Giving birth is a woman’s job and therefore it follows that the responsibility of looking after children is also a woman’s(Mother’s) job. This is especially true in developing nations. Having been born and brought up in India, the concept of stay at home fathers was alien to me. I encountered this when I came to the United Kingdom. Now after living here for almost a decade and a half, I have a completely new out look towards it. But there are a few things which have to be understood and dealt with to arrive at a decision whether one should be a stay at home Dad or not!
Is it about money?
More often than not a Father looks after his children because the Mother has got a higher salary, a better job, a higher potential to earn! Though most of the middle class always look at the mathematics or spreadsheet of income vs expenses, this shouldn’t be a reason for the Dad to stay at home and for the Mom to work!
Call me naive but life is not about mathematical calculations !
What Does a Child Need?
A child bonds with the Mother for 9 months before birth. There is a connection (via umbilical cord) between the child and the Mother for 9 months which is only severed at birth. Therefore , when the child is born, he/she always finds peace and contentment with the Mother. This bond still continues after birth through breastfeeding and watching his/her mother take care of his/her needs. A child will always look out for his/her Mother. This is the Law of the Universe. This cannot be altered.
Would this decision be acceptable to the child?
Due to the above point about a child’s needs, do you feel that if the child (a baby) could speak, a decision where a Mother goes to work and a Father looks after the child, would that be acceptable to the child? I think not ! A child is unable to express his/her emotions but a Mother is like a security for the child . This is again the Law of Universe. The child always automatically looks for the Mother not the Father.
Mother Vs Father
So what would be the difference between a Father’s upbringing of the child and a Mother’s? Some might argue, it is the same. Surely there is a difference in the approach of a man and a woman. There is no denying that women are born with a maternal instinct. I would go far as saying that only a Mother has the patience and the perseverance to bring up her child with the right amount of love , attention and discipline . Only a Mother can understand her child the best .
Fathers are very important
I am not saying that only the Mother is important to a child, Fathers are equally important. What a Father can give to a child a Mother cannot. For example, a Father will not mollycoddle his child. A Father will provide fun/adventures to a child that a Mother cannot. A Father provides tough love to the child.
What are your priorities?
The decision to be a stay at home dad depends on what your priorities are ? Do you feel that you would like to spend more and more time with your child/children? Do you feel that you do not want to miss out on any of their growth milestones? Do you feel that being in a full time job would not let you spend enough time with your child as you would like to?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, then you should follow your heart and become a stay at home Dad ! But if you are a stay at home Dad just to tally the Balance Sheet every month(match the income to the expenses), it is not correct!
As a Father is this acceptable to you?
If you have come to a decision to be a Stay at home dad, it should be acceptable to you as a Man and a Dad. If you are not at peace with this decision, then don’t do it. You will be miserable as well as your child! Remember if you work full time, something has to be sacrificed – it is not possible to have everything.
Wash, clean and Cook
Before you decide to become a stay at home dad, you should discuss with your partner, who will cook and clean. Washing,cooking, cleaning is a joint responsibility of both the parents. It is not fair to put the burden on one parent.
I am of the opinion, that whether you are a stay at home mom or a stay at home Dad, you should be financially independent. In this day and age it is very much possible to start something of your own from home. You do not need to go and work for someone just to earn money !
There are a lot of options available. In fact, my post on Stay at Home Mom Business Ideas is applicable to Dads too !
If you still need further guidance, check my post on How To Start a Home Based Business for Free.
Just like stay at home moms, stay home dads also need time out. Make sure you take regular breaks. Don’t get trapped in the four walls of the house! Do something you like every day . Spend time with your men friends- discuss football or whatever you men talk about! This will bring normalcy in your life just like it does to the Mothers!
Explain to your children
Explain to your children, that ‘Daddy wants to stay at home with you and Mummy wants to go to work’ or ‘Either Mummy or Daddy need to go to work, so I have decided to stay at home and Mummy has decided to go to work’. Keep it simple! Simplicity always works!
In my opinion a mother can look after the child, the best. A Father can spend time with the child by doing flexible work or working from home. Are you a stay at home Father? What was the reason for this decision? Have you got any tips that you can share with the other stay at home Fathers? Please let me know via comment box below.