5 Fears Of A Soon-To-Be Stay-At-Home-Dad

Firstly, let’s take a second to congratulate me on managing to fit five hyphens into the title of this blog post. With just 11 words in the title, that is a pretty incredible ratio of just under one-hyphen-to-every-two-words. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic in mind…

In just six weeks time, everything will change massively in The DADventurer household. You see, the missus’ maternity leave ends at the start of May, meaning she’ll be going back to work full-time as I take over the main parental duties during the day. This is something we’ve had planned for the past year since finding out that Hay was with child, so it’s not like it is unexpected. But, the last few months seem to have flown by and this milestone has sort of creeped up on both of us. This leaves me massively excited for the future, but also pretty apprehensive (aka pant-shittingly scared) about what may happen and whether I’ll cope.

If you’re not aware of our situation, I’ve been with Baby L and the missus basically every day since she was born (Baby L being born, not the missus!). The company I used to work for went bust nearly two years ago, so since then I’ve been doing some freelance work which has given me the chance to work from home and spend it with my growing family. I had the choice of going back to full-time employment about a year ago, but we decided that the best thing for our clan would be for Hay to return to work after maternity leave and for me to be the stay-at-home-parent. With rising childcare costs which my wage would be spent on, the likelihood of me commuting 2.5 hours per day and possibility of being away from home some nights, coupled with the missus’ good wage and fact she works 15 minutes up the road, it made sense to make this decision.

As we approach deadline day, we both still believe it is the right decision for our family, but that doesn’t make it easy, particularly for my departing wife. I don’t want to go over-the-top and call them ‘fears’, but there are a few things on my mind as I prepare to be a stay-at-home-dad which I thought I’d share – part as therapy, part for advice and part to have a whinge. Here goes:

  • We’re not doing things the ‘right’ way: My answer to this is usually, ‘I don’t give a shit, we’re doing what is right for our family’, however it doesn’t stop me worrying sometimes about it. Most of society dictates that the mum should be at home whilst the dad is the breadwinner – are we wrong to diverge from that? What if Baby L misses out (mentally, physically, emotionally etc) because she doesn’t have her mum there? Is there something we’ve not considered or overlooked which explains why dads usually go back to work? Who are we to depart from the status quo? I know that these are all stupid questions and that everything will work out great, but society has a way of making you worry if you don’t conform. Stupid society.
dad and baby arcade car racing computer game

Baby L can’t *quite* touch the pedals yet, but it looks like she’s keen to drive.

  • Will we cope financially: Money is always a worry, particularly when you’re living on one wage. When Hay returns to work, we’ll be bringing in about 40% of what we once did – this is pretty scary, but assuming that we’ve done our maths correctly, we should still be able to pay all bills, save a bit and spend a bit. I’ll be doing what I can to bring in a bit of money here and there through my freelance work, but that’s pennies rather than pounds in the grand scheme of things. It’s also scary to see that our savings have depleted, although this was always going to be the case when we’ve lived off savings and basic maternity pay for seven months. I’m 99% sure we’ll be fine financially, but not having the safety net of two wages and savings is a bit worrying if anything unexpected was to happen. Still, I guess we’ve got a cute baby we could always sell.

 

  • Will I be accepted: This is probably one of my biggest ‘fears’ – as a dad in a mum dominated world, will I forever be stuck on the sidelines looking in because I don’t have a vagina? I’ve been to one or two baby classes on my own, but usually I’ve had the missus there to protect me from the gaggle of mums. Obviously though, when the missus goes back to work, it will just be me and Baby L – quite a scary proposition when entering a room with a dozen woman all looking at you. The last thing I want though is to become a recluse as that has no benefit whatsoever for Baby L, so I need to make sure that we go places and socialise for her. No-one has ever said anything negative or snide about me being at a baby class, in fact I’ve been praised for being there, so I guess it is something in my own head. The good thing is that the more I go and face the situation, the more I’ll feel comfortable. Plus, being the only bloke in a room full of yummy mummies could have its advantages!

