Reasons vary for choosing which parent (if any) remains home. My wife and I wanted at least one parent at home — something we felt as being in the best interest of our child. So away she went, and I became the auspicious stay at home dad.
For us, it was a matter of whose line of work was more conducive to remaining at home. That and the small fact my wife’s salary quadrupled mine. If she stayed home we’d have to move into a tent.
Those first few days and weeks were daunting. To say I wasn’t a little apprehensive (read: requiring a diaper of my own) would be false. But the good far outweighed the bad, the learning curve was steep, and the rewards damn near miraculous.
A Few Quick Pointers For Those First Days:
- Relax, You Can’t do Everything at Once. The house won’t stay clean, the laundry may not get folded. Strange combinations of unidentifiable matter will gather in your bathroom corners. It happens and it’s okay.
- You Need To Grab Sleep Where You Can. Chances are your sleep is already choppy. The ol’ fuel tanks you remember from your younger, wilder years may not be running at full yet. So I’ll use the slogan the nurse told my wife before we got our daughter home: sleep when your kid sleeps. If your child is working on 2 naps, then use one of them to grab some shut-eye yourself.
** one must note the irony here, writing this while my daughter naps.
- Some Things You Just Can’t Offer. No matter how awesome you are, you can’t provide everything your child needs. Most of it, sure. But not things like necessary socializing with other children. And if you’re a Dad you can’t provide certain elements of comfort or bonding that your child’s Mom may offer. I notice this especially with my own daughter, and how quickly I take “chopped liver status” when Mom comes home.
- Everything Is a Little More Complicated. Impromptu movie nights, grabbing a quick bite to eat, or even just heading out for a walk. It all takes a bit more planning. If you can plan ahead a bit, you’ll be golden.
- Multitasking Rules. Seriously. Never head downstairs without a bag of garbage or armful of laundry or recycling or whatever. If you’ve got food on the stove, heating up, then tidy the kitchen while you wait for it. That sort of thing. There’s nothing more exhausting than having to scramble at the end of the day to get things in order.
Have bother great ideas? Leave some comments.
Part Two: The Vomit Incident – Preparing for Disaster (coming soon)
Harry Tournemille is a stay-at-home Dad who attributes his rapidly graying hair to his daughter’s birth.