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7 Things That Stay-At-Home Dads Want You To Know

7 Things That Stay-At-Home Dads Want You To Know

The number of stay-at-home dads has increased vastly over the last few decades, reaching the highest rate at a little over 2 million in 2010. And while many may want to attribute this trend to the coinciding recession, the truth is that more dads actually want to stay at home with the kids: a 2013 study of almost 1,000 fathers by Boston College’s Center for Work and Family reported that 77% of dads wanted more time to spend with their kids. And while only 16% of home based caregivers are stay-at-home dads (according to Huffington Post’s analysis of U.S. Census data), this number is sure to increase as more women decide to take on increasingly demanding corporate jobs or, as I predicted in a recent article on SharpHeels, more parents take turns between working and child-rearing.

As they take on the responsibility of being the main caregiver and lead parent, what do stay-at-home dads want us to know?

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We’re not just here because we couldn’t find a job.

Some of us may have ended up in this role because we weren’t able to find a new job after a layoff or because we had an injury or disability that put us out of the workforce, but many of us are here because we really want to get to know our children.

We realized that the work-life policies put in place weren’t meant for men; unlike women who spent the last generation fighting for family friendly work practices, men’s careers have not caught up. If we want to be more to our kids than someone who shows up (late) to dinner and at a few after school sports games, we have to take on the responsibility of becoming primary caregiver – and give ourselves a chance to actually be there for them from the start.

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We wish stay-at-home moms would make us feel more welcome.

We may not be the same as stay-at-home moms, but we still want to feel like we’re part of a community and valued for what we do. Include us in play groups and meet ups. Don’t assume that because I’m a dad that I won’t be interested in volunteering in my child’s classroom or chitchatting about parenting trips. And most of all, don’t make me feel like I have to be occupied by my phone, newspaper, or other distractions when I take my kids to the park – invite me into your circles so that we feel included in the community.

We love our kids more than anything.

We love our kids so much, that’s why we’re here doing this job day in and day out. We may have grown up with dads that didn’t know how to warm a bottle or change a diaper, but that’s not who we want to be. We want to be a part of our kids lives, and we want to be there for all the special moments like their first steps, their first words, and their first day of school. We love having a connection with them and we love having them see us as more than someone that earns money for the family.

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We love that our significant others are giving us this opportunity.

Without a significant other that supports us and is willing to support our family financially, we wouldn’t have our chance to be with our children all day. To previous generations, being a father that stayed at home wasn’t common. In fact, many of us grew up barely knowing our dads in any sort of meaningful way until we were well into our teenage years. By allowing us to take the lead at home, you’re give us the opportunity to know our children in a more intimate way than our fathers were able to experience.

We may do things differently than a stay-at-home mom would.

We may not be overly concerned about enrolling the kids in tons of activities, and we may not spend our days planning the perfectly balanced lunch menu for the week. We may not join a daily playgroup, and our daily activities may be bug collecting and mud painting rather than piano lessons and tennis. But we will take care of kids and make sure they know they are loved. And while days may be a little crazy (or spontaneous, as we prefer to call it), we will make sure they explore, learn, laugh and play. We’ll be there to wipe away tears and bandage skinned knees.  We may do it differently than you would, but that’s why we’re stay-at-home dads.

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Sometimes, we’re lonely.

It’s no secret that stay-at-home parents experience feeling of isolation and loneliness. When your days are similar, melt one into the other, and are void of adult companionship, it can be tough. And stay-at-home dads are more likely to experience this loneliness than stay-at-home moms since many of the playgroups and other activities are run by mothers and can be exclusionary for dads.

Featured photo credit: Dad and Daughter/ Peter Werkman via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 27, 2020

7 Ways to Make Life Changing Decisions

7 Ways to Make Life Changing Decisions

Most people don’t know the profound effects of making life decisions. Often times, we go through life oblivious to what thoughts we are thinking and what actions we are taking. Every single decision we make in our days shapes our current reality. It shapes who we are as a person because we habitually follow through with the decisions we make without even realizing it.