 

  • Will the missus adjust: I’ve been at home with the sprog for the past seven and a bit months, so the change to stay-at-home-dad isn’t particularly big. By contrast, the missus will be going through a massive change as she goes from seven days at home to five days at work. I’m confident that she’ll be fine, but I’m well aware that it is more our situation that has dictated she goes back to work rather than her wanting to. We need money and she is in the best position to bring it in. It will be very tough for her to leave Baby L each day and I really hope that she doesn’t resent me – only time will tell I guess. It will take a strong mind to get back into work and hit the ground running, plus there is a big pressure on her as the main breadwinner – still, I have complete faith in her and I’m sure she’ll make the adjustment. At least until I can find a way to get loads of money so we can be at home together as a family again. Suggestions welcome.
Dad and baby at messy play class

Mmmm straw! Baby L tucking into the inedible at a recent messy play class.

  • Will I find the right balance: The missus has made it perfectly clear that the only expectation on me as a stay-at-home-dad is to look after the little one as best as I can. She is happy for other stuff that needs doing – cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping etc – to be shared as we both have full-time jobs, even if mine isn’t paid. Although this is great in theory, I feel that I should be doing more whilst the missus is at work, so juggling my time will be important. In addition to the general house stuff, I want to continue earning a bit of money through my freelance work to feel like I’m contributing and I want to continue writing regularly for my blog. You’re probably reading this and saying ‘ha, you’re underestimating how much time a kid takes up’, which is probably totally true. However, I at least want to attempt to do everything I’m doing now – if I don’t have time, then something will just have to give – who needs a clean house, ironed clothes or a stained-free toilet anyway!

Despite these ‘fears’, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be with my daughter each day and I’m massively looking forward to helping her develop and watch her grow. It’s going to be difficult, but I know loads of blokes who’d kill for the chance to be with their kid everyday, so I’m going to do my utmost to get the best out of it for all of us.

Did you have any fears when your partner went back to work? How did you decide who went back to work and who stayed at home with the sprog(s)? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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  • john adams

    Yes, all very valid fears. Will you “be accepted”? It’s harder for a stay at home dad. When you walk into a room you need to keep your head high and say “HI I’m Dave, I’m a stay at home dad, it’s my wife that works full time.” It took me two years to learn that trick but people are generally warmer towards you when it’s all out in the open. Yes, some mums will ignore you. Look around at what’s happening in the room though…mums ignore other mums just as much as they will ignore you!

    Will you cope financially? Now THAT’s a question. It’s been damn tough on us, this much I know.

    Excuse my parahparsing, but will you mess you’re kid up simply because L’s being looked after by their dad? No, no and no again. Think of all the f****d up family units you know of and look at your own. Isn’t yours quiet and peaceful and focused on the child in comparisson to these other families?

    As for doing things the right way, who cares? Families have always been a damn sight more diverse than has generally been recognised; step families, adopted families, foster families, extended families, military families, nuclear families, and relative newcomers on the block same sex families. Being a stay at home dad in a nuclear family is quite tame in comaprison, yes?

    Welcome to the club.

    • Cheers John, some great points you make – nice to know you’ve gone through similar and still are around to tell the tale! Yeah very true – I’ve read and heard about other mums feeling isolated, so it’s not just a dad thing. I guess the thing that matters the most is to do what is right for the family and hold your head high 🙂

  • Thank you for being open and transparent Dave. You have captured the feelings of men that are considering doing what you are doing.
    I’m currently on the same path and extremely close to realizing it.
    Sharing this now.

    • Thanks for the kind words Rodney – good luck with your adventure too! 🙂

  • Donna Wishart

    What an exciting time for your family. It’s always refreshing to read about someone doing things ‘against convention’ and I love it, I’m all for doing things differently. Looking forward to reading about how you get on x

    • Thanks Donna – a massive change but one that I think will be good all around for us – Oh, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of stories! 🙂

  • Man vs Pink

    This was me 3yrs ago. All I would say is:
    1) While there are lots of wrong ways, a caring dad staying home with their baby is not one of them. Anyway, you’re the Dadventurer dude!
    2) Fair question, but you’ve done your sums which is more than most.
    3) Don’t call the mums Yummy Mummies and you’ll be fine 😉
    4) Be supportive. People will keep asking her “It must be so hard to leave your baby at home.”, which it is.
    5) Good luck. Ha! indeed 😉

