You cheered the day your partner offered to be the stay-at-home spouse so you can pursue your career. It made sense: you earn more money and hold a higher position at your company, and as much as you love your baby or toddler, you couldn’t imagine spending all your time with them day in, day out. But when dad stays home, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. While there are definite benefits, there will also be some bumps along the way, so make sure you look at the pros and cons of stay-at-home dads.
Pros — the good stuff!
1. You get to keep your career
For years, society has asked women to choose: maintain a high-flying career and remain childless, or have babies and become a housewife. With the educational and work opportunities afforded to women today, we’re doing better than ever. And with men being more open to having a spouse who is the breadwinner, women now can have both a career and children.
2. You get time away
As Miranda says in the Sex & The City II movie, “I love my child, but being a mother is not enough.” Meeting your maternal and intellectual sides may be the combo you need to feel like a successful woman as well, and having a stay-at-home spouse can help.
3. You save money
Childcare in Australia costs up to $125 a day. When dad stays home, that’s money kept in your bank account. In addition, your child gets to spend time doing fun things with dad instead of a stranger you don’t know very well.
3 “cons” for Mum when Dad is the primary caregiver
1. You miss out on milestones
When dad stays home, he’s naturally going to witness more of your children’s milestones than you. He may also get to know the baby, and their likes and dislikes, a little better. He’ll also know more about your kids’ friends and their parents, play groups, teachers and school work.
To stay in the loop, have your husband fill you in on any important happenings from the day, and ask for a list of your child’s teachers, playmates and coaches. Also, look at the school or activity calendar to see which events you’ll be able to attend with your child, and plan ahead so you can be there.
2. You feel guilty
It’s hardwired into many women’s brains that their primary roles should be taking care of the kids. Even if you know they’re being well-cared for by your stay-at-home spouse and that you’re chipping in heftily by putting food on the table, guilt can still creep in.
The flip side to this coin is that because your spouse did most of the caretaking and possibly the housework during the day, you may feel the need to pitch in with dinner or laundry after you’re home from work. Make sure to draw up a clear list of which duties each of you will perform so it feels balanced.
3. Your spouse will need space
While you were negotiating sales with grownups and speaking your mind at board meetings, your spouse may have been watching a Wiggles marathon or speaking gibberish to your baby. When you get home from work, your stay-at-home spouse may need to retreat to the bedroom solo or meet a buddy for drinks. Have a discussion about each other’s needs and the ways in which you can both unwind after your equally-busy days. Also remember to schedule in alone time as a couple and maintain intimacy, even if it’s for 30 minutes before bed.
Going back into the workforce
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