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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Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 4

Earth Month Week 4

Earth Month 2018 is coming to an end. I know, we’re sad about it too. It has been an amazing experience.

During the past three weeks, we’ve worked together to help kids love, appreciate, and conserve the planet. We hope you’ve enjoyed the Scavenger Hunt as much as we have, but it’s not over yet!

It’s the fourth and final week of Earth Month, and this week we are showing kids how to nurture Earth in a variety of fun, family-friendly ways. From picking up litter to discussing the importance of plants and trees, our final Scavenger Hunt activities focus on making our planet better, cleaner, prettier, and healthier. 

 

Week 4: Nurture Earth

 

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Pick a meatless meal. Caring for Earth means caring for all its inhabitants, including plants and animals. Challenge your child to think of a meatless meal & make it together!

Find an area to clean up. It doesn’t take much effort to make our planet look pretty. Take your child on a walk or to the park & pick up trash.

Find something to re-purpose. Challenge your child to create a craft using only reused materials.

Pro tip: Milk cartons make a great rocket ship!

Find a tree taller than your house. Help your child learn the importance of trees by showing them how small trees become big trees that breathe oxygen and give birds a home.

Plant seeds. Not only is a garden good for the environment, but it also gives you and your child a special bonding experience.

While completing the Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning!

For more details on how to enter please visit, Earth Month Scavenger Hunt.

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 3

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 3

We want to leave this planet better than we found it, right? It’s time to get the next generation involved! The past two weeks, we have focused on getting kids to love and appreciate the Earth. This week, it’s time to teach them how to protect and improve it.

There are hundreds of ways we can practice conservation, and the earlier we involve children in the process, the more likely they’ll be to develop Earth-friendly habits and practice them throughout their life.

Here are a list of fun Scavenger Hunt activities that you and your family can do together this week.

 

Week 3: Conserve Earth

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Create a mini compost. Make a mini compost with a clear plastic bottle. The clear bottle allows curious kids to see daily changes within the compost, and it’s a great way to recycle food. If you’re not feeling up to the compost challenge, make a list of biodegradable and non-biodegradable foods.

Catch the rain. An important part of conservation is re-purposing. This week, grab a bucket and designate it as the “rain bucket.” When it rains, catch the rain and encourage your child to use the rainwater for watering the house plants or for other activities.

Find a pollinator. Get outside and search for insects that pollinate. Use this opportunity to share why flowers need those special insects.

Have a candlelight night. Electricity isn’t needed to have a fun night at home! Replace the TVs & tablets with books and shadow puppet shows using only candlelight.

Make or play with pinwheels. Teach your child about wind energy with pinwheels! By playing with pinwheels, kids get a visual representation of how powerful the wind is, and it offers the perfect way to start a conversation about wind energy.

While completing the Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning! Check back each Monday in April to unlock the week’s Scavenger Hunt activities and to enter to WIN.

For more details on how to enter please visit, Earth Month Scavenger Hunt.

Scavenger Hunt

 

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 2

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 2

Think about how your child treats his or her favorite toy. They usually know exactly where it’s at all times, right? They protect it. They probably have a difficult time putting it down, and it would break their heart if it broke.

That’s because your child appreciates that toy.

Now, imagine if we could persuade them into appreciating Earth with the same passion. That would be pretty special, wouldn’t it?

Let’s give it a try.

You and your children are invited and encouraged to join our Earth Month Scavenger Hunt! Each week during April we will be sharing 5 activities you can do with your children to teach them how to love and respect the Earth.

The second week of Earth Month focuses on appreciation. Our goal this week is to help kids understand and appreciate everything that our planet has to offer.

Week 2: Earth Appreciation

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Learn fun facts. The Earth is truly a fascinating place. Challenge your child to find fun facts about it.

Play in the rain. Rain is just as important as sunshine, right? Put on your rain boots and do some puddle jumping and take time to share why rain is essential to humans, plants and animals.

Find and trace leaves. Find three different leaves, provide crayons and paper, and ask your child to trace the leaves. Not only does this activity result in beautiful artwork, it also helps children appreciate the amazing differences in nature.

Add a houseplant to your family. A houseplant is a great way to teach your child how to care for and appreciate another living being. This is a wonderful way for children to learn responsibility and accountability. Don’t forget to name your new addition!

Find new wildlife. The Earth is home to many fascinating creatures, critters & plants. Go for a walk & encourage your child to find three different types of wildlife.

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 2
While completing the Week 2 Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning! Check back each Monday in April to unlock the week’s Scavenger Hunt activities and to enter to WIN.

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 1

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Week 1

If we want the next generation to protect the planet, we need to motivate them. What’s a better motivator than love?

We want children to see all the little things that make Earth beautiful—all the things that are often overlooked in the madness of everyday life. By slowing down the pace and opening up to new adventures, children can see that true beauty isn’t confined to screens—it’s everywhere.