    • Cheers for the advice, good to hear it from someone who has been there and done that. Haha, I think I’ll have to introduce myself as The DADventurer – makes me more interesting. Difficult to not call them yummy mummies when Berko is full of them! 🙂

  • imule

    Becoming a SAHD definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you’ve had as good a preparation as you possible could have done, sharing the childcare from Baby L’s birth. My thoughts are:
    1. A lot of people have default expectations – every trip to the doctor involves a comment about taking a day off work or such like. Some people question it a bit but everyone’s generally been supportive and regardless of comments you’re doing the best for your family.
    2. We’ve found finances to be tighter than expected but I suspect it comes down to how comprehensively you’ve done the sums. It means sacrifices in the short term but it’s for the greater good.
    3. I’ve come across dads at most of the classes and groups I take Tilly to. How easy you find the rest may come down to the extent that you’ve been introduced to parenting networks via your wife. It seems harder work without this.
    4&5. It’s worthwhile setting out expectations before you start so no resentment has chance to fester. We’re happily both doing what we want to do but if there’s any chance of friction identify and head it off now. Mutual appreciation that you’ve both got equally demanding full-time jobs is a good start.
    Good luck with it – I certainly have no regrets.

    • Cheers Dan, great to hear your thoughts from someone currently going through this change. Everything you say makes complete sense – strange how you’ve come across dads just down the road but I’ve never seen another bloke at any of the classes I go to! I’ll have to come out to Chesham to hang out with you guys! 🙂

      • onemanandhissprog

        It may be that dads crop up more with toddler groups then baby groups. There were at least three other dads at last week’s toddler gym class although I suspect none were SAHDs. Also we’re in Amersham – and you’d be very welcome.

  • Mama MKDPR

    How crappy that you have to worry about being accepted as a SAHD! I say, why the heck not?! Crow bar yourself into a mummy/baby friendship circle- it’ll save you from monotony and the related crazies! It’s not fun being a trail blazer (I’m a lesbian mum living in a county where there are still very few visible same-sex parent families) but hold your head up high and talk to people. They’ll soon realize your kid’s poop smells the same!

    #brillblogposts

    • Great advice! It’s not that I’m too worried about it, but there is a slight thing in the back of my mind, particularly as where we live is very mummy dominated. Well done on your trail blazing exploits 🙂

  • El and Baby A

    Ironed clothes? Who you trying to fool? You will be a great SAHD, you can tell from the points you raised 🙂

    • Haha very true – that job was never going to get done anyway! Thanks El 🙂

  • Sterling

    I’m also new to being a SAHD, about 2 months now, and it definitely helps that my wife doesn’t expect me to do much other than care for the baby. Some days go well and I’m actually able to get some things done, other days I don’t. You’ve had good preparation, I only had a couple of months before my wife went back to work, and those first couple of weeks I was watching the clock and waiting for her to get home, but things have gotten easier. If you can find other dads in similar situations that has really helped prevent me from becoming a recluse. It is a big adjustment but it sounds like you will do great.

    • Thanks Sterling – yeah that’s how I see it being – a bit difficult to start with but I’ll soon find my feet and grow into the role. As you say, I’ve had quite a few months ‘practice’ so it shouldn’t be too much different. Sounds like you’re doing well too, keep up the good work! 🙂

  • You have REALLY thought about this. You’ll be a great SAHD 🙂 Your missues is lucky to have you! I expect your daughter to be an expert on Daytona 😉 #BrilliantBlogPost

    • Haha, bless, thanks! I’m going to show the missus that comment now 🙂

  • afra willmore

    In my experience mums love the lone dad at class/playschool and will probably be very welcoming. Well done you for veering from the “norm”

    • Thanks 🙂 Let’s hope so! I’ve not had any bad experiences with mums at groups, I probably just need to make more of an effort anyway. Maybe some slightly more revealing clothes will help…

  • Sarah Howe @runjumpscrap)

