Interview with a Stay At Home Dad | Lullaby Earth Blog – LullabyEarth.com

Interview With A Stay At Home Dad

Stay At Home Dad

In a month that’s all about dad, we celebrate all kinds of fatherhood! Good dads deserve our respect because they’re helping raise the next generation of happy, healthy kids who will grow up and make big changes. Lots of people imagine dads going to work and supporting the family financially, but there’s also a growing number (an estimated 1.75 million in the US) of dads who stay home and support the family in less typical but no less important ways. We reached out to talk to at-home dad Ryan. R, who takes care of his kids at home each and every day.

Ryan is 38 years old and has a degree in Video Production and Recording Audio Engineering, but his career path was varied with all sorts of jobs over the years, most not even related to his degree. When he told his wife he wanted to stay home with their first child, Ryan had an excellent job with great benefits, good pay, the works!

He says, “It wasn’t like I was in a job I hated and couldn’t wait to get out of - I left a good job to take care of my boys.”

We asked about when, how, and why Ryan and his wife decided he would be a stay-at-home dad. Ryan said that when his wife was about five months pregnant with their first baby (L, now three and a half), “we realized daycare was going to cost almost as much as our mortgage payment. We could have afforded it with our income at the time, but we were planning on more kids later. After a second child, the cost of daycare just wouldn’t be worth it.”

Ryan’s own father was a temporary stay-at-home dad while recovering from an injury and unable to work, and Ryan always appreciated that time with his dad. It wasn’t something strange or outside of a gender role to him, it was just normal - a parent taking care of his children. Ryan says, “I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home. I have a ton of respect for all stay-at-home parents, mom or dad.”

At-home parents are subject to flack from friends and family, since “mommy wars” and mom guilt are ubiquitous. A mom who works is seen as selfish (hardly!), while a mom who stays home is seen as decadently not doing anything all day (seriously?). Both of these stereotypes and assumptions are dead wrong, and stay-at-home dads are subject to some of the same issues.

Ryan remembers, “We went to our baby shower and I was talking to her uncle. When I told him I was going to stay home with the baby, he laughed. He thought I was joking.” Ryan also says that he got just as much negative feedback from women as he did from men. “It’s not seen as a ‘manly’ job.”

After a brief chat about how raising your kids is about the most fatherly thing a dad could do, and how that could possibly be seen as unmanly, we chatted about stay-at-home dad challenges and the best parts of being an at-home parent.

The conversation about people’s expectations and stereotypes continued into our chat about the challenges Ryan faces on a regular basis. He says, “The world expects women to be stay-at-home parents. It’s understood that it’s what a mother is supposed to do. I get a lot of comments like ‘When are you going to go back to work and give your wife a chance to stay home with the kids?’ that assume she wants to stay home and my role is at work.”

We talked about the isolation that is so prevalent among stay-at-home parents regardless of gender. “I absolutely feel isolated. The only thing I miss about having a job is the adult interaction with somebody who doesn’t care about the wheels on the bus.” He’s joined a stay-at-home dad group on Facebook but hasn’t had luck with in-person meetups.

“When I take the kids to the park, the moms don’t talk to me. The moms usher their kids away from mine because it’s ‘weird’ for me to be there.” He even tried to join local stay-at-home parent groups, but hit a wall there too. “I’d be okay if I could get into a parent group, but nobody would take me because I’m a dad. I reached out to 20 groups in the area, and they all wouldn’t take dads.” When we asked if he had thought about starting his own group focused on dads he said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’m a little busy!”

He struck up a weekly game night with some friends and now he has an outlet where he can get out and interact socially without having to be in dad-mode. He says, “It’s as important for the parents to socialize as it is for the kids.” Time alone with his wife is important too, and Ryan makes sure to get a date night on the books at least once or twice a month. He spoke a lot about how much he values his wife’s support.

“She’s 100% supportive of whatever I want to do. When I said I wanted to stay home, she said OK. She’s always right there on board.”

