Here is a “spotlight” on Rich F., an involved father, dedicated NYC Dads Group member, and at- home-dad to two boys, Sean & Dylan. Below is our Q&A dialogue between the two of us.
1. How did you come into the role of being an at home dad?
My wife has a very demanding career and she can not be at home with the kids. I was not interested in hiring a full time nanny. and I knew that the first three years of someones life are the most important developmentally. I wanted to be at home for them.
2. What is the best part of being an at home dad?
The freedom to do almost anything that I want with my sons. I also find it to be a great excuse to meet a lot of other people which I never used to be able to do very well.
3. What is the most challenging part of being a stay at home dad?
If both kids are sick it can be a nightmare. I also need to hold myself back a little bit when other children hit one of my kids because I still have the teacher (my previous experience is in education) “bark” when I yell at someone else’s kid… and then their kid starts to cry… and then I feel bad. So I guess I just need to not take myself so seriously anymore.
4. Everyone has tips. What kind of tips or best practices can you share about being an at home dad?
My best tip is to not listen to anyones tip more than your own gut. No one knows your child better than you!
5. How has being a part of a dads group helped support you in your role?
It gives me motivation to do things that I wouldn’t normally be brave enough to do on my own. It helps me to push my own comfort envelope.
6. When you tell your friends about your situation of being an at home dad, how do they normally react?
Really? How is that going for you? or else they think that I am unemployed.
7. You are a father of two dynamic kids. How is the role of a dad more challenging when juggling two kids?
Rationally, one would think that two kids are twice as much work as one kid, but that’s not true. It is ten times as hard. At least when they are both under three years old. I think next year will be ok, but this year was very hard at times.
For Example: My older son Sean is potty training. Dylan, my younger son, likes to play in the toilet, eat toilet paper, and chew on Sean’s mess in the potty. Sean can’t really talk that well yet. Sean can’t dress himself that well yet. Can you imagine the scene every morning as Sean tries to poop in the potty and Dylan is obsessed with the need to be involved? It is beyond words. But somehow we manage!