    Aww you will be grand I’m sure. It’s pretty scary any change to be honest. I reckon 1-2 months you will be in a routine and hopefully never look back. I nice chap at a baby class is always a bonus too xxx

    • Thanks Sarah! Let’s hope so, I’m 99% sure I’ll be fine – if not, I’ll get my mum to visit more often! 🙂

  • Your fears are very much understood. As a stay-at-home mom of a year and half now, I’ve had the same trepedations that you’ve listed here (especially on the financial aspect of things). I will say that, in the states at least, there’s a massive surge of stay-at-home dads in a typical household. More and more families are opting for mothers to go back to work rather than the fathers and that’s completely fine. For me, it matters not who stays home with the little. If she’s lucky enough to have both parents take care of her in some aspect, she’ll be fine. Good luck with everything. I’m certain you’ll be fantastic. And you’re right: ironed clothes, a clean bathroom could wait. Baby first always!

    • Thanks Maria, great to hear that the fears are also felt by mums too. Spot on – it’s all about having a loving family with someone being there for the kid. Who that is, it doesn’t really matter. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Good for you, it sounds like the most sensible decision to me. Its funny what you say about society saying it should be mum that stays home because I actually feel society says noone should stay home these days! Personally I think mum or dad can do the job as well as each other and your little one is lucky to have a parent who can stay home (and wants to, am not saying all parents can or should want to). I can imagine it will be an adjustment for your wife to leave the baby but hopefully you will all get on great and finds a way for it all to work for you 🙂 xx #pocolo

    • Your right Caroline, it feels like the Government at the moment wants everyone to be back in work regardless of whether they have a baby to look after or not! I agree – either parent is capable of doing the job, it just depends on the family situation. Thanks, I’m sure we’ll be fine but there’ll be a bit of adjustment… 🙂

  • My Brother was a Stay-at-Home-Dad and loved every minute of it. You will be amazing and yes super impressed with your use of hyphens

    • Thanks Darla! Fingers crossed! If not, I always have my hyphens!

  • Tahnee

    Great post! It is nice to find stay at home daddy bloggers! Do what is best for YOUR family and stick to it!

    • Thanks Tahnee – great advice, that’s all that matters at the end of the day!

  • Jenny Eaves

    Lovely post! I always find it nice to see dad’s a t baby and toddler groups, however they do seem to be a magnet for little boys, my son will always go and bug a dad to play with him at toddler’s rather than anyone else!! You’ll be a great SAHD. 🙂

    • Thanks Jenny! Ah, I’d not thought of that – I’ve mostly been to baby classes so not had much attention from the kids yet – sounds like that might change! 🙂

  • Newcastle Family Life

    I think it is brilliant you are staying at home with baby l . I wish my other half would stay at home as i earned more then him and we can not afford childcare if we both work but he is having none of it so i have had to leave my job to become a stay at home mum. I feel the same about going from two full time wages to just one , scary.

    • Thanks Lindsay, let’s hope it works out for us. Ah, that’s a shame, sorry to hear that your other half didn’t entertain the idea. Hope all is going well 🙂

  • Merlinda Little

    I am sure you are going to be okay. I remember being alone with my son for the very first time! I thought I will die and yet we lived and we are still doing okay. We just try to survive one day at a time! #pocolo

    • Thanks Merlinda, fingers crossed! I’m sure that first day will be scary, but as you say, we’ll get through it all!

  • ConfessionsOfAnIrishMammy

    I think more & more dads are at home now. Definitely judging by the mam/dad ratio doing the school runs anyway!

    You’ll be grand… by which I mean you’ll be eyeing up that beer sitting in the fridge by midday…and you’ll go to the loo about 70 times a day just to be alone.. and even then they’ll follow you… but you’ll be grand!

    • Confessionsofanirishmammy

      Also I ran a toddler group when mine were.. Well toddlers. . There was always a few dads and they were just like ‘one of the mammies’

    • Haha, that sounds about right – pretty sure it’ll be a few years before Baby L will be able to pick the bathroom lock!