It’s our job to help them notice. Let’s make it happen with an Earth Month Scavenger Hunt! Each week during April we will be sharing 5 activities you can do with your children to teach them how to love and respect the Earth.

Week 1: Love Earth

This week, challenge your child to complete these tasks:

Find a fun cloud. Play the cloud shape game with your children and see who can find the most fascinating cloud formation.

Find the north star. Admire the night sky & ask your child how it makes them feel. Talk about constellations or let them fall asleep under the stars.

Go on a nature walk. Take a walk and see how many treasures you can fill your pockets with.

Go on a picnic. Pack your basket full of healthy goodies & enjoy the sounds of nature in a local park or your very own backyard.

Smell the blooms. Signs of spring are all around. Take your child outside to experience its beauty and try finding flowers beginning to bloom. But don’t pick yet, just smell.

While completing the Scavenger Hunt, you can also take part in our Earth Month Giveaway to enter to WIN over $1,000 in prizes!

Sign up to WIN the weekly prize bundle & share photos on social media with the hashtag #LEEarthMonthHunt to enter to win a Grand Prize worth over $1000 from our Planet-loving friends: Bitsy’s Brainfood, Bumbleride, EZPZ, Happy Family, Lullaby Earth, Olen Organics, and organicKidz.

Each photo shared counts as a unique entry - the more you share, the better your chances of winning! Check back each Monday in April to unlock the week’s Scavenger Hunt activities and to enter to WIN.

For more details on how to enter please visit our Earth Month Scavenger Hunt.

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt

Single Parent Self Care

Single Parent Self Care

While all parents need to take some time for themselves, single parents especially need to make sure to carve out time for self care. As a single parent, you are always so busy caring for others that you most likely forget about yourself! But don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can indulge in some “me time” to avoid the burnout.

 

Go For A Walk

Raising your child solo, you likely run from place to place all day as well as chase them around inside. Not only are you probably craving some peace and quiet, you most likely also just want a little sunshine in your life. Whether you get a quick sitter or put your child in daycare, find the time at least once a week to take a walk by yourself. You will get to reset your mind and enjoy the outdoors.

 

Find Time For Exercise

Scheduling time to sweat it out may seem difficult to do as a single parent, but it’s worth it! Working out has multiple perks, including stress-relief and health benefits, that are especially necessary for single parents. Find half an hour to an hour for a quick exercise session, and your job as a parent may just seem a little less overwhelming. Luckily, there are many resources online to help you do stretches, workouts or yoga at home. Just search YouTube or Google to find your favorite exercise tutorials.

If you are able to get to the gym, many now have daycares who will watch your children while you exercise.

 

Go To Dinner With A Friend

Many of the best self care tips for single parents, including this one, require asking for help. As a single parent, probably the most important thing to remember is it’s okay to get a babysitter when you need to focus on you. There’s no shame in admitting that after a day of being with a child (or children), you crave some grown-up time. At least once month try to schedule a dinner with a friend or go see a movie not suitable for 4 year olds. You deserve it!

 

Get Up Early For “Me Time”

Getting up a little early may not seem like your favorite idea because it’s less sleep, but even getting up just 15 minutes before your kids can have a huge impact on your day. Use that time to drink coffee, read or just relax so you aren’t immediately thrown into the chaos as soon as your feet leave your bed.

 

Single parents, how do you practice self care? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: dads, moms, parenting

When To Transition Baby From Crib To Toddler Bed

When To Transition Baby From Crib To Toddler Bed

Your baby is growing before your eyes. Just like that, they go from infant to toddler.

This is both exciting and terrifying, and it involves a lot of changes. You start to adjust their food, their daily routine and maybe even their sleep schedule. But when is it time to upgrade them from a crib to their toddler bed?

There’s not a definitive answer, but experts have shared some tips and signs that it’s time for your child to sleep in their toddler bed.

 

Age Can Be a Factor

Since many parents are age-minded when it comes to transitions, a lot of you probably want to know the preferred age to transition your child. Most children end up transitioning between 1 ½ years old and 3 ½ years old, the majority of them switching in the later portion of that as many little ones will not be ready early. Don’t make the decision solely on age, but you should consider it.

 

Think About How it Affects Potty Training

We aren’t saying move to a toddler bed as soon as you begin potty training your child, but it could play a factor when you are considering if you want to make the switch. Placing your child in a room near the toilet and transitioning them to their toddler bed will make potty training and avoiding overnight accidents much easier. Potty training should not be the only reason you switch, but keep it in mind.

 

Toddlers Need A Slightly Less Firm Mattress Than Infants

Babies and infants need a firm mattress to prevent them from moving to a vulnerable position at night. The question then becomes when is it appropriate to flip your child’s Lullaby Earth 2-Stage Crib Mattress to the cushion firm toddler side for more comfort? Most children transition around the age of one year, but each baby has different needs and your pediatrician can give you the go-ahead to make the switch. Learn more here.

How did you know it was time to transition your child to their toddler bed? Let us know in the comments!