Thursday 02 September 2010 by Helen

Following on from my post about stay-at-home-dads, I’ve had a rummage around a few websites and blogs for some reassuring words...

Take five

Or should I say grab five! These tips are brief, so you can blitz through them. The following advice is general, because, no two babies are the same, everyone’s in a different situation and we all have our own ways of parenting. (Recommended accompliment for this read - a cup of tea and several biscuits.)

Avoid loneliness

Realistically, there aren’t the same numbers of fathers who stay at home with their children as there are mothers who stay at home with their children. The support network isn’t the same for Dads, there’s certainly not such an obvious community in existence, and this leaves a lot of potential for isolation.

  • One solution might be the online community, there are sites such as Dad at home. Though you might not meet as many stay-at-home-dads as you might like in person, don’t forget the virtual world. These are potential places to make connections, share experiences and advice. 
  • Blogs are a great thing to read, the content has generally been written from personal experience, or relevant resources have been conveniently gathered together in one place. Blogs contain personality and reality, making for a more accessible and reassuring read than, perhaps, a handbook might. There's also the opportunity to ask questions, interact with the blogger and with the other commentators.

Photo of Dad throwing baby up in the air

Get out and about

Don’t pace around the house. If it is dry, and not too cold, then get outside, even if only in the garden or for a walk around the block. It will be a breather for you and for baby, and it may just be the light at the end of the my baby won’t stop crying tunnel.


If, for example, you are trying run a business from home, your priorites will need to change. The business may, temporarily, have to take a back seat.

  • Business or no business everyone will have to adjust their priorities. Dividing your attention between computer and baby is unlikely to work, as you'll be unable to fully concentrate on either task, and you'll become frustrated. Hard as it might be, ignore the mobile phone and the email. You could always have an allotted time when you check them, maybe when Mum's home, instead of trying to multi-task and failing on both levels! 
  • I'm not completely ruling out multitasking, and I'm more than aware that it's something men are normally given stick for not being very good at. So I'm going to encourage and be positive about its endless possibilities... For example, I think, doing a bit of tidying up would go hand in hand with rocking baby to sleep. This also introduces an added bonus of keeping Mum happy too. 

A sensitive approach to Mum

Busy as you've been with baby, Mum has also been at work all day, and when she walks through the door, she’s likely to be tired and perhaps slightly irritable. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that you have been at home with baby (Obviously a huge job in itself) and she's been at work, or simply that it's been a long day at work...

  • She might not want to be bombarded the minute she walks through the door. As much as she will be genuinely interested to hear every snippet of your day's news, it’s about the timing and sensitivity in how you deliver the news. For some reason, writing this has reminded me of The Good Wife’s Guide, published in Housekeeping Monthly on the 13th May 1955, in particular the line, Don’t greet him with complaints and problems, which refers to the moment when husband steps through the front door after a long day at work. The attitudes inherent in the article are obviously extremely dated, but it makes for an amusing read, and I’m assuming some of it's transferable in terms of being The Good Husband!
  • There might be the odd day when Mum comes home and without so much as a hello, completely skips over everything you have done during the day, and starts pointing out everything you haven’t done; tidying up, cleaning, washing etc. Try not to take these offhand comments personally. It is common for both parties to think the grass is greener, and that it would be nice to be in the other person's role. That is up until we actually step into their shoes and go – oh.  You can’t compare looking after baby and going to work, they are worlds apart and carry different strains and stresses. 

Ask for help, and accept it

No one should have to cope single handedly if they don't have to. Accept help. From all the blogs I've read, this is the advice that reoccurs the most. A lot of men (and women) said that the help was there, but the hardest part was accepting it. Let people help, whether it's friends, loved ones or neighbours. It might be advice or someone just offering to give you a break. If you're feeling refreshed, you will notice the ever-widening smiles, and be more likely to savour precious moments, without becoming overwhelmed by nappy changes, feeding times and crying.


Black and white photo of Dad cradling baby


Photo credits:  Via Flickr  -  Meagan and Jeanine&preston

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Tags: dads |  tips |  advice |  resources | 
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