As the new school year gets underway I look back at two years as a Stay at Home Dad; the highs, lows, tears and laughter.
On Saturday I featured along four other stay-at-home dads in the Times article ‘The rise of the alpha dad‘. This charts the increase of stay-at-home dads and in particular those fathers, like me, who actively decided to put their career to one side to look after their children full-time. You may be visiting this blog for the first time having read the Times article or may have heard about the article but not have a subscription to read it. A timely opportunity then to revisit the decisions that led me to become a stay-at-home dad last year.
There’s been a longer than usual gap between posts on the blog and it’s due to me being sole parent in charge of Tilly for the past week or so while my wife shepherded a school trip around Greece. Although I’m now well-practiced in the role of primary carer for our daughter, I was nevertheless taken aback at just how much harder it felt to look after Tilly 24/7 with no breaks or anyone else to call upon.
It’s now two months since I hung up my office suits and gave up my London commutes for a new life as a stay-at-home dad in the countryside. Month two has seen the end of the school holidays, my wife return to work and me picking up the reins proper as full-time primary carer to our toddler. It’s been very much a period of finding my feet and working out how Tilly’s days are going to be filled. There’s a lot to think about – activities, meal planning, supporting her development and finally getting things done around the house. The new routine marks a really substantial change for all of us. Dropping an income is a major decision and one that we’re counting on improving the family’s quality of life. Here’s how month two has been going:
If online forums are anything to go by, many stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) have taken the role as their hand has been forced, commonly either through redundancy or child care fees outweigh lower paid jobs. There is however another group of SAHDs, which by all accounts is growing in popularity and the one in which I can proudly claim membership. We are the voluntary SAHDs, those who have actively chosen to leave, suspend or fundamentally change our working lives in favour becoming the primary carer for our families. Although still something of a curiosity in many people’s eyes, there can be a number of reasons to choose to become a SAHD. Here are my top five: