Being a father who stays home with the kids can be a great choice for the whole family -- but you need to know what you’re getting into.
Step 1: Do some soul-searching Make sure you’re okay with your wife being the breadwinner, and discuss what you will be expected to do. Are you signing on to do all the housework, cooking, and childcare? Or are you just agreeing to take care of the kids?
Step 2: Consider your career Think about how you might balance being a stay-at-home dad with your career goals. Consider asking your employer if you could work part-time and/or from home. Or beef up your resume during your hiatus by squeezing in a few business courses or working toward an advanced degree.
Step 3: Find support Join a support group to avoid becoming isolated. Stay-at-home dads often find that they are not welcomed into the female-only coffee klatches. There are websites that will match you with dads in your area.
TIP: Get the neighborhood stay-at-home moms to warm up to you by hosting a dinner party so they can meet your wife and their husbands can meet you.
Step 4: Expect a little jealousy If your wife exhibits a little jealousy when the children begin running to you with their problems, be sensitive. The arrangement may take some getting used to for everyone.
Step 5: Take parenting classes If you are feeling unsure of your abilities, take some parenting classes. One study found that the happiest stay-at-home dads were the ones who had confidence in their childcare skills.
Step 6: Take pride in your work Don’t worry about what other people may think about your staying home to take care of the kids. Remind yourself that the work you are doing is important, and that doing it well is something to be proud of.
FACT: As of 2008, there were 150,000 stay-at-home fathers in the United States, a 50% increase since 2005.