  • There are several dad which attend one of the classes we go to each week and they are all doing an great job, and I have never seen any of them get ignored so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. It is a worry financially to go from two wages to one, I went back to work part time after a years mat leave and couldn’t stand it so now I stay at home.
    I just think it’s the best job in the world, Boo and I went out for a walk on Monday and I couldn’t help thinking that I never had a Monday as brilliant as this when I was working so it’s little things things like that make me sure I made the right decision.
    I think it’s great and you will have a great time!

    • That’s reassuring to hear, thanks! Great to hear it is working out well for you guys – hope that we can follow suit 🙂

  • Tim

    Good luck, Dave. Our challenge has always been logistical more than financial. My wife took a year off after each of our three kids (coincidentally always aligning with the summers of major football tournaments – hmm) and now works 3.5 days across Tuesday to Friday. So during the week we have a combination of pick-ups, child minders, after-school clubs and me chipping in when I can to help with pick-ups and drop-offs in at least 2 different locations. It requires ruthless diary co-ordination – one day the inevitable will happen and neither of us will turn up for a pick-up mistakenly thinking the other is doing it.

    I don’t envy what you’re about to do – and yet I do. It’s brave financially and personally. I hope you are soon accepted by the yummy mummies. On the rare occasions I took one of the kids to baby activities and was the only man in the room, I did find it rather daunting, but once I’d made an effort to smile a lot and get to know people – and convince them that I was *probably* not a serial killer – the ice did thaw.

    • Thanks Tim – ha, so not a football fan it seems. Sounds also like you need a PA with all of that logistical stuff. Cheers – I’m sure I’ll be fine, and we’ll be fine, but it is a pretty massive change for us 🙂

  • Lisa

    You’ll be fab! Go into those classes with a big smile face and a big smiley baby and you’ll be fine. Even when I was on maternity leave I found all those things a bit daunting but once you become a regular you’re just one of the gang! My mum now takes my little one to a class each week and she was worried at first and now there’s a little bunch of nanny’s there with their grandchildren just like she is!
    Unfortunately both the other half and I work full time for financial reasons. It sucks massively but Zach spends 3 days with my mum which is just the same as spending it with us. The other two is at nursery which has been amazing for his development. I still wish I could stay home with him, I hate going to work and find it so hard even now, almost two years on!! Good luck to your wife, it won’t be easy but knowing the little one is at home with you and that she can call and speak to her will be a huge benefit! I love having little chats with Zach on the days he’s at my mum’s 🙂 #SundayStars

    • Thanks Lisa – that’s nice about your mum, must be cool that she gets to spend time with Zach, although as you say, must be hard on you when you want to be at home with him. Thanks – yeah hopefully it will be a bit easier for Hay knowing that I’m at home with Baby L.

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    With the great attitude in this post, you will be awesome. Everyone has to learn, it is those that accept life will not be perfect are the ones who cope best.

  • Sounds like your going to be great! I don’t find a lot of the mum classes particularly friendly towards other mums either! x

    • Yeah I’ve heard that quite a bit before Heather – maybe it’s not about having a penis or not, maybe it’s just that some people aren’t welcoming!

  • Victoria Welton

    My sister and her husband have this type of parenting style – and they do a great job. I have no doubt that you will too 🙂 Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo

  • stoppingattwo

    Loved reading this. I love your attitude in that you are doing what is best for your family – you and Hay are the only two people who have a right to question your decision. Lots of luck and enjoy the time you will be getting with your little girl – she is very lucky to be getting to spend so much time with her daddy!

    • Thanks, that’s very sweet 🙂 Let’s hope she’ll enjoy being with me, I can be pretty annoying at times haha!

  • When I went back to work, my daughter went to nursery and I was petrified that I was leaving her with a bunch of strangers who didn’t know the things she liked and didn’t like.
    It’s always going to be hard to go back to work after having a baby but I think it’ll be easier for your wife to know she’s left her daughter with her daddy who knows exactly how she likes things – and you can send updates and photos throughout the day too.
    This is a great post. Very honest!
    Thanks for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop!

