No matter how much humans have evolved, the concept of a stay-at-home dad seems to elude people. It’s not that they don’t have a sense of what a SAHD is, they just go off assumption rather than fact. So here are a few key things you should know if you ever caught yourself wondering “what does a SAHD actually do” or found yourself at a loss for words when you meet a stay-at-home dad.
1.) Stay-at-Home Dads Are Not Embarrassed
Sure, some of us may have become stay-at-home dads due to unfortunate situations (i.e. loss of job) but the fact of the matter is, there is no better job than hanging out with your kid all day. It may not pay much money, but it pays a hell of a lot back in spirit, happiness and love. The priority is our kids. Sure I may be dressed in khaki shorts, a “Clash” T-shirt that has seen better days and a pair of flip-flops. But dammit, we have more important things to worry about than your egotistically charged “fashion-hate.” I’m gonna do my SAHD job at 100 percent and I’m gonna be as comfy as possibly while I do it. You think pro-athletes wear skin tight outfits cause they like it? No. It’s cause it makes getting the job done easier.
2.) Being a Stay-At-Home Parent Isn’t Just Hanging Out With Your Kid
Yeah, so “hanging out” is how I put it up in the above reason. But to truly understand it you have to BE a parent or guardian. There are often times when I find myself on the couch with my little tyke cuddled up to me watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur like she was born to do it. On the flip side of that, it’s the usual parenting stuff that would be passed on to the daycare staff if you were working full time. Food schedules, changing diapers, changing cloths, trying to keep the house clean, potty training and more. All the complicated parent stuff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
3.) Not All Stay-at-Home Dads Are Without Jobs
A good number of us actually have jobs that allow us to stay home, so don’t assume. Even at-homes who blog on a regular basis are more than likely building it into a “brand” and some are even making good money at it.
4.) It’s Not Easy, But It’s Not Any Harder or Easier Than Being a Parent Who Works
Being a working parent versus being a stay-at-home parent is not a comparison one should be making. On one side, a SAHP is up early, cooking, teaching the little one development skills, taking care of housekeeping responsibilities and more. On the other side a working Parent gets up early, gets the kids ready, drops them at daycare, works a full shift, then comes home and does the parenting thing till bedtime. Each of them has their ups and downs throughout the day, facing challenges here and there.
5.) The “Dad Bod”/”Mom Bod” is Universal
It doesn’t matter what type of parenting lifestyle you lead. If you can keep your body in the shape that is demanded of you by society, great. If not, that’s great too. Stay-at-home dads are true to ourselves more than most people cause when it really comes down to it, the most important thing is taking care of our kids. If we can get the time to take care of our responsibilities AND hit the gym, then that’s what we’ll do. Otherwise, bring on the belly fat. As long as my family is happy and as healthy as possible, it’s a perfect life.
6.) We’re Not Missing Out On “The Good Life”
Stay-at-home dads still get to go on dates with our spouses, and we still get to set a little time aside each week for our hobbies. We still get to hang out with friends, travel, create art etc. Being a parent doesn’t destroy your pre-parenting life. Although raising your kid takes priority, you can still enjoy the things you love while having your little one with you. You also get to see the best thing of all: watching your child grow up.
A version of this first appeared on Dad on the Mic.