He says it’s hard sometimes because “when [L] sees me all day, he gets a little tired of me and he wants mommy. But other times he hugs me and says ‘You’re a good daddy, daddy’ or tells me he loves me.”

Discussing the best parts of being a stay-at-home dad, Ryan says, “When you’re working with them on something - letters and numbers, walking, anything - when they start to get it and do it on their own, it’s really rewarding. It’s something they’ll know or do for the rest of their life, and they learned it from you. It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”

Speaking of teaching the kids new things, we asked if Ryan planned on homeschooling in the future. “Absolutely not,” he says, “I’d like to say that I’d do it right but I don’t think I’m the homeschooling type.” He is, however, very attracted to the idea of staying home to manage the house while the boys are at school. “The longer I stay at home, the more I like the idea of being the PTA dad, the house-husband, the community dad. I want to be there when they get home from school and be there for their activities.”

In closing, Ryan had this to say about staying home to care for his children as a stay-at-home dad: “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. But it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

Thank you for chatting with us and talking about your experiences as a stay-at-home dad, Ryan! We appreciate all your hard work.

Tags: dads, parenting

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Wind It Down Tips For Parents

Wind it Down Tips for Parents

Winding down isn’t easy for anyone, especially for parents. Not only do you have to attempt to relax after a chaotic day of managing kids, but your children’s ability to wind down at night also directly affects how calm your evening is. Because of this we came up with five wind it down tips specifically for parents so you can enjoy more relaxing pre-bed rituals.


1.) Set Aside Time for Yourself After They Go To Bed

Once your children go to bed, it’s easy to want to just go straight to sleep yourself. While this may seem like the best bet in the short term, you may find that your racing mind can interrupt your sleep patterns. Try to take an hour or so to read, journal, take a bath or listen to calming music before you make your way to bed. That way your mind will have a chance to take a break before you do the same with your body.


2.) Make Sure They Relax

The less chaotic getting your children to bed at night is, the easier it will be for you to wind down. As parents, you know it’s not always possible to have a completely seamless time getting the kids to go to sleep, but the more structure and routine you implement, the easier it will be to make it a smooth bedtime  transition. If they go to bed easy, you will be less wound up before your own bedtime.


3.) Spend Quality Time With Your Partner

Not only should you take some time out for yourself after getting the kids to sleep, consider carving some time out with your partner, friends or family. Whether it’s doing a puzzle with your spouse or calling a family member to catch up, making some time for those other than your children will put your mind at ease.


4.) Make Time for Yourself During the Day

Winding down is not just about the actions you take right before bed. As a parent, there is no shame in recruiting help with the kiddos for even just an hour a day. Use that time to go to the gym, do yoga, or partake in whatever activity will reset your mind and body to equip you to handle anything that comes your way for the rest of the day. The less stressed you are during the day, the easier it is to wind down at night.


5.) Plan Family Meals Appropriately

After a long day, it’s typical to find the easiest thing in the cupboard to make because you simply don’t have the time to make a more elaborate meal. While you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen, eating an unhealthy, large and processed meal right near bedtime will make it harder for not only your children to fall asleep, but you as well. Making small changes to improve your family’s dinner habits will have a positive effect on everyone’s sleeping habits.

Parents, what winding down tips do you use? Let us know in the comments!
Tags: dads, moms, sleep

Non-Toxic Teething Remedies

non toxic teething remedies

Your baby is beginning to teethe. It’s painful for them, and as a parent it’s difficult for you to watch them suffer. While you want to solve their teething issues, you also don’t want to use toxic methods to do so. Especially when it comes to sleep, teething pains can really cause a struggle for both baby and parent. We suggest five non-toxic teething remedies that will put both you and your baby at ease.


Natural Solid Wood Toys

Solid wood is very soothing for babies to chew on when teething. Bannor Toys teethers are antibacterial, non-splintering and non-toxic. However, be sure not to keep any toys in the crib with your baby as it will reduce the risk of SIDS.