    • Thanks, much appreciated – yeah, that’s what we kind of thought – if we could afford it financially, we’d want one of us at home with her – it just so happens to be that, at this point in time, Hay is the one who earns the most. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Mum’s Days

    Gosh, good luck with it all – I totally understand each one of your fears but I suspect you’ll be reet! Thanks for linking up xx #TheList

  • You’ll do just great and I’m sure, as hard as it will be for her, your wife will adjust. Knowing that baby is at home with daddy will make things easier I’m sure. There are a few dads who come to our local playgroup and I’m pleased to say, after a few sessions,they are all perfectly capable of gossiping with the rest of us 😀 Thanks for linking up with #SundayStars xxx

    • Haha, glad to hear that the dads at your groups join in with the gossiping! Yeah, I agree – hopefully will make it easier on Hay that the little one is with me and not a stranger. Thanks!

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  • disqus_h6mfcJ73fX

    My partner and I are adopting and I’ll be taking a year off when the kids first arrive. I’m really excited about it but have all the same concerns – particularly the financial ones. Whether or not it’s the ‘right’ thing to do in terms of tradition, I think is a societal issue and one that will be broken down by more dads becoming the primary carers. Hope it all goes well.

  • Lot of work ahead. 🙂 But I’m sure you’ll be grand.

    We decided I’d better stay at home with our lad when my wife got a great job offer in Leeds and we did similar calculations to you guys. So, from the time our boy was 14 months, I was his full-time carer and looked after the house too. Then we moved from Manchester to a new city, and it was me and the boy on our collective tod from then on. It was pretty hard – especially for someone as shy and disorganised as myself – but eminently doable.

    Fitting in was always tricky as long as the conversation at baby groups was all about nipples being ground to paste and vaginas being shredded – I didn’t have much to contribute there. But once it becomes about feeding, sleeping, standard parenting stuff, you’re just one of the gang. Asking mums if they wanted to come out on play dates always felt a bit weird, at first, but once you have a group of mum-friends, it got normal too. You may have them already.

    I’d say your instinct to do the bulk of the housework is spot on. It’s amazing how much women are just expected to keep doing, even once they’re in full-time work. So, I’d tackle as much of it as you can, while still prioritising kid time. If you can get your child interested in helping you, all the better. And it will do them no harm to see a male figure keeping the house running.

    Trying to earn a crust at the same time is tough, though. Before our boy went to nursery, there were plenty of short nights of sleep stuffed between doing freelance stuff after he’d gone to sleep and then getting up with him in the morning. Every waking moment of your life feels monetised; not fun. And J is a great sleeper that still naps, so without that, it would’ve been completely nuts. But it helps relieve pressure on your bacon-gathering partner, so it’s always worth doing.

    Hope you manage to keep blogging too: it’s really well-written and funny. My attempts always drop off the bottom of the list of jobs.

    But you’ll make a success of it, I’m sure. If I’ve managed up to now, anyone can. Although, now we’ve a second baby, I might revise my outlook when her Mam goes back to work in July, just as nursery ends.

    Pob lwc, as they say in the Principality.

    • Ooops! Just noticed how old this post is.

      So, please ignore any advisory notes in my post, and just enjoy my whinging,

      Thanks.

  • Papa Pete

    Brilliant post Dave. I’d love to spend more time at home with the family and was a bit gutted when I had to go back to work, and still am when I’m sat at my desk and I get a text from Wifey and the little one with a picture of the fun they’re having somewhere! I’m with you 100% on screwing society. You’re dead right that you should do what’s right for your family, and there’s no need to worry about fitting in, I think the first comment I made to the Wifey when I first went to a Baby Sensory class was something along the lines of “does my hair look OK? I need to look good for all the MILFs” – most of them are friendly enough (I got into the class so much I didn’t even notice someone wapping out a boob to do a spot of feeding). In today’s world I think anything goes, and who gives a stuff what other people think!

    I reckon finances scare everyone no matter how much you plan. I’ve got a trusty spreadsheet which keeps us firmly in check – until Wifey has a spree on Amazon, but she’s soon reigned back in!

    I say hats off to you. Enjoying your blog massively and hoping mine can someday get to a similar standard! Keep it up and enjoy your adventures 🙂

    Papa Pete