calling stay at home dads - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 07-15-2004, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a new parent (our daughter turned 8 weeks on Tuesday), and my wife's maternity leave will be over in another 4 weeks (her job has flexible hours, many of them at home, so she'll be around much of the day, on the phone or on the computer; she has frequent evening and weekend meetings). I'll be staying home with our daughter.

Some details about us: we're wearing our daughter in a sling or baby bjorn and co-sleeping; we're doing cloth diapers (I do most of the diapering and all the laundry, as well as most of the cooking and cleaning since our daughter was born); we loved Meredith Small's Our Babies, Ourselves and mostly read the Sears books for practical stuff. My wife is breastfeeding. We've introduced a bottle (using pumped milk), but haven't used it extensively. Our daughter was diagnosed with reflux a couple of weeks ago and was put on Zantac, which has helped (far fewer 1-6 hour inconsolable crying jags, less projectile vomiting).

I'd like to connect with other stay-at-home parents, but I'm nervous about attending the mothers' groups -- I don't want to intrude (I imagine a women-only space is sometimes pretty important) -- at the same time, I'd love the support and company.

I'd love to hear your suggestions, as well as your experiences and any resources for stay-at-home dads that you've found. I'd also love to hear if there are any stay-at-home dads in Vermont (I'm in Addison County, about an hour south of Burlington).

Thanks!
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#2 of 15 Old 07-19-2004, 02:20 PM
 
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New Dad here as well. Son will be 8 weeks this Thursday. My wife will be back at work in about 7 weeks. Since we're in California we can take advantage of the new Paid Family Leave. So when she goes back to work, I'll be off of work for 8 weeks with our son. When he was born I took off of work for about one month.

Obviously I'm not in Vermont, but glad to see another Dad out there that is so involved with the care of his child and home.

As far as the mother's groups.. maybe have your wife go with you or make it seem like you are going with your wife to one or two of these to see how you might like them.. assuming you find one in your area.
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#3 of 15 Old 07-19-2004, 10:48 PM
 
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maybe post in the finding your tribe area?

I'm thinking depending upon the mothers group you might be welcome to join in. You'd certainly be welcome to come to my playgroup, should you be in minnesota -- you obviously have some similar and some different issues to being a parent. Although I had female friends who didn't have kiddos, I really needed to connect with other people who really cared whether my dd was napping or whether I had a rough night. But asking around and heading to places like the park during the day, story time at the library (when your babe is older) might help you find other dads too.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#4 of 15 Old 07-19-2004, 10:59 PM
 
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Congratulations on becoming a daddy! My only suggestion is not to assume that the mom's groups don't want you there. Our mother's group has recently had the discussion about including SAHDads, since a couple of our members know some and were wondering wether to invite them. We agreed that we would welcome them happily. They haven't come, however. I think there is a mutual shyness about it. I don't blame a man for being wary about joining such a group -- it could be intimidating! Nevertheless, perhaps if you join one, a couple of other dads in your area would be willing to join as well. (Maybe you could find another SAHD and approach a "mom's" group together.) The only activity our group does that might seem odd with men along is our "Mom's Night Out". That's when we do the most "girl talk." But I can invision 2 or 3 (or more) men in such a group having "Dad's night out" and doing "guy" things. So maybe that activity could be seperate if the group members so desire. I'm rambling now, but my point is, don't rule out joining a "mom's" group, even if it's just to attend the playgroup or some other kid-centered activity. I'm sure there are those out there who would welcome you! Good luck!

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#5 of 15 Old 07-20-2004, 12:15 AM
 
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My husband isn't a stay at home dad per se. He has a sales job and so in between appts. he is very active with our two kids, age 2.5 and 8mos. He meets lots of people in the park in our area. I think it is a great place to get away. Two of my friend's husbands are stay at home dad in Washington and it is a shame they don't get together. It seems with men that they don't take the initiative and that is why they are generally alone. I say, be creative. Call your local newspaper and ask them to do a short article on your situation even if you want to be incognito. There is likely plenty of men just like you who would enjoy some companionship and help in sharing the load of child rearing. It would be so good for the kids too. Never in my days growing up did I experience an over abundance of daddy time. Imagine the positive impact you could have on other children as well.
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#6 of 15 Old 07-20-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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I'm A SAHD wanna-be

I'm a teacher so there are large portions of time that I am home...my wife is home as well, but the division of parenting "jobs" definately changes.

