home dad shares with SEEK the top 5 questions he is asked since he began his new role and his responses. 

By Louis Rees 

My experience tells me that stay at home dads are still a bit of a rarity. Meeting another at random is fairly uncommon. A quick Google of number of stay at home dads spawns a vast array of differing data from country to country, but my home country of the UK sits at around 10%.  But one thing is consistent it seems, we are on the rise, especially over the last ten years or so. Some suggest it’s because of the poor economic climate pushing men out of their roles, or the rise of social equality with women. Personally, I couldn’t say, for me it’s as simple as my wife being an amazingly talented person. I could never hope to win the bread as well as she does. But even in these changing times I’m still an uncommon sight. I tend to get asked a lot of questions from the mothers I meet on my travels, as well as my family and friends. Here are some of the most common.

  • Doesn’t your wife want to be at home with the children?

In many ways I find this question borderline offensive. It conjures up suggestions that she doesn’t want to be home with the kids, like she doesn’t care. This couldn’t be further from the truth. From my experience there seems to still be a burden that falls upon those that go against the norm in this regard. Society still seems to expect mothers to be the primary carer. As such they have to work hard in their jobs, while experiencing an unnecessary feeling of guilt that they are missing out on the growth and development of their children. Similarly, I’ve spoken to other stay at home dads that feel as if they are no longer contributing to the family, as if they have been emasculated.

Thankfully, I don’t have these qualms. Personally I’m very proud to be part of what I like to think of as a modern family, pushing those barriers of what society supposedly expects. I don’t feel it’s better to have the mum be the one that looks after the kids any more than the dad. It doesn’t matter, which of the parents is bringing up the children, it’s far more important to be doing it as best as you can, and being sure to love them. It’s a reality that we all have to work to pay those bills, and in my opinion it should be the most logical choice between the two parents. In my case, it’s my wonderful wife that makes the sacrifice but it still doesn’t stop her from feeling bad about it. She would be at home in a heartbeat if I could make money like she can.

  • What do your friends think about that?

There seems to be a mix of impressions I get from my friends regarding my status as a stay at home dad.  The first, and most common is probably humor to down-right mockery. I don’t feel that’s indicative to stay at home dads in general, more that they still can’t imagine me looking after two kids. The second is jealousy, while they have to go to work, I get to stay at home. In this instance, I get to mock them back. I guess it balances out in the end.

  • That must be easy, right?

This question comes solely from people without children. It speaks volumes to their ignorance about the challenges of childcare. As far as they’re concerned you don’t go to work, you just stay at home. They think it’s easy!  They don’t know about the sleepless nights. The incessant screaming. The endless nappy changes and constant demands, and that’s all before they even start walking. Then you’re expected to teach them everything they need to know to get a good start in the world, as well as make them well-rounded human beings. On top of it all is the constant worry that comes with children, an overwhelming sense of responsibility and fear over their safety. I’ve come to realize that you’re never more vulnerable as when you have kids. They might not understand these facts now but they will when they have their own children. Then they’ll get the difficulties that come with raising a child.

  • Isn’t it weird to be surrounded by women?

I seem to find myself mostly surrounded by women these days, and not in the way I would have liked when I was younger. I sometimes find it awkward being the only man at gatherings of parents. It was definitely a barrier for me, the idea of going to meet strangers and likely being the only man. I think I imagined loads of women all clustered together talking about women things, while I was left quietly in a corner. I realized though that it was important for my children to socialize with others of their age, so I managed to overcome my fears. Now that it’s a common occurrence everything is fine and I have no problems talking with the other mums there, after all we all share parenting in common. Sometimes I can feel like a bit of a novelty to people when we first meet, but its quite easy to find conversation when you’re both going through the same process. It’s often quite useful to get differing perspectives on childcare, everyone seems to have their own methods and strategies for their own children.  Most importantly, you get a little break from them while they mess up someone else’s house for a change!

  • Don’t you miss work?

I think the answer to this question is heavily dependent on the individual answering it. I can understand the position that other stay at home dads adopt when they stop working to bring up their children. They feel like they are no longer supporting the family in the way that they are expected. Personally, I hate working and I always have. It seems to me to be a simple exchange of my time for cash. A repetitive series of actions performed daily to provide a business with profit in exchange for paying my bills. My wife used to hate my ceaseless time keeping of how much free time I had before I had to go to work, and while working my mind would do the reverse and count down the minutes before I was once again free. I think perhaps that’s why she is so successful and I’m so useless. She often joked that I would be the one that ended up looking after the kids, and as usual she was right. Not that I would change it for a second, raising our children is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. Unlike work there seems to be a tangible sense of accomplishment and reward from your efforts. I could perceivably be raising a future astronaut or President of Earth after all. Though it comes with its own set of challenges, it definitely beats the nine-to-five grind that the majority of the world is forced to endure in order to make ends meet. More than anything I know how lucky we are as a family, there are many others out there that face far greater struggles than our own. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

2 Responses to 5 things I’m asked as a stay at home dad

  1. cristel says:

    So honest and beautifully written that I felt like walking in his shoes!

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