Frozen Fruits or Veggies

Frozen fruits and vegetables are an easy, natural and non-toxic option to soothe the pain of a teething baby. For young ones who you are introducing to solid food, try an organic fruit and food feeder like NatureBond’s Baby Fruit & Food Feeder. NatureBond is latex-free, BPA-free, phalates-free and lead-free.


Cold Spoon

Cold items have the power to alleviate the pain of teething. Simply put a spoon in the fridge and put the round part of the spoon on the gums before your child goes into their crib for sleep. Don’t put it in the freezer or it could stick, and best to use this technique before the teeth come to avoid chipping. No chemicals, no hassles, just relief!


Plush Teething Toy

Toys can be multi-purpose. Cute, soft, plush toys are a good alternative to help your baby get through teething because they can chew on it which helps with the pain. For a non-toxic option, try some of Under the Nile’s organic egyptian cotton teething toys. Under the Nile’s toys are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), certified USDA organic, and their facility is also Certified Fair Trade. Remember not to keep it in the crib!


Teething Jewelry For Mom

Look fashionable while sporting a non-toxic teething device. Smart Mom Jewelry sells jewelry made from the same materials used for teething toys. This non-toxic option contains no harmful chemicals such as phthalates, BPAs, PVCs, lead or latex. All of their pendants come with a breakaway clasp as an added safety measure.

Kid to Kid Kindness

Kid to Kid Friendliness

It’s always important to instill the importance of being kind when speaking with your children, but focus more heavily on this message during Random Acts of Kindness Week. Take this week to share with your kids some ideas of random acts of kindness that they can do for the little ones around them.


1. Wave At Kids On The School Bus

Happiness is contagious, so stress to your kids that they should try every day to share their joy with the children around them. You never know who is having a bad day and could use cheering up. Something as simple as waving to others on the school bus or smiling when they walk passed others in the hallway can easily brighten another child’s day.


2. Write A Happy Note To A Classmate

Whether its a classmate who’s having a bad day or just a random child in class, drawing or writing a happy note to someone can have a very positive impact. Explain to your children how simple acts like this remind others that people are thinking about them and care.


3. Help Siblings With Their Chores

Random acts of kindness don’t always have to be directed at friends or classmates. Explain to your children that, if they have siblings, these nice deeds can be done for them as well. Your child could offer to help their siblings with their chores or make their beds for them one morning. The more kindness your children show to each other, the more they will show it to others.


4. Share A Toy With a Friend

It’s no surprise that kids love their toys.That’s why it’s such a big deal for them to share their beloved toys with others. Suggest that next time they have playtime at school or a playdate with a friend that they offer up one of their favorite toys for another child to play with. It’s not only nice to do, it’s also a lesson in selflessness.


5. Invite A Classmate To Play With Them

As parents, you have all seen or heard about kids getting left out at lunch or the playground. Unfortunately, not all children get treated fairly, and part of your goal during Random Acts of Kindness Week should be to remind your children to include everyone. They should always do it, but tell them to pay special attention this week to children who might need a friend at lunch or on the playground.

What random act of kindness are you sharing with your child this week? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: parenting

Valentine’s Day Cards for Parents

Valentine's Day Card for Parent's

This Valentine’s Day, take some time out of your busy day being a parent to express your love for your partner….by asking for help with the kids! Download and print one of these fun Valentines to give to the one who will understand just how romantic a little help can be. 

 

Parent Valentine'sAs a parent, you know finding time to nap is quite the miracle.
Download To Print Valentine (PDF) 

 

 

For those parents who just want an evening break this Valentine’s Day.