During the summer and the weekends I usually get up w/ the kids b/c she has been up all night. When school starts, she gets up w/ the babies and I get our 8 year old up and ready for school.

The time spent home during the summer makes me realize that SAHM/D are gifts from God... It IS a full time under appreciated job!

Curtis
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#7 of 15 Old 07-20-2004, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allie
It seems with men that they don't take the initiative and that is why they are generally alone. I say, be creative. . . .There is likely plenty of men just like you who would enjoy some companionship and help in sharing the load of child rearing.
I often wonder about this also.

In my experience as a SAHD, I haven't found that the crux of the problem is lack of initiative. It's more a sheer product of finding each other first then the problem of finding SAHD's you can actually get along with. I tried out three different SAHD groups (the bonus of being near a large metro area, some places don't even have one let alone three) before I gave up. The first two were pyramid marketing fronts and the third consisted of two pals who wanted fresh blood who could afford to keep up with their high-end play activities and complete focus on mainstream professional sports as conversation topics. I'm not into sports beyond soccer and I was not fiscally flush so that put me outside that cadre quick.

Sharing the load of child rearing would be a great concept but few SAHD's I know think like that. Mostly it's, let's get a bunch of guys together and let the little boogers run wild, like a dog run... which while appealing at times, is not very enriching in the long run.

The funniest thing is that I know about a dozen SAHD's in my region but none of us have ever been able to put something together. I've run into them at the farmer's market, the vid store, even surfing once, but try to organize a group for something, forget it, everyone's always too busy. I've tried to help other dads setup discussion boards, but look at even this one, not a constant barrage of posting going on here and this one is hopping compared to the half dozen or so other dad's boards I've been to. I don't think it's a guy thing... I think it's a SAHD is still pretty novel and we're not trying too hard to form a movement or anything yet.

I'm still looking... although now that I'm in school at the same time my two are, it's kinda moot anymore. But I keep holding out for that mythopoetic, deep masculine SAHD group to emerge and bring our kids to rituals and have bonfires on the beach, telescope parties, science center expeditions, campouts, and howl at the moon and stuff. One that talks politics, martial arts, music, books, feelings, partnering with women (and other men) issues, you know, real deep-guy talk...
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#8 of 15 Old 07-20-2004, 07:36 PM
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Congratulations John-eric. Fareal, you too... where in CA are you, if I may ask? I'm in eastern Ventura county. Man, you got to do the paid family leave? I guess we were too early for that one. Glad it's there now!

Mom's groups... yeah, that's a tough one. I haven't had much success with that angle. Some say they want SAHD's there too but I'd get there and pretty soon realize, how come I'm still alone and they're all talking breast feeding? Not that it's not a fascinating topic but without the gear I couldn't really speak from my heart or personal experience, other than having to rush dd to my dw's school to slip in a quick feed when the pumped supply ran out on me on those growth spurt days. They couldn't relate to my intense feelings of inadequacy and inability to feed my daughter when she needed to eat. Kind of a topic killer I guess.

The adult-level conversation, the insights from fellow parents, I had to get either online here at MDC, books, magazines, or from the occassional fly-by's in the park with the few secure moms who weren't trying to "help me" and were okay with just hanging out with me from time to time. I'm still amazed that I got yelled at by women in public as often as I did. I hope you both never experience that... it's a real downer. The other dads here on MDC are great men. I am still learning a lot from them and from the sage mamas here too.
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#9 of 15 Old 07-20-2004, 08:48 PM
 
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Dov: Sounds like you've been around the block a few times. I'm in Los Angeles County.. far East.
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#10 of 15 Old 07-24-2004, 04:05 PM
 
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#11 of 15 Old 07-24-2004, 04:17 PM
 
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My husband is a SAHD and when I joined a local AP list that is mostly moms I received a lot of encouragement for my husband to join the list and come to the daytime playgroups...so on the one hand I think that support or at least intent is there...but on the other, there were a few occasions when I had a day off work and was able to go to playgroup and even as another mom I felt I had a hard time breaking into the circle of established relationships. I don't think anyone meant to exclude me, but I kinda gave up on going. It can be hard for moms to find a good fit with a group too. I guess what I am trying to say is don't assume that your gender will exclude you from a particular group, or if you do find a group but don't fit in, don't assume that your gender is the reason why. I can sympathize with Dov's example about breastfeeding talk leaving him with nothing to say, but on the other hand if an adoptive mom were part of such a group I think the others would hope she didn't feel excluded by such conversation, or like they thought she had nothing she could offer. I've found that in any group of people conversations will sometimes turn to subjects I have no interest or experience with...it doesn't mean I'm not wanted or have nothing to share on other subjects.
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#12 of 15 Old 07-26-2004, 12:03 AM
 
