How to Work Toward Stay-At-Home-Dad Status during Pregnancy

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

By no means is the stay-at-home dad a norm in our society. As of 2012 there were roughly 189,000 stay-at-home dads in the United States, a number that has grown slowly in the past decade. If you decide to stay at home, remember that the rules outlined for the stay-at-home mom are no different from the rules for you.

Following are some special considerations for the stay-at-home dad:

  • Fight for your right to “daddy.” If you’ve never experienced sexism in your lifetime, get ready for an onslaught. As a stay-at-home dad, at every turn you’ll be confronted by people who are surprised at your choice, concerned that you don’t know what you’re doing, and judgmental of your decision to “throw away” your career.

    Strangers, especially women, will fawn over you and even say that it’s so nice of you to “baby-sit” for mom. Be confident in your decision and let the world know that you’re excited about your new career and that men are capable of more than changing a diaper. Taking care of a baby is a lot of hard work, but it’s not rocket science — you can do it!

  • Make friends with other parents. Be it moms at the park or daddy play groups, reach out to other stay-at-home parents in your neighborhood even before the baby comes. You’ll need friends to lean on for advice and last-minute baby-sitting, and the more you help out your new-parent friends and neighbors, the more options for help you’ll have when you need it.

  • Turn off the TV. It’s tempting to keep ESPN on in the background all day, but too much TV isn’t good for babies and children. Babies learn language by being talked to, so narrate your day instead of letting your favorite show provide the soundtrack. Limit your TV time to two hours or less a day while baby is awake. Nap time is all yours.

  • Utilize your unique skills. Babies are mesmerized by everything, so use your stay-at-home time as an opportunity to play guitar, further your baking skills, or even start an out-of-the-home business. Having a daytime activity provides you a much-needed creative outlet, and down the road, your kid will learn to appreciate (and mimic) your skills.