How does a stay at home dad work? Is it pretty smooth?

Monica - posted on 08/12/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My husband has been hinting he wants to be a stay at home dad. I doubt that he will be happy keeping the house clean and being "mr mom" I work M-F 8-430 and have always been the breadwinner. He does make decent money and has been at his job 12 years. Our kids are 10,9 & 2. Financially could afford it in a year or so. I just dont think he'd be happy. I would love to not have to take the kids to daycare and let them sleep in. Has anyone been in a similiar situation?

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Amy - posted on 08/16/2010

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Monica - I know what you mean about the patience. But there is hope. One of my good friends when her husband was laid off and forced to be a stay at home dad for a little bit he completely changed how he interacts with the kids. He has a lot more patience for them and it's so neat watching him with the kids.

Leighann - posted on 08/15/2010

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I am active duty military and my husband did construction that required him to be away from the family for more than half of the year. We talked about it and decided to have him be a stay at home and go back to school full time. We have one daughter in daycare and a 2 mnth old at home, whom he watches everyday. He loves it!! Once our youngest daughter is 6 months old, we will put her in daycare with her sister and he will continue to go to school. For us, the biggest challenge is trying to make him feel like he is contributing to the family. If you can manage to find a way to make him feel like that, than you can do it!

Monica - posted on 08/14/2010

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Thanks for all the advice. I think he really just hates his job. and with only a HS diploma, there aren't a ton of options. I was thinking if we had another one, it would be the perfect time for him to start staying home. (although I have to sell him on that!!) We just bought a rental property earlier this year and he wants to do that. We were thinking of getting our next one in feb. I know it will be a huge adjustment to go down to one income, but going into rentals and doing that weekends or evenings will pay off in the long run, I think. He already cooks dinner every night since he gets off an hour before I do. He usually does the dishes and we clean the house together.

I do the laundry and pay the bills, so it evens out. He just needs to work on his patience with the kids. the girls are old enough, but the 2 year old (boy) is quite the handful!! Sometimes it takes the two of us to control him!!

Lenka - posted on 08/14/2010

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Probably be better if my partner was commenting, but some of the challenges I've noticed are:
- Its harder to find play dates. Playgroups are usually (though not universally) welcoming, but a lot of mums will not invite a dad on a "play date" even if the kids really get along well
- my partner at least doesn't multi-task well (was going to write "men don't" but I don't think that's fair). So if he's being "stay at home dad" that means something different from being a mum/cleaner/chef/etc. We have taken a few months to find a "groove - partner is super on top of childcare and cleaning, but I spend a lot of weekend time catching up on house cleaning and washing etc.
- Being single income when you're used to two is a challenge. You need to have a clear plan about how you're going to manage finances, so that he doesn't feel unable to access money for personal purchases, and that you don't feel the resentment of him spending the money that you make. Once again, it can take a bit of time to figure out what works for you.

It sounds like part of what your partner might be feeling is just dissatisfaction with life as it is, and maybe with work in particular. My partner was in this position too - he'd been working a job that was unsatisfying and deskilling so he could support me through daughters first year and finishing my studies. So its been great for him to have time to think about what next, career wise, whilst enjoying seeing his daughter growing up. But we don't imagine this will be a forever situation - we have the luxury of being able to earn the kind of money that means we don't HAVE to both work, so we're makign the most of that freedom.

I hope that you guys can reach a decision that works for you.

Penelope - posted on 08/14/2010

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My husband has been home with our children for the past 3 years and yes they are some rough times but overall he does a great job.

Rochelle - posted on 08/13/2010

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My fiance is a stay at home dad - we have a 1 year old girl. He is awesome at it - he cleans house and takes care of her so well. But if your youngest is 2 and you have to wait a year or two before you can afford it your youngest will be 3 or 4 and in 3yo kindergarten or 4yo kindergarten, and your other kids will be in school all day. Doesn't seem like you really need a SAHD so much once all 3 are in school.. but its your call. Maybe he's thinking being a SAHD is a clear pass to watching tv and sitting around, I suggest leaving him alone with the kids while you go away for a whole weekend a few times and see how he likes it. Plus -- maybe its not so much he wants to be a SAHD, maybe he's unhappy at his job and wants a change and figures maybe that would be the easiest. Leave him with the kids a few FULL weekends and see how he likes it -- he might love it and renew his commitment to it, or ... he might find the reality is a lot tougher than the "easy" job he thought it would be.

Jenna - posted on 08/13/2010

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my finacee is a great stay at home dad.
he lost his job due to inury back in december so i started working january. i went back a little early and didnt know how e was gonna be with her but its working out great. i love being able to work and get out and not have to find a babysitter or daycare to put her in cuz theres just too many nutcases out there these days.
so i think if its really what he wants to do and your ok with it, then when your ready why not?
it could end up saving you alot of money as well

Alison - posted on 08/13/2010

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I'd imagine it depends A LOT on the dad. I'm sure some dad's do a great job at it, but a lot wouldn't do it well and would get tired of it quick. Can he work part-time? And be sure to clarify what he thinks he would be doing all day.

Personally, I believe in somewhat traditional values. Even if you are making more money than him, it could be very hard on his ego to not be bringing in any revenue and this could have a large impact on his general happiness and on your marriage dynamic, sex life, etc.

It's a big decision, especially to give up a job of 12 years. On the other hand, maybe he is really looking for an opportunity to make a career change, in which case I think you should be 100% behind him.

All the best!

Amy - posted on 08/13/2010

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My husband quit his job to be a stay at home dad but for us it was because he hadn't graduated yet and working full time not even making enough to cover the cost of a decent child care.

I think if he wants to continue with his current career choice that it's not the best idea to take time off like that after 12 years, especially in this economy. If he's considering a career change then It's an awesome idea!

The only thing I can say is that with our 2 year old he doesn't get that much done unless our son is not being too crazy/hyper (as most 2 year olds are). Some days he doesn't get anything done, others he'll get a lot.

The hardest part for my husband is to have that human contact with an adult instead of kids all day. He makes sure he goes out and does things more often to help fill that social gap. There aren't as many groups for stay at home dad's but if you look around your community you might find some family activities he can go to help with that part.

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