5 things not to say to stay-at-home dads

By Hannah   — January 26, 2017
  • 1. Don’t say: Looking after a baby is a woman’s job
    1 / 5 1. Don’t say: Looking after a baby is a woman’s job

    Why you shouldn’t say this 
    This suggests that only mothers are good at raising children and fathers don’t have much to do with parenting.

    Given that this father has chosen to stay at home to look after his baby, he clearly feels ready to meet the parenting challenges and doesn’t need your negative comments, which at best will sour your relationship with him, and at

    worst will dent his confidence.

    Every parent makes a positive contribution to his child’s upbringing in his own way.

    Say instead 
    “Caring for a baby isn’t easy, but I think you’ll manage fine.”

    Related: Can you store breast milk in the same freezer as meat?

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  • 2. Don’t say: You’ll have an easy life now that you have given up work
    2 / 5 2. Don’t say: You’ll have an easy life now that you have given up work

    Why you shouldn’t say this 
    A stay-at-home dad is occupied from the moment Baby wakes up (and that’s assuming he doesn’t share night-feeding duties with Mum) until she goes to sleep (assuming the baby sleeps through a reasonable chunk of the night without waking).

    There is rarely downtime. When Baby is asleep, he’ll be busy with other chores, such as washing the clothes and preparing meals. So, he’ll resent your suggestion that he has chosen an easy option.

    Say instead 
    “I hope you manage to get a break sometimes.”

    Related: Is it safe to use mobile phones around babies?

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  • 3. Don’t say: I bet you can’t wait to become the breadwinner again
    3 / 5 3. Don’t say: I bet you can’t wait to become the breadwinner again

    Why you shouldn’t say this
    Maybe he is desperate to get back to work so he can fulfil the traditional role of an economic provider. Or, maybe he recognises that he derives as much satisfaction from having prime responsibility for looking after his child.

    Some fathers are relieved to be released from the pressures of the workplace, especially if their wives have well-paid careers. Raising a child brings its own rewards, even if it doesn’t come with an attractive salary and paid leave.

    Say instead
    “I wonder if you miss work as much as you thought you would.”

    Related: How to remove baby ear wax 

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  • 4. Don’t say: I bet you feel strange being stuck with your baby all day
    4 / 5 4. Don’t say: I bet you feel strange being stuck with your baby all day

    Why you shouldn’t say this
    Most stay-at-home dads find themselves in the minority at playgroups, which can be quite disorienting for them.

    Part of the challenge for them is to feel comfortable in a role typically occupied by the mother, although the balance is gradually evening out now as more fathers take extended paternity leave. Saying that he’ll feel strange only makes him more self-conscious.

    Say instead 
    “I think you’ll adapt well to being a stay-at-home dad.”

    Related: 6 ways to manage a toddler who constantly wants attention 

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  • 5. Don’t say: Your wife must be delighted she can put her feet up and rest when she comes home from work
    5 / 5 5. Don’t say: Your wife must be delighted she can put her feet up and rest when she comes home from work

    Why you shouldn’t say this 
    Expectations of shared caregiving apply no matter who stays at home to care for Baby. Just as Dad is expected to play his part when he returns from work – helping with feeding, changing, washing and playing – the same applies to a working mother.

    A stay-at-home dad is responsible for caring for the baby while Mum is out, but it changes when she returns. Any suggestion that the caregiving responsibility is his every hour of the day will be met with horror.

    Say instead
    “I expect your wife gets involved as soon as she comes home from work.”

    Related: 7 things you should know about fever in babies 

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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