It's NOT "daddy daycare" for SAH dads. In fact, they are up to their elbows in child-rearing ... and they're really good at it, too.
Your spouse is running around getting ready for work while you set the kids up for breakfast at the table. The kids reach for hugs and kisses as she runs out the door. "We'll bake cookies later!" she cries, and she's off.
You're well into scrambling eggs, contemplating the day. It's no longer a surprise that HE'S the one staying home. Despite a recent small decline in the number of fathers who take care of children full-time, their numbers have doubled over the last 15 years, according to data from Pew Research Center. But why don't we ever hear about the plight of the SAHDads like we do the moms? We asked three local dads what it's like for them to be home with the kids all day and here's what they had to say:
"... being asked several times a week why I don't have a 'real' job?"
"Or being expected to be the on-call 'borrow-a-husband' for all our friends? Or being told my stay-at-home status is an affront to God and the natural order? Or the teachers who question whether my kids are prepared for school because 'Dad's don't get it?' Or how every extracurricular kid group expects me to be actively engaged as a leader because I have 'plenty of time' ?" he continues. The real question is ... why do so many people have a problem with Dad caring for the kids day in and day out? Dads can do just as much as moms, but they just don't get the credit they deserve around here.
"... the idea that stay-at-home motherhood is the ultimately preferable reality for children."
This local dad says that no one hears about what fathers do as stay-at-home dads because "among other things, publications spend so much time and energy actively promoting notions of maternal superiority and feeding the idea that stay-at-home motherhood is the ultimately preferable reality for children."
"... Once nap time starts after lunch, spending the afternoon doing chores and trying to NOT wake the little one."
This local stay-at-home dad's day kicks off early. "I start each morning at 5 a.m., getting my two oldest children's clothes, books and homework together and then begin getting them ready for school. I load my oldest son on the bus at 6:45 a.m. followed by my little girl at 7 a.m., which afterwards gives me about 30 minutes to an hour before my youngest son wakes up." After the kids are off, he spends about an hour of playtime with his youngest followed by two to three hours of "adventure" time. For England, he says adventure time "consists of me telling him that robots are hiding in the house and the only way to catch them is to pick-up all the toys, dirty dishes and laundry." Once nap time starts after lunch, England spends the afternoon doing chores — and trying NOT to wake the little one. Dinner prep comes next — and of course, the kids getting home and the fight for his attention. "My oldest is disabled, so he tends to get more assistance with everything from getting up, using the restroom, getting dressed, etc. His job is to entertain his siblings so I can resume daily house chores and getting dinner on the table." From sun up to sun down, stay-at-home dads everywhere are doing exactly what stay-at-home moms do at home. Whether they're single dads or their spouse is off to work, many, many dads know know the drill and they get to be a part of one of the greatest things of all: NOT missing out on some of the crucial moments in their children's lives.