Monday, August 25, 2008

Pros and Cons of having a SAHD

For anyone who's considering having dad stay home w/ the kids while mom works full time, it's worked out great for us for over 7 years. Here's some thoughts on the pros and cons for us:

* my sons have a very close relationship with dh, and in my experience it doesn't take anything away from their relationship with me, they are still quite the little "mama's boys"
* ok, I'll admit it, dh is stronger than me, which made him better at managing twin toddlers who were prone to frequent meltdowns. I had a hard enough time trying to carry one of them in meltdown mode without having to keep picking them back up because I couldn't keep them up
* security benefit - I'd like to think that anyone with ill-intent is less likely to target a dad alone with 3 kids
* my job is pretty flexible in terms of being able to take time off for things like dr. appts, teacher conferences, IEP meetings, evaluations, and school events. I also have a laptop and blackberry so I can work remotely (double-edged sword, lol) and can finish up work in the evening after everyone's in bed if need be. the flip side is I sometimes have to work late nights or weekends depending on what's going on at work, but it's well worth it IMO
* peace of mind for me during the day, knowing our kids are either at school or home with dad
* maternity leave was a "family affair" with all 5 of us at home together. which was cool for me but by the end of 5 weeks, dh was asking "isn't it time for you to go back to work?" I was messing up his routine, lol. I went back to work after 6 weeks.
* my sons have a great role model of fatherhood
* I don't ever have to worry about dh not appreciating how hard it is to take care of 3 kids and keep up with housework
* which brings me to the next awesome "pro" - dh does most of the housework during the day so when I get home I get to focus on the boys and not the dishes / laundry (yes, I know he rocks! and no, you can't have him!) ;)

* well, the obvious, I don't get to spend all day with my babies :(
* there aren't any dads playgroups in our area, and our kids have only once been invited to join a moms playgroup (one mom invited dh, the other moms apparently looked at him like he was from outer space, so it was a one-time thing). instead of playgroups, dh takes the boys to the park a lot, where most of the moms he's encountered are cool about having a SAHD in their midst, and dh has been perfectly comfortable chatting it up with them
* I have to admit that when I was pg at work, I was a tad jealous of my male co-workers who were "expecting," they got all the excitement of a new baby on the way without having to overcome the effects of nausea or pg-induced exhaustion at work. On the flip side, when I was pg with #3, I realized I was probably getting more rest at work than I would have at home with my two 3-yr-olds. ;)
* not all public restrooms have a changing table in the men's restroom - what's up with that??
* both parents will sometimes need a thick skin. There's quite a double standard (IMO) in that people will give working moms a hard time about going to work, but no one thinks twice about working dads going to work. Aren't they parents too? But no one acts like they are abandoning their kids by going to work (nevermind the fact that the kids are still at home with a parent!). And as to the dads, some people insist on treating them like they're clueless even though they can (and should) be perfectly capable and competent parents.

So there you have it... there's a pretty good book about SAHD's called "Stay-at-home Dads: The essential guide to creating the new family" by Libby Gill, I read it 7 yrs ago when we first started down this road. Another book, "Raising Multiple Birth Children" isn't about SAHD's per se, but it's about raising multiples, written by William and Sheila Laut, and if I remember correctly, the dad is a SAHD (or was at the time).

Overall, we have found that most people are supportive but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. Each family has to make their decisions based on what works for them, and this just happens to work out really well for us. Oh, and for the record, he's not "Mr. Mom." ;)

SAHD Resources:
At Home Dad: Men who change diapers change the world
Dad Stays Home - forum for SAHD's to share experiences
Rebel Dad


autismfamily on August 25, 2008 at 2:24 AM said...

Nice list. Good insights into what Dads do and how your family keeps it all organized.

Amazing_Grace on August 25, 2008 at 7:36 AM said...

It is so true that it takes a real man to be a SAHD!

Your hubby would of been welcome to our Mommy and Me group! :)

Thank you for sharing this! :)

GammaDebbie said...

You already know my opinion of him - he's the greatest!! And, like you, I like knowing that when the boys aren't in school they're with him.

Goldie on August 27, 2008 at 8:33 AM said...

Very cool husband. How does he watch three kids AND do housework??? I watch two, make messes all day, and then clean it when DH comes home to watch the kids.
Which is sort of a problem. I am so exhausted trying to keep up that I don't take as much time to PLAY with my boys. DH comes home and after dinner they just PLAY. My boys seem to be conditioned now that when Dad is home HE is their caretaker, like I am only the fill-in till he arrives. It makes me so sad, but this is the only way I get anything done! But now my baby goes to Daddy when he is sad. he used to want mommy. *sigh*


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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