If you’re unhappy with the results in your life right now, making the effort to changing your decisions starting today will be the key to creating the person you want to be and the life you want to have in the future.

Let’s talk about the 7 ways you can go about making life changing decisions.

1. Realize the Power of Decision Making

Before you start making a decision, you have to understand what a decision does.

Any decision that you make causes a chain of events to happen. When you decide to pick up a cigarette to smoke it, that decision might result in you picking up another one later on to get that same high feeling. After a day, you may have gone through a pack without knowing it. But if you decide not to smoke that first cigarette and make a decision every five minutes to focus your attention somewhere else when you get that craving, after doing this for a week, your cravings will eventually subside and you will become smoke-free.

But it comes down to making that very first decision of deciding whether or not to pick up that cigarette.

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2. Go with Your Gut

Often times, we take too much time to make a decision because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen. As a result of this, we go through things like careful planning, deep analysis, and pros and cons before deciding. This is a very time consuming process.

Instead, learn to trust your gut instinct. For the most part, your first instinct is usually the one that is correct or the one that you truly wanted to go with.

Even if you end up making a mistake, going with your gut still makes you a more confident decision maker compared to someone who takes all day to decide.

3. Carry Your Decision Out

When you make a decision, act on it. Commit to making a real decision.

What’s a real decision? It’s when you decide on something, and that decision is carried out through action. It’s pointless to make a decision and have it played out in your head, but not doing anything about it. That’s the same as not making a decision at all.

If you want to make real changes in life, you have to make it a habit to apply action with your decision until it’s completed. By going through this so many times, you will feel more confident with accomplishing the next decision that you have in mind.

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4. Tell Others About Your Decisions

There’s something about telling other people what we’re going to do that makes us follow through.

For example, for the longest time, I’ve been trying to become an early riser. Whenever I tried to use my own willpower, waking up early without falling back asleep felt impossible. So what I did was I went to a forum and made the decision to tell people that I would wake up at 6 AM and stay up. Within two days, I was able to accomplish doing this because I felt a moral obligation to follow through with my words even though I failed the first time.

Did people care? Probably not, but just the fact that there might be someone else out there seeing if you’re telling the truth will give you enough motivation to following through with your decision.

5. Learn from Your Past Decisions

Even after I failed to follow through my decision the first time when I told people I was going to wake up early and stay up, I didn’t give up. I basically asked myself, “What can I do this time to make it work tomorrow?”

The truth is, you are going to mess up at times when it comes to making decisions. Instead of beating yourself up over it, learn something from it.

Ask yourself, what was good about the decision I made? What was bad about it? What can I learn from it so I can make a better decision next time?

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Remember, don’t put so much emphasis focusing on short term effects; instead focus on the long term effects.

6. Maintain a Flexible Approach

I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but making a decision doesn’t mean that you can’t be open to other options.

For example, let’s say you made the decision to lose ten pounds by next month through cardio. If something comes up, you don’t have to just do cardio. You can be open to losing weight through different methods of dieting as long as it helps you reach your goal in the end.

Don’t be stubborn to seek out only one way of making a decision. Embrace any new knowledge that brings you closer to accomplishing your initial decision.

7. Have Fun Making Decisions

Finally, enjoy the process. I know decision-making might not be the most fun thing world to do, but when you do it often, it becomes a game of opportunity.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself on the way, you’ll feel and become a lot more confident when you’re with yourself and around others, and making decisions will just become a lot easier after you do it so often that you won’t even think about it.

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Anything you decide to do from this point on can have a profound effect later on. Opportunities are always waiting for you. Examine the decisions that you currently have in the day.

Are there any that can be changed to improve your life in some way? Are there any decisions that you can make today that can create a better tomorrow?

Final Thoughts

Some decisions in life are harder to make, but with these 7 pieces of advice, you can trust yourself more even when you’re making some of the most important decisions.

Making a decision is the only way to move forward. So remember, any decision is better than none at all.

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Featured photo credit: Justin Luebke via unsplash.com

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