by JOSH YOUNG
If you have traded in your job, recently become unemployed or swapped roles with the wife your new position as stay at home dad can be a daunting proposition. Here in Australia gender roles are pretty clearly defined. You’re a bloke. You work. You drink beer. You watch footy. You hunt wild boar. In our culture the role a dad is to play in our kids life remains unclear. We may see the hulking sportsman taking his kids for a lap around the field after a finals win or watch the poli’s parade their groomed kids for the media but in terms of what’s expected there is little info out there.
Over generations of breeding the ladies have passed on secrets, created networks and established stereotypes of what it is to be a “good mum”. The new role of stay at home dad is, in a way, uncharted territory. The full time dad role cannot be simply cut and pasted from what women have been doing as you are not a woman. You are a bloke. You still work. You still drink beer. You still watch the footy. You never actually hunted wild boar anyway.
So go forth Pioneer. The path won’t be easy. While you will not get the same satisfaction from landing a new account or wrapping up a lucrative project the rewards are there. You just need to realise they’re different.
1. You’re Still Working
Every dismissed female in history who compared being a mum to working can get some sense of relief knowing that there are a few men now starting to get their point. If you thought you were going to be able to just lounge around and play Xbox all day then sadly you’re mistaken. Along with keeping your livestock clean, fed and away from sharp objects you will, depending on your contract, have to be doing a certain amount of work around the house as well. If you actually tap into the fact that you are at work you can hush the chorus of “I told you so” and tackle housekeeping head on. Transfer your daily work routine across to your new role. Get up, look sharp, have your coffee, list daily objectives and hustle. Spreadsheets, to-do lists and drive will get the house and kids in order quickly and easily which means that you can then lounge around and play Xbox.
2. Forget pats on the back
You want the high fives and the slow mo approving nods from your peers when you put in the hard yards. But the myriad of flattery and respect will sadly not be coming your way anymore. I struggled with this. It should not be underestimated how important the role of success is in a man’s life. As a stay at home dad you’ll need to be awake to spontaneous feedback and successes. When you see your kiddy’s eyes light up as they discover something interesting or learn something new that you have shown them don’t just brush it off. That was your doing mate. Outstanding fucking work!! Take pride in your craft and relish in those inglorious details of the world that are new to those you now manage.