a reply to: chelsdh
I worked for many years in the IT dept of a large company, in the same dept (but different team) as my (future) wife Chrissie.
When we decided to get married and start a family my health hadn't been very good - mainly as a result of my stressful job there, but Chrissie was
doing well and really enjoying her career at that time, so we decided that I would take some time out to recover my health, and that I would then be
the stay-at-home parent when the time came.
Our first child arrived just under a year after our wedding (Honeymoon baby?? I like that!! LOL), and 6 months later Chrissie went back to work...
I think that being a stay-at-home dad was one of the hardest (and most rewarding) jobs that I've ever done, but it gave me a focus & motivation that
was missing before.
The biggest challenges that I faced were the boredom and social isolation.
All of my friends were working during the day, and I didn't have the support network of "other mums" to fall back on. They always seemed to be popping
round to friends houses for a coffee or taking one another's kids to soft-play or whatever... but I understood that it might seem inappropriate for a
guy to be invited into that sacred circle! LOL
I remember the horrible feeling of 20 or 30 mums staring at me when I took my wee boy to soft-play! (Being the only guy there!!! ughh) But I got into
a good routine where I deliberately went to the same places at the same time each week so that they "got used to me" being there, and it worked.
Over time they seemed to relax and came to understand that, although it wasn't "normal" here at that time (for the guy to be the one at home looking
after the child) that it was actually OK!
All of the under-5 "toddler" groups (including the one in our local School) were called "Mother and Toddler" groups too, which wasn't very helpful or
inviting for a Dad, but I met the toddler mums in the local park one day and when I explained my situation they immediately invited me to join! They
even changed the name of the group to "Parent & Toddler" as a result of our conversation. That went well and I think they enjoyed having a guy there -
even if just to help with all of the heavier jobs!
We had our second child 4 years after the first, and when Chrissie took maternity leave that time, she mentioned how guilty and jealous she'd been;
working while I was at home with the baby...
I hadn't really thought about it from that angle before!
Luckily, we had the opportunity for Chrissie to accept a good redundancy package from the company and that allowed her to stay home for a while and
freed me up to set up my own small company and get back to "real" work.
Like you, I never really saw myself as being a "stay-at-home" parent, but when the time came, it was obvious that it was the best choice for us as a
family and (although it was VERY challenging) I don't regret it for a second.
Our boys are now 12 and 8 and both doing great.
We often get complimented on them and their behaviour and it still gives me a sense that I must have got... at least something right!! LOL
I think on some deep level we must all be programmed to become a "parent" when the time comes??
Anyway, I KNOW how hard it can be. But the results are definitely worth it!
I'm sure you're doing just great.
edit on 13-3-2018 by Gordi The Drummer because: fix spelling