A Day in the Life of a Stay-at-Home Dad

Being a dedicated stay at home dad is a rising trend. Many men are making the choice to stay back and take care of their kids on their own. You need some guidance and tips if you are a first time dad.

 

6 am

My alarm goes off—quietly. Akiko gets up at seven no matter what, like she’s punching a clock, so I need to get up early to do things I otherwise don’t have time for: writing, running, submitting poems, or whatever freelance work I have. Today I’m writing, so I open up my computer.

7 am

Aki begins rustling and making her crib squeak. My wife Karen gets up, and I stop working to make coffee and help with breakfast. Aki gets out all the Tupperware out from the one cabinet we’ve more or less yielded to her, and spreads it around.

9 am

Karen leaves for work. I put Aki’s shoes on and we head to the playground at a nearby park. It’s unseasonably cool and overcast, so when we get there the playground is empty except for a little boy, V, and his mother, near the swings. I put Aki down and say, “Look who’s here! Go say hi!” but she wanders instead to the slide. Another person arrives who I haven’t met before. He appears to be an older father, or perhaps a grandfather, with a baby in a bassinet stroller. It’s nice to see another guy here, but he keeps to himself, and leaves before I can say hello. V’s mom walks over to tell me to keep an eye out if he comes back. Apparently he shows up nearly every morning and urinates in a corner of the playground. “It drives the other parents and the park employees crazy.”

This is one of the things about being a stay-at-home dad. My gender tends to do the pervy stuff. Men—men who hang around playgrounds—must be watched in case they’re pedophiles, public urinators, or creeps. I feel like I need to make extra clear I don’t fit in that group. It’s not like mothers grab their children and hug them close when I show up, but I can sense the possibility, in the back of their minds, that I might be a danger. Especially at first. This isn’t something I would normally worry about, but we just moved to the neighborhood and at the moment, the mothers are friendly, if a bit distant. I want Aki to socialize and have play dates, and I want other mothers to feel as comfortable leaving their kids with me as they would with each other. {C}9:30 am

Another mom arrives, one I know from music class. She has a little girl Aki’s age who I like quite a bit. They begin to play together, and Aki starts sharing her snack with H—feeding dried cereal right into H’s mouth. H says Aki’s name over and over as they eat the cereal. It’s super cute and my heart swells. I love how happy my daughter is, and how generous she can be. She has her difficult moments, but overall I feel like I have an extremely gracious and thoughtful child.

10:30 am

Aki begins to yawn, so we head back for a small snack before her 11 am nap. I’m lucky today, and she sleeps for a couple hours. I manage to do a bit more writing, and even wash up the breakfast dishes before making lunch.

We recently got a television after ten years without one. It isn’t hooked up to cable or antenna (we watch movies and Netflix on it) but it’s never on when Aki is awake. She’ll be at least three or four before we intentionally let her watch TV, possibly older. Our reasons for this are many and complicated, but since we don’t watch much anyway, it hasn’t been a big deal. The biggest …

 

Read more: http://www.parenting.com/article/stay-home-dad

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