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Go to www.slowlane.com - it's a local/national/international network of stay at home dads. There's also a group for the wives of stay at home dads called "mothers at work dads at home" (MAWDAH). If you can't find a listing for the VT area, you could always start one - I know that sounds daunting but it's really quite easy to start one on yahoogroups. I started a parents club in my area (PG Parents Club, MD) and we're now up to over 75 families, with playgroups just about every other day.

Although SAHDs are getting more common, I understand the isolation and cultureshock - believe me, you're not the only one out there!

---A
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#13 of 15 Old 07-26-2004, 12:45 PM
 
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Glad to see that there are other SAHD's here. I have not been able to scan this forum much but it seems to be great resource!

As far as SAHD groups Slowlane is a good resource. Also check http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sahdcentral/
It's a group that primarily lists regional and local SAHD groups, forums, and other SAHD resources. Also a good place to list if you are trying to find others or form a group.

I think there are folks looking to start a group in VT, and there should be some in various parts of CA.

Regarding playgroups. As a SAHD for 5+ years, it's great when mom's groups welcome you and your child, however I have not experienced that personally. I have actually been told that the "moms" would prefer to keep it a "moms only group." I know this will vary with individuals and communities, so you have to figure out what works for you.

By all means find a group somewhere or find something to do. You will go stir crazy quickly if you do not find something to do outside the house!

ch10dad
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#14 of 15 Old 07-29-2004, 11:14 AM
 
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I'm a new SAHD. Owen is 7 weeks and mom returns to work FT 8/2. It's not by choice that I'm a SAHD. I had the misfortune of being fired right after Owen was born. I wanted Mom to SAH because baby needs her way more than me. She's pumping at work so Owen has plenty of milk. We're in Tucson and I plant on meeting up at Connor Park. There's no way I'm going to avoid Mom's groups since I am a mom now and later when he's older I can do the dad thing, which for me will entail bouldering, climbing, hiking and being out in the real world.

So, Mom's and SAHD's, brush up on your finger-spelling and pick up a few signs so we can communciate!
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#15 of 15 Old 08-05-2004, 02:49 AM
 
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I've been a SAHD since taking parental leave on June 1st this year. Both of us are home now to raise our 2-1/2 year old son and our new daughter. I'll be resuming my apprenticeship in mid-October.

It's been a difficult adjustment for me getting up to speed with staying at home. During the first six weeks we almost abandoned the SAH plan entirely... nearly loading up my tools for work several times, but things are turning around. My wife, HomebirthHarriett also frequents the board

We're taking a very 'one-on-one' approach with our children. I'm paired up with my son, and DW is paired with DD. For nighttime, DW co-sleeps with DD. I sleep in DS's room on a mattress on the floor. I get up with DS (at whatever ungodly hour he chooses) Toilet training is now in full swing - mostly my job - but DW's help is always appreciated. I'm getting better with the 'father & son' activities. We have garage time some days... where I take him to the garage and we attack some truck part with hand, air, and power tools - with proper safety equipment of course Romps in the backyard are followed up with 'downtime' with refreshments in the slide-in camper sitting in the car-port. Other days I pop him in the carseat I have on my bicycle and we try out a playground or two and do some general sightseeing. (This week we happened on a concrete-truck and the driver let him sit in the driver's seat, and even mess with the controls on the mixer!!! )

I haven't looked hard for Dad's groups in my area. Most of my friends have yet to begin a family, or move away from home for that matter. Since being home, I've gone to a parent & tot group at the local elementary school, and going to informal 'playdates' with DW's La Leche League group. Luckily the "women-only" space hasn't been an issue thus far. The common ground here is parenting after all, so if the group will accept me, the gender of the group doesn't matter to me. I'm active on a number of message boards, however this is the first parenting one for me :

I hope I learn some things here, and can be a resource for others.

Kevin
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