From one of our favourite Daddy Bloggers, Walking Dad:
So, you’ve decided to become a stay-at-home dad? Good on you.
Despite the mixed response you can expect to get for your decision, from disbelief to confusion to disdain, I’m here to tell you that it’s a great idea.
Being a stay-home dad is likely to be one of the more rewarding periods of your life. True, we’ve probably got the worst acronym out there - SAHD sounds like a depressive ailment - but look on the bright side - at least we’re not 'Fathers Undertaking Childcare’.
Your new role as a SAHD will be like no job you’ve ever had before - the pay is negligible, the hours interminable, and the boss is prone to wild mood swings and incontinence - so here are a few words of ‘Dadvice’ from a two-year veteran of parenting battles big and small (and loser of most).
1. Say goodbye to the lads for a while.
Like an intrepid explorer setting sail for a mythical land, it might be a bit before you get to shoot the breeze with your buddies again. That’s not to say you cut them off totally, just accept that this is a gig like no other and you’ll be more tired than you’ve ever been before. Also, the sheer sense of purpose and satisfaction that hands-on parenting evokes will make you wonder why you might want to do anything else - right before you fall asleep sitting on the toilet.
2. Have a schedule & stick to it.
I just can’t emphasise this enough, it is super craic to just roll around on the floor with little one all damn day, but thinking ahead is essential. It might be all fun now, but later tonight or later in life, a kid who’s not been trained about set times for eating, playing, and sleeping, is going to absolutely wreck your buzz! Also if there’s a schedule, there’s also a tiny chance that you’ll get to do something for yourself. Go to the bathroom alone, maybe, or actually finish one of those cups of tea? (Unlikely)
3. Try not to notice the funny looks/attitudes
That first time that you peek around the door of the baby yoga class, or arrive excited to the mum-and-baby playgroup only to find everyone trying not to stare, can be daunting. Instead, I suggest you revel in your rarity, exploit it even. Worry not, you’ll soon be accepted by the group, even with your extra appendages. Mums’ groups are a great source of experience and advice, and the kudos they give for simply parenting your own child is disproportionate (but most enjoyable).
3B. Prepare standard answers for the disbelievers.
The usual query tends to be something along the lines of: “Babysitting today, are we?” or “Mammy’s day off, is it?”, and surprisingly often from women too, so I’ve felt is best to have prepared responses. A simple "No, I’m parenting” is good and puts them in their place but you might as well have some fun with it, so I like to alternate that with “Nah, just found this one round by the bins” or “What? They told me I was buying a puppy!”
4. Revel in your man-musk.
There will come those days when the lure of sleep outweighs the necessity of hygiene, and that’s ok, you can shower in the morning (or not). As for shaving, don’t even try to get that done. Instead embrace the feral, hairy, musky man-parent. At least until the time your kid gets old enough to tell you “Dada, you’re stinky!” and your spouse confesses that your hipster beard reminds her of less-popular Tolkien characters.
5. Relinquish control (sometimes)
As men, this is not something we’re conditioned to do. We like to take on a job and see it through. But handing over little one to Nana for a couple of hours will be beneficial to everyone’s sanity. As much as you’ll feel like you’ve lost a limb, there is still, shockingly, a whole world out there.
6. Enjoy, and remember.
The bad news is, this job isn't forever. Sooner than you think, your darling progeny is going to need you less and less. So make the most of these times, even the ones where you end up with vomit in your hair, because you’ll miss them when they’re over. Make records of even the simplest things, take photos, write down funny stories and document this precious, fleeting time.
It’s scary how much and how quickly you’ll forget (and obviously you’ll need blackmail material for when they’re teens)
Good luck, Dad. You’re going to be awesome.