Being a stay-at-home dad takes adjustment. Not only do you need to learn how to balance housework with your children’s sleeping schedules, but you also have to learn how to make your finances work even with a loss of income. You’ll also have to learn how to cope with the fact that you’re not going to work anymore and will likely need to adjust the way that you view yourself and care for your overall personal well being. There are many adjustments that you need to make, so here are a few tips on how you can make being a stay-at-home parent work better for you.
Budget for an Income Change
If you’ve just recently had a baby and have decided to stay home with your infant, you’ll need to deduct your monthly salary off of the total amount that you and your spouse normally bring home. Families in which both parents were working and were simply sending their children to day care need to deduct the lost income from the dad not working, but you and your spouse might be saving money on the total amount that you were paying in day care, which might even mean that you’re saving money in the long run.
Take time to adjust your family budget for any changes. If you are trying to accommodate transitioning from two incomes to one income, a strict budget will make all the difference in ensuring you can continue to provide for your family and still put a little in savings each month. During times of lean finances, you may experience an unforeseen emergency that you cannot cover with savings alone and will need to seek alternative means of funding. Financial help for unexpected emergencies can be found in many forms including online loans, selling stocks or real estate, or even asking family or friends for help. The important thing to remember is to always do your research and choose the right option for your needs.
Learn Parenting Skills
If you’re not used to being the primary caregiver for your children, there are a wide range of skills that you’ll need to learn. You’ll need to learn everything from changing diapers to running safety checks on your home to ensure that your children don’t get hurt. You might also have to learn how to solve disputes between siblings. You can pick up some books at the library if it makes you feel more prepared.
Apply Home Organizational Tips When one parent is at home taking care of the children, it’s also usually that person’s job to make sure that meals are prepared, the house is clean and laundry is finished, and many areas of the house are organized. If you’re switching roles with your partner, you can ask them to put together a list of all the chores that they usually did so that you and your family can continue to live the type of lifestyle that you’re used to. Otherwise, you might choose to come up with your own list, but having some sort of routine will help you manage your children and your home.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’ve been working your entire adult life and suddenly no longer have a job, you might notice that the way that you perceive yourself can change. Many people define themselves by their jobs, and it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of loss. You can combat negative feelings by taking some time for yourself. Plan a date night with your partner or at least a time to catch up with them and tell them how you’re feeling and what you need. You can also have a hobby or even a night out with your friends to reconnect with the outside world and other parts of who you are as person.
Believe it or not, being a stay-at-home dad can be personally rewarding. Maybe you chose the role because you and your partner wanted one of you to be raising your children. Otherwise, maybe you left your job and are raising the children for financial reasons. Whatever the reason, you have a lot to adjust to and learn, but you might also find that you like the role.