I’ve been a stay at home dad for a little over a year now. It has been, without a doubt, the best decision I could have possibly made. Watching my dear son grow up, develop and become the incredible boy that he is, has been the greatest honour I will ever achieve in my lifetime.
And it’s really only just begun!
Being a stay at home parent is also the most challenging things I’ve ever done.
I know that I am incredibly lucky; many parents wish they could stay at home to raise their children, but predominantly for financial reasons, they can’t.
Being a stay at home dad is wonderful. Each and every day is different but is always full of fun, laughter and love. It doesn’t come without its frustrations though, perhaps none more so than those ridiculous things people say to you when you tell them you’re a stay at home parent. For all those stay at home parents reading this, you can feel my pain with this, I’m sure. And for all those who aren’t, add these to your “do not say out loud” list!
Things NOT to say to a Stay at Home Parent
- It must be nice not having a job
I do have a job. Parenting. All day, every day. I don’t have a boss ( other than Ted ) but raising a child is a job. I work hard at it. Every day. 7 days a week. 24 hours a day. I work hard. Just without the salary. or the sick days.
2. You must have so much free time
Whoever says this clearly has never had a child. Or seen a child, even from a distance. They don’t stop moving, talking, playing, fiddling, demanding, eating, poking, asking! Free time? That has to be a joke! Sometimes, they’ll add, “Do you get to put your feet up when he naps?” My usual response is, “Yes, yes I do. And I have a magical, fairy that cleans the house, prepares dinner for the family, washes all our clothes, hangs them out to dry, does the food shop and puts the Peppa Pig playset away for the 16th time!”
No. Stay at home parents have ZERO free time. In fact, I’m certain that I had more free time when I worked. At least I got a coffee and a lunch break!
3. I wish I could lounge around all day!
Don’t we all!
4. Your partner must have done very well for themselves if you don’t need the extra income.
Yeah, or we couldn’t afford the childcare. And decided to prioritise time with our children over money, scrimping and saving to make this possible because we think it’s what’s best for our family.
5. What do you do all day?
Hmmmmmm. Let me think. I parent. I do my utmost to keep Ted safe, clean-ish, fed, watered and happy. I play shop-keepers, I pretend to drink a cup of tea prepared by Ted, I try vehemently to drink a real cup of tea (instead, end up playing hide and seek with it!), I paint pictures and prevent the carpet from being painted at the same time, I kiss poorly’s to make them better, I make things out of play dough, I answer the question, “WHY” a billion times. I dress up, I wipe noses, I wipe bums.
I am a cook, a teacher, a cleaner, a scientist, a gardener, a chauffeur, a nurse and a parent.
I do a hell of a lot, each day. And then I repeat it all the next day. And the day after that.
6. How do you survive without money?
I don’t. I am always a little shocked when people ask about our personal financial situation. I would never dream of asking anyone how much money they earn or how they organise their finances in their home.
But, for the record, I’m in a fairly unique position where both Jen and I can just about scrape by from running The Dad Network. We made the decision very early on that time with Ted was far more important than any amount of money. Luxury holidays, nice cars, new clothes, none of that matters to us. Watching Ted grow provides us with a far greater happiness than any material gain ever could. That’s our personal choice.
7. Since you don’t work could you look after my kids too? Walk my dog? Pick up my parcel?
No! I’ll be busy taking care of my own children, which takes up all my time!
8. Don’t you miss adult conversation?
A tricky one, really. Many stay at home parents will say yes. And that’s reasonable and understandable; being an at home parent can be isolating and you can go stir crazy with just the monotone noise of a baby’s cry all day long.
But I went out to baby groups and to the park, found other parents and chatted to them. I also speak to Ted, a lot. And he has a lot to offer. He often has me in stitches and often asks me questions that require effort to answer; so we find out together whether it be via Google or trial and error.
I seek out adult conversation when I need it, but I’m also more than satisfied talking to Ted about the wonders of the world around him.
(And sometimes a conversation with a child is far less irritating than one with an adult!)
9. I bet you watch Jeremy Kyle all day!
For those who don’t know, Jeremy Kyle is a daytime TV show over here in the UK. So the person asking me this is implying that I spend my day watching TV. They couldn’t be further from the truth, as you’ve gathered if you’ve read this far through the article.
And besides, if I was going to watch any daytime TV, it’d be Come Dine With Me!
10. Will you ever go back to a real job?
I have a real job. The very important job of raising my children.
11. Aren’t you bored?
My life as a stay at home parent is anything but boring. I don’t have time to be bored!