Whether you're a stay-at-home mum or dad, the decision to move from work to home can be a journey fraught with difficulties. But there are some issues specific to stay-at-home dads that we've outlined here.
Despite being part of a growing trend, you ought to be aware that, as a man, you'll be in the minority group as far as stay-at-home parenting is concerned. Be prepared to be the only man in the playground, baby massage class or coffee morning. This, in turn, may make forming a network of friendly parents (a lifeline for any stay-at-home parent or Dad) that bit more difficult. It's a fact that you'll probably have to work twice as hard as a woman to get accepted into groups – but it's well worth making the effort. Other parents will be the support network that makes or breaks you as a parent.
To make it easy on yourself, it's a good thing to remember that everyone's in the same boat as far as the parenting game is concerned. If you're attending a baby group everyone there is probably new to parenting and desperate to find a friend to share the experience with. Knowing that you're all in the same boat may make you feel less self-conscious about going up to a group of mums and introducing yourself.
Man To Man
Although other mums are a key ally, it's equally important for you to be able to share your parenting concerns and issues with other men. There are loads of organisations targeted at the stay-at-home dad. Key sites to check out include www.homedad.org.uk and www.fathersdirect.com. Ask around to see if there are father groups in your area and, if there aren't, be brave and start one up!
You may be quite unconcerned with how others view your decision to stay at home, but it's certainly worth quizzing yourself over how you'll feel when you give up work to be a stay-at-home parent. If you currently earn the same or more as your partner, how will you feel to become reliant on their income? Make sure you and your partner have discussed - and agreed - how decisions relating to finance and childcare will be made in the future.
The main thing is to enjoy the time you have with your children. It goes so quickly! Why not take a leaf out of stay-at-home Dad Aaron's book and start an online blog of your children's lives?