How to Be a Successful Stay-at-Home Dad

stay at home dad

In our rapidly changing world, especially post-COVID-19, the role of the Stay-at-Home Dad (SATHD) has become more common and socially acceptable. Corporate culture has historically placed huge amounts of pressure on fathers to miss large parts of their children’s lives for the benefit of their careers, but today’s family dynamics are evolving past this. And it’s about time. 

The traditional roles of parenting are shifting, and the role of the Stay-at-Home Dad should be recognised, supported and celebrated, because it’s no easy task. Being a SATHD comes with its own unique set of rewards and challenges. So, what does it take to be a successful Stay-at-Home Dad? Let’s take a deep dive.  

What Does It Mean to Be a Stay-at-Home Dad?

A Stay-at-Home Dad is the primary caregiver for the kids, being home to take care of the day-to-day responsibilities of childcare and household chores while the mother returns to work. Being a Stay-at-Home Dad is not a comment on one’s masculinity; on the contrary, it’s about embracing fatherhood and being present in your children’s lives – which can only be an incredible thing.

Sponsored By: Center Parcs
Win A Family Break At Center Parcs
Your Baby Club and Center Parcs are giving you a chance to win a family break in a Woodland Lodge at a UK Center Parcs village of your choice.

Benefits and Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Dad

There are both benefits and challenges to being a SATHD. First and foremost, you get to be present and develop strong bonds with your children. Being active in their upbringing means you’ll be there to witness all those amazingly wonderful milestones first hand. But as with any parenting role, there are many challenges, too. Swapping the commute for the nappy changes can be a bit of a shock to the system.

Although society readily embraces the idea of mothers as primary caregivers for their children, fathers who choose to assume this role often experience feelings of judgment and isolation. It can also be difficult for the mother to hand over the lion’s share of the childcare to a male partner. There can be a lot of guilt to navigate—but home life vs. workplace guilt is real for most parents, regardless of their situation.

It’s true, too, that there can be a lot of stigma around the idea of a SATHD, with those making this choice feeling like the odd ones out. Men are stereotypically considered less nurturing and more suited to the role of breadwinner than mothers, but of course, this is not always the case. 

Joining baby groups might feel more daunting (although you’ll be surprised how many dads show up for things like swimming club!) and preschool playdates may feel as if they’re totally off the menu. It’s about being brave to push yourself into these social groups, whether it’s the class WhatsApp of the local Rhyme Time. To be honest, as a woman and a mother, I’ve found building a social network pretty daunting myself, sometimes you just have to go for it.

Measuring Success as Stay-at-Home Dad

How do you measure success as a Stay-at-Home Dad? It’s different from person to person, but think about all the intrinsic rewards an SATHD might bring – and there are many. These include building a happy and healthy home, forging strong bonds with your kids and cultivating a loving and supportive family environment that promotes mental well-being for you and your family.

Sponsored By: Big Green Smile
WIN 1 of 5 £50 Vouchers to spend at Big Green Smile

Tips for Being a Successful Stay-at-Home Dad

Communication with your partner

Make sure you’re both on the same page. Discuss division of labour and manage each other’s expectations. Consult each other on the big decisions and try to navigate the highs and lows together as a team. 

Be flexible

Getting out of the house with little ones some days just doesn’t happen. Parenthood is unpredictable and tricky at the best of times. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if plans change at the last minute. Try to go with the flow! Easier said than done most of the time, I agree. 

Find your tribe

It’s essential to build a support network around you. Being a SATHD can be isolating. Feel the fear and show up to those local baby groups. If you’re reading this before your baby arrives, join an NCT group or similar. It’s a great way to meet other couples before the birth, and find out what other dads have planned.

Check out what’s online. There are a growing number of SATHD bloggers on hand from all over the world to get you through, and they can provide you with a hefty dose of stay-at-home dad camaraderie when you need it. 

Sponsored By: Your Baby Club
FREE limited edition baby box, worth over £50!

Look after yourself, too.

A good friend of mine was a SATHD for a couple of years, and he was also expected to work in the evenings. It was too much for him. It’s important to discuss what’s expected and be clear that there must be space for you to make a little time for yourself. It’s harder in the early days, but they quickly pass, so hang on in there!

Smashing stereotypes

Being a SATHD, you are busy challenging all of those outdated notions of masculinity and helping others do the same. You’re a hero! 

Seek support

Last word - if you’re feeling the strain or something’s not right, always seek help from your healthcare practitioner. Being the primary caregiver is a tall order, and it’s no easy task, but hey, daddy, you have got this! 

If you enjoyed reading this content why not share it with others!
Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.