 

 

Parent's Valentine

The best Valentine is someone who can keep you sane during the daily chaos.
Download To Print Valentine (PDF) 


Parent Valentine's

Be as committed to your partner as your kids are to disrupting your sleep.
Download To Print Valentine (PDF)

 

Parent Valentine

Fun fact: You can still express your love while sleeping.
Download To Print Valentine (PDF)

 

Parent Valentine

When you love your Valentine but still wouldn’t mind a little help with the kids.
Download To Print Valentine (PDF)

Non-Toxic Valentine's Day Treats

Non-Toxic Valentine's Day Treats

Valentine’s Day is approaching, so you will need to start considering what treats to bring to school parties or have prepared at home.

Just because it’s a treat doesn’t mean it has to be bad for kids. We’ve rounded up some of the best non-toxic Valentine’s Day treat options to make for your kiddos this year.

 

1.) Fudgy No-Bake Brownie Bites

Dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free, these Fudgy No-Bake Brownies are a great way for your children to get a non-toxic chocolate fix on Valentine’s Day. These are quick to make for those parents who are on-the-go, and they use all-natural ingredients. To make them extra festive, use a cookie cutter to form them into the shape of hearts.


2.) Frozen Strawberries & Yogurt

This cute non-toxic Valentine’s Day treat only takes two ingredients! Frozen strawberries covered in yogurt look festive when cut in half and are still healthy and extremely easy to make.


3.) Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Heart-shaped muffin pans are your best friend for Valentine’s Day parties. Use them to shape these strawberry banana oatmeal muffins, a treat your children will surely love (and that happens to be good for them). These muffins are naturally sweetened with the strawberries and bananas, so they aren’t loaded with excessive amounts of sugar.


4.) Vegan Strawberry Love Bugs

Talk about an adorable treat for Valentine’s Day! Not to mention, these Vegan Strawberry Love Bugs are shockingly simple to make. Choose a vegan dark chocolate and white chocolate to make these ladybugs non-toxic and vegan-friendly.


5.) Honey Bee No Bake Cookies

Helping your children write out Valentine’s, getting party decorations, running your usual errands AND making treats from scratch can be quite a lot to balance in your average day. A no bake recipe, like these honey bee no bake cookies, are a great option for busy parents. Plus, this recipe proves that you can make something that looks intricate and theme-appropriate that is still non-toxic and easy to prepare. These cookies do use peanut butter, so keep that in mind for nut allergies.


What non-toxic treats are you making for your little ones this Valentine’s Day? Share with us in the comments!

Love-Themed Books For Kids

Love-Themed Books For Kids Love is in the air. While your children may feel and see it, they may not understand it.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, use this opportunity to pick some books that will illustrate the concept of love to your children and what it can mean in various situations.

To help with your search, we picked a few of our favorite children’s books about love.


The Big Book of Love

“The Big Book of Love” by Trace Moroney is a great book for those parents who want to show their children all of the different forms of love. The book shows how children can love family, friends and themselves. It also shows children that they don’t only need to show love through gifts and affection, but also through things like acts of service.


Guess How Much I Love You

One of the most popular children’s books about love, “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney is a simple yet beloved story of a father and son pair of Nutbrown Hares comparing their love for each other through different quantities. Parents all over the world have used this book to demonstrate how deeply you can love your family members.


Everyone Says I Love You

If you are looking to expand your children’s cultural understanding, “Everyone Says I Love You” by Beegee Tolpa is a fun book that teaches kids how to say “I love you” in languages from around the world. Along with that, it features pop-ups of famous landmarks, making it interactive.


I Love You Because You’re You

“I Love You Because You’re You” by Liza Baker explains love in a visually unexpected way through a mother fox’s greeting cards to her little one. Specifically, she tells her child that she loves them no matter what, the truest form of unconditional love.


Henry in Love

Innocent and unsure, children show love in the purest of ways, which is why “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty is such a heartwarming love story for children. Henry the cat expresses his love for his classmate, Chloe the bunny, in the best way any little boy can: by sharing his snack. This tale shows how even shy little ones can show their love in big and powerful ways...with muffins.


What books about love do you like to read to your children? Share in the comments!

Tags: parenting