I’ve been stay at home dad for just over a year now and could not be any happier with my decision to leave teaching behind to spend more time with Teddy. I’ve been immersed in the world of fatherhood for the last 4 years and in that time I’ve spoken to my fair share of stay at home dads, so I had a pretty decent idea of what to expect.
Obviously however, nothing could prepare me for the emotional aspect of spending pretty much every waking moment with your son; I’ve felt a new bond develop, a new understanding into his personality and we’ve both learnt new things about each other which has only made my heart swell even more with love for him.
Despite having a good idea of what I was facing as I embarked on this journey, there have been some curve balls thrown my way. These curve balls have demanded a steep learning curve, primarily because children don’t tend to wait around whilst you analyse situations in order to learn from them.
It’s these rapid, in the moment learnings that I want to share with you in this article. Here we go:
Toddlers socks don’t stay on
It seems as though at every occasion I’m leaving the house with Ted, I go to put his shoes on only to find at least 1 sock missing. Where do they go? I’m usually late or precisely on time, and simply haven’t the time for this kind of hiccup. So instead, I’ve just stashed a few extra socks in the shoe cupboard.
Being a SAHD raises a few eyebrows
I’ve been called a man of leisure on numerous occasions now.
Are they serious?
Schedules are there for a reason
I say that I have learnt this, but really, I’m learning. And not quick enough. Routine and schedules are really important for me & Ted. And if we deviate off track, it’s hard to get back on.
Toddlers are stubborn
We’ve had a number of stand offs already. Recently, it was boiling hot and Ted was adamant that he wanted to wear his wellies. A sensible choice? No. But would he listen? Also no. I reckon we went back and forth for a good 8 minutes before 1 of us finally gave in. Guess who?
You don’t get a lunch break
Not that teachers get much of a lunch break, but when you are looking after a toddler, there is no time for that cup of tea or a biscuit or a wee! I haven’t even attempted a number 2 yet!
Positive Mental Attitude goes a long way as a stay at home parent. Even when the 4 walls of the house are crumbling, if you can find the tiniest joy or smile from somewhere, it might just be enough for you to get through the day.
Toddlers don’t bullshit
When you’re dealing with adults at work, you get a lot of bullshit. No one is ever really honest with you. But toddlers say it how it is. If they don’t like the food you’ve spent the last hour preparing, they’ll tell you. If they don’t want to read the book you went to the library to get, they’ll let you know in no uncertain terms and if they don’t want to nap when its nap time, they don’t beat around the bush. It’s brutal, but at least I know where I stand with him.
Enjoy the small things
Ted has recently developed a fascination with ants. It’s his favourite thing to do; pop onto the front porch and try and find the bugs. It costs nothing, passes the time and he enjoys it to no end. These simple things are best thing about being a SAHD.
I have to get out the house at some point
For any reason. Even if there is no reason, staying inside all day is too much for me. Even if it’s a simple case of going round the block on the bike a few times.
Perspective is needed
No-one said this was going to be easy. But I underestimated it. It’s bloody hard work and not for the faint hearted. But I have to keep perspective on the whole situation. Sure there are times when the thought of hanging out in the staff room with a cup of tea would be nice, but really, I now have the best job in the world and I need to hang on to the perspective. Even if it’s 3am and the tears are streaming or if the bowl of Weetabix is covering the carpet or the crayon on the walls won’t wash off. Even then, I’m the lucky one.
There you have it. 10 learnings that I’ve experienced. :)
What about you? Are there any lessons you’ve taken on board from being home with the kids?