They pack lunches, change diapers and kiss boo-boos, and sometimes sneak in trips to the ice cream shop before mom gets home. Stay-at-home dads are redefining gender roles.
But, what really happens if you completely flip stereotypes on their heads and instead of the bacon-earning, suit-wearing husband you have the bacon-cooking, child rearing stay-at-home dad?
Although 87% of boardrooms in South Africa are still dominated by men; stats released by Employ Men show that there are about 60 000 stay-at-home dads in South Africa, and this number is still growing.
Although this is a relatively new concept in South Africa, it’s becoming an increasingly common option. Why?
The economic state in our country has prompted the shift from dads being the breadwinners to either both parents needing to work, or the person who earns the most money going to work.
Some couples feel that two full-time careers leave little time for parenting. Also, of course, balancing the cost of childcare versus earning two salaries is a contributing factor. Many parents prefer their kids looked after by one of them, rather than a day-care or caregiver, and therefore opt for dad, who earns the least money, to stay at home. It just makes economic sense. Simple as that.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking: Stay-at-home dads have it made. Escaping the rat race of the 9 to 5 workweek; sounds like the life, right? Here’s the thing though, no matter how loosey-goosey and boundary smashing the world may seem, age-old stereotypes die hard. Becoming “Mr Mom” can be a difficult adjustment and is not a decision to be taken lightly.
It takes a very evolved man to be completely okay with being at home and for it not to affect his manhood. The challenge for modern men is to figure out how they can adapt their instinct to provide and protect in ways that fit modern expectations. It’s important to remember that the role of a dad is to provide value to his family, that value doesn’t have to be monetary. Kids don’t care whether mom or dad stays at home, they just want to be loved. What could possibly be more rewarding than providing exactly that for your children?
So, if you decide to take the plunge, we have a few top tips:
Embrace the experience. Expect to deal with stereotypes, many of which will be negative but remember, you not only get to observe the major milestones, you get to enjoy the wondrous moments that happen every day!
Communicate with your partner on responsibilities. Setting clear expectations upfront will reduce conflict later.
Establish a routine as quick as possible. It’s important for the kids to know what to expect and for you to confidently plan your day.
Find time for yourself. Enjoy a good book while the kids nap and take advantage of the gym’s free babysitting service. If you take care of your needs, you’ll be better equipped to take care of theirs.
Ask for help. Stay-at-home parents can’t do it all by themselves; whether it’s with carpooling or just a break from the kids, don’t be afraid to ask.
Connect with other adults. Socialise and share your joys and frustrations with other parents.
Consider the future. This career path may not be forever so, continue networking within your field, stay sharp and on top of it.
Many dads are proudly wearing the aprons. If it works for your family, why not?
Source: time.com, www.babble.com, www.parents.com, www.thespruce.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.thesouthafrican.com, www.iol.co.za, www.parent24.com, www.enca.com, www.blazonmagazine.co.za, www.healthywoman.org, www.huggies.co.za, www.forbes.com, www.thestreet.com, www.readersdigest.ca, www.menshealth.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.