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You are here: Home Moving to Getting Started How to be a "stay at home dad" pro
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06/05/2011How to be a "stay at home dad" pro

How to be a "stay at home dad" pro Expat blogger Justin gives some pointers on how to be the best stay at home dad you can be as an expat.

Routine
It's very important for you and your child to have a daily routine. Children like routine and feel secure if they have a daily routine. For example, have breakfast with your child: make toasted soldiers with Marmite, make pancakes. Have a walk in a park and play for a set period of time, laugh and interact, play with that train set you always wanted.

Do activities in the morning, have lunch at noon followed by an afternoon sleep. Don't let your child sleep too long, ideally for an hour and a half. When they wake up give them a drink of milk or juice, watch the TV for an hour or two, go to the park again and play. In the evening, have a bath at a set time and bed time at a set time.

Stick to the daily routine and times making an exception at weekends and on holidays.

Keep your sense of identity
Since you will be stuck at home most of the time while you take care of your young child or children, you will be out of the world of work, and therefore isolated from adult company. If you are an expat abroad in this role it will be harder for you not to feel isolated and cut off in a foreign city. Get out and try to join clubs, and chat to other parents. This will be harder if you are a stay at home dad, as most others in your situation will all be women.

Don't lose heart, keep trying and be strong. Take up a hobby, write a blog, take up butterfly catching, shoe cobbling, taxidermy, train spotting, singing, naked fishing, photography, play the guitar, do whatever you can to keep your brain active. Although kids are a real blessing, your time will be taken and you will get very tired. Keep fit, join a gym and try to find alone time for you: alone time and free time will be absolutely vital for your sanity.

Don't worry too much about what other people think
People have ideas about how things should be. These ideas are installed in them from an early age by society and by parents. People have norms and values that they feel are right and wrong. Being a stay at home dad generally goes against many of society's norms and expectations. Many women do not consider a man to be at all suitable as a carer for a child or children.

Many women consider caring for a child or children to be the total responsibility of a woman. A "woman knows best" when it comes to children. A woman carries the baby, a women feeds the baby. In some ways this is true, and biologically we can't argue it, but men can be excellent with kids, caring and loving. But, men have to learn these skills and it can take longer to acquire these skills. Kids don't come with a user manual, but to be honest most of it is just common sense rather than skill. And in my opinion, most men could easily do it.

Home help
If you can afford it, try and get a person to come to your house or flat one or two times per week to clean and/or look after your kid or kids. This will allow you to get out the house or flat and recharge your batteries. You could try and find some part time work, or just keep fit, or meet some friends. If you are a man, cleaning and ironing will be alien and hated areas of domestic life as they are for me. Don't do it, pay a women to do it for you. Keep your balls and be a man.

Have fun
The most important thing to do if you are a stay at home dad, in a place like Moscow for example, is to have a sense of humour. Have fun with your child or children, laugh, draw pictures, play hide and seek, watch TV, play. Your kid or kids only get one childhood, and you will only get one chance to see them at this important time in their life and in your life.

Educate with firmness, without being cruel, laugh and enjoy this time together with your child, let your boy or girl be a child, let them run around, let them be noisy, don't wrap them up in cotton wool devoid of any personality.

If you are an expat abroad and your child or children are very little, you will remember the time you spent abroad with them in happiness and in pain, more than if you were at home in your own country. The chances are your toddler won't remember a thing about his or her time abroad when you joke about it later with them when they are spotty teens, but you will always remember those walks in Moscow and other situations.

Without sounding like a cheesy TV advert, these times are precious so hold onto them. Enjoy them as best you can, for later they will be gone forever. Have fun and laugh.

Some nice quotes on raising children:

" I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home."
" Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home."

Note: I am not an expert or a professional in childcare, I only speak from experience and common sense.

Justin and his wife lived abroad for over six years, first moving to Slovakia and now Russia. Before they became an expat family, he was an IT manager in London. He now spends his time as a full-time stay at home dad looking after junior, writing and sightseeing. His blog is titled English Man In Moscow.

Photo credits:  sxc © adassel; hortongrou;asifthebes



4 reactions to this article

Ken Bruce posted: 2011-05-07 05:52:01

Excellent advice! Couldn't have said it better!
Regards,
Ken
http://www.memoirsofastayathomedad.com

gavilan posted: 2011-05-11 17:53:25

"stay at home dad"is not a man.He might as well wear a skirt, high heels, and an apron.maybe a babushka.Man is supposed to work and she stays home w/ kids.If you can't take care of business, don't kids.unless you like playing jigolo.just come out and say you're gay.i have zero respect for a S.A.H.D.

Diane C posted: 2011-05-11 19:41:33

You are a pioneer and my hat is off to you. Your wife and children are lucky and you are helping lots of people out there - more than you know! You are lucky too to have this opportunity and face it like a man. You are very courageous to do this. Keep it up. You can hire a man to do the cleaning and ironing if you want to......just as you said-we are not born with instruction manuals, so no one can say whose job it is to do what.

Hogan Hilling posted: 2011-08-12 04:27:36

16th At-Home Dada Convention coming to Washington, DC. Saturday, October 8th, 2011 http://www.athomedadconvention.com

Many dads arrive as early as Thursday.

Registration is open. Hope to see you there!

For more information contact Daddyshome, Inc. Media Relations at www.daddyshome.org

4 reactions to this article

Ken Bruce posted: 2011-05-07 05:52:01

Excellent advice! Couldn't have said it better!
Regards,
Ken
http://www.memoirsofastayathomedad.com

gavilan posted: 2011-05-11 17:53:25

"stay at home dad"is not a man.He might as well wear a skirt, high heels, and an apron.maybe a babushka.Man is supposed to work and she stays home w/ kids.If you can't take care of business, don't kids.unless you like playing jigolo.just come out and say you're gay.i have zero respect for a S.A.H.D.

Diane C posted: 2011-05-11 19:41:33

You are a pioneer and my hat is off to you. Your wife and children are lucky and you are helping lots of people out there - more than you know! You are lucky too to have this opportunity and face it like a man. You are very courageous to do this. Keep it up. You can hire a man to do the cleaning and ironing if you want to......just as you said-we are not born with instruction manuals, so no one can say whose job it is to do what.

Hogan Hilling posted: 2011-08-12 04:27:36

16th At-Home Dada Convention coming to Washington, DC. Saturday, October 8th, 2011 http://www.athomedadconvention.com

Many dads arrive as early as Thursday.

Registration is open. Hope to see you there!

For more information contact Daddyshome, Inc. Media Relations at www.daddyshome.org

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