We stay-at-parents know we are blessed to be home with our little ones. Especially being a stay-at-home dad. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the amount of dads who would love to be in my position (or at least that’s what they tell me). This doesn’t mean we aren’t faced with the challenge of not just surviving but actually thriving while surrounded by biscuit crumbs, Peppa Pig and laundry that multiplies every single time your back is turned.
Every parent is faced with challenges on a daily basis but today I want to look at the challenge of staying sane as a stay-at-home dad.
After giving up a job that I’d not been happy doing for such a long time, I was so excited to switch gears and stay home with a then nine month old Olivia. Now three-and-a-half years on and a stay-at-home dad of two, I can easily say that staying home with my kids is the best and hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s physically exhausting, mentally challenging, emotionally taxing, and can be very lonely at times. Things have gotten easier since that first year of thinking ‘what the hell am I doing?’ but a large part of that has come as a result of making plenty of mistakes, a few low moments and putting tried and tested practices into place. I’ve become a far better dad over the last few months because I’ve learned how to better take care of myself and manage my days.
| Ways I keep myself sane while on the job
Get Out Of The House
As often as possible. Get out of the house as often as you can. This could be on your own with the kids, meeting another parent with kids the same age as yours or even to a group. Plus, if you’re feeling a little #MumGuilt or #DadGuilt in my case, you’re killing to birds one stone. You’re getting out of the house which is making you feel better and you’re spending quality time the kids too.
I don’t mind the odd day of chilling around the house but after a couple of days of not doing anything I start to get a bit anxious. If you’re going mad, then the kids are too. Plus, there’s only so much, Peppa Pig, Hey Duggee and YouTube that I can stand.
I have found that taking an outing everyday not only stops myself and the kids from being bored but it’s also helped a lot with my own mental health. I feel more positive, more motivated and more inspired to try new things.
Have An Outlet
For me, sanity relies A LOT on having outlets that help to define me outside of being a dad. I can remember getting to the two year anniversary of being in the job and discovering that it didn’t really fulfill me the way it use to. I loved it of course, but I soon realised that although being a dad and staying home with my kids is one of the most important parts of me (and certainly takes up the most time), it is not the only part. So I actively started thinking of creative outlets that I would enjoy (which is how my blog was created). I’ve been apart of the blogging community a little under eighteen months now and it has helped me more than I can put into words. connecting with new people through blogging is one of the best things I done since being at home.
Make Time For Yourself
Whether that’s by yourself or with friends. You need to keep being yourself and not just the dad with the kids! If you’ve following me on Instagram you’ll know that over the last few weeks I’ve been trying a different routine to help better my own mental health and increase my productivity. One of the changes I made was getting up a little earlier and getting out for a walk with the dogs. Now, while I haven’t achieved that every morning, I have achieve getting out on my own with the dogs and I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made.
I absolutely love spending time with my kids and I never want to be away from them but there comes a point when you think to yourself ‘I just need five minutes peace.’ Getting out and walking on my own is my little time were it’s just me and my thoughts. It’s a starting point for me to return to a happier state of mind. I recommend you find time for yourself too.
Next year will mark my forth year as a stay-at-home parent and I will in the job for at least another after that, just in time for Robyn to start nursery. I’m not saying for one minute that day-to-day life as stay-at-home parent is all sunshine and rainbows because believe me it’s not. In fact, it would be far easier and far less stressful going out to work but a large part of keeping myself on the right side of sane will come from putting these practices (and many more) into place.
How do you stay sane as a stay-at-home parent? Can you relate to any of these? Do you have any tips that you’d like to add? I guess the real question is: do you ever feel like you’re going insane???