Decades ago it was believed that a womanís place was in the home taking care of the children while the man worked and provided for the family. This is no longer the case and in many ways society is rewriting its own rules. There are more working women and working mothers than ever and even the concept of the stay-at-home-mom now includes that of the stay-at-home-dad. If youíre a father that spends his days in the home taking care of the household and the kids, youíre not alone and with the right steps your daily routine doesnít have to be an exhaustive one.
Whether youíre a veteran stay-at-home-dad or if this is your first attempt there are helpful tips you can follow to make your schedule more manageable and less stressful. First thingís first: know your priorities. Being a stay-at-home-dad is not about sitting the kids in front of the television for a couple hours out of the day so you can start working on things around the house. Managing a household requires a great knack for multitasking and organization. Evaluate your lifestyle, the way your household runs, the schedules and needs of the people in your family and then plan a weekly routine accordingly. Be mindful of your children and their needs especially. If you have younger children that are not in school, this means the majority of your day will be spent interacting with them, playing with them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, etc. Stay-at-home-dads with school age children will have the benefit of having extra hours each day to take care of their duties. Work with your family to plan your daily or weekly routine and take everyoneís needs - including your own - into account when making this schedule. Once it has been established and each member of the family knows what is expected of them, youíll find things running much more smoothly.
Donít feel like you need to take care of everything right away. Burning through chores and running errands non stop each day is a surefire way to burn yourself out before youíve even started. Start small and identify the items that need to be taken care of often (dishes, cleaning, cooking) and then take care of the other tasks that are fine on the backburner (laundry, home improvement projects). Once you get a good routine going, youíll be able to assess just how much you can get accomplished each day and which projects will take a bit longer.
For stay-at-home-dads with young children that arenít in school, be sure to enforce a daily routine that is consistent. Make sure they understand when it is time for snacks, playing, and naps. The sooner they get used to this routine, the easier it will be for you. Plan their snacks ahead of time and choose food items/meals that donít require a lot of time and prep - donít worry there are plenty of quick snack ideas you can find online.
Because being a stay-at-home-dad can be overwhelming, donít be afraid to seek out friendships with other stay-at-home-dads. Building such a network is a great way to break up the day and allow you to communicate with others that are in the same lifestyle as you. Once a week try to organize a day out with other stay-at-home-dads and their kids. You can all go to the park, local community center, playground or other mini field trips that will let you spend time with the fellas and allow your kids to interact with their peers.
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