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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Are There Monsters Under The Bed Or Is it A Nightmare?

You hear cries or whimpers coming from your child’s room in the middle of the night. Worse yet, they run into your room scared. Your child is experiencing a nightmare.

To a child, a nightmare is very real and very terrifying. As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to alleviate this fear. It can be difficult to explain a bad dream to your child, so you have to help them understand it in inventive ways so they can go back to sleep.

 

1.) Teach lessons of facing fears

When your child is frightened, you want to comfort them. That’s okay, but encouraging them to always run to you when they experience a nightmare is bad for their sleep and won’t help them handle scary dreams in the long-run. Talk to your child about the importance of facing their fears and read them books that enforce the same message. You can sit with them in their room every once in a while after a bad dream, just try not to do it too frequently. 

 

2.) Get them used to the dark

As a toddler, it’s not only scary being in a room alone, it’s even more scary to do it in the dark. For many of them darkness equates to danger, inspiring nightmares. Try playing games in the dark, like flashlight tag. This will help acclimate your child to become less afraid of the dark. If that still doesn’t work, try dim nightlights (not too bright as it will disrupt sleep). It may not work for all children, but it could be an effective tool for some.

 

3.) Find them a friend

Once your child is a toddler and can start safely having toys in the bed with them, try seeing if a stuffed best friend will help them sleep. Having a friend in bed will make them feel safe and secure, either reducing nightmares or making them feel more secure when they do still happen. Some children go as far as feeling protective over their stuffed animal, making them braver.

 

4.) Practice relaxation with them

One of the best ways to get your children to stop running to you after a nightmare is to teach them some relaxation techniques to deter nightmares. The simple task of focusing on breathing in and out can help them fall back to sleep peacefully and recover from a nightmare.

 

5.) Help them feel safe in their room help

One of the simplest things you can do for your child is make sure they feel secure at home. To avoid your child getting scared, try to create a calming environment that will lull them back to sleep. Their sleep is important to their development, so the best thing you can do is to make their room feel like a safe haven. Incorporate decor centered around things they like, that way they will feel comfortable alone and less likely to have nightmares.

Here’s to only sweet dreams for you and your little ones!

Baby Bump Halloween Costumes

Lullaby Earth Blog | Baby Bump Halloween Costumes

It’s officially spooky season, ladies. It’s time to bust out your favorite scary movies, grab some candy, and pick out the perfect costume. Halloween is even more fun if you get to share it with someone special. No, we’re not talking about a significant other—we’re talking about your baby bump.

Are you dressing for two this year? Because we’ve got 10 spooktacular baby bump costume ideas for you!

Sunny Side Up Egg – You and your little one will look egg-cellent. It’s cute, it’s comical, and it’s easy to make—perfect for expectant moms who want something simple. (You can also make this idea into a family affair)

Bun in the Oven – A great costume idea for parties, the Bun in the Oven is sure to crack a smile on everyone’s face. (And it’s ready for purchase right now, click the link!)

The Gum Ball Machine – If you have a white top, a red skirt, you’re already almost done with the costume! Stick some colorful pom-poms on the t-shirt and it’s complete. It’s adorable and easy to make.

The Basketball Couple – Feeling sporty? You and your partner can dress up as a basketball player and a ball—the baby being the ball, of course. Check out the link to purchase non-toxic paint for your belly.

Bowling Pin and Bowler – Following the couple’s costume theme, check out this cute idea!

Winnie the Pooh – With or without a Christopher Robin, the Pooh idea is perfect.

Prego – This hilarious costume idea is easy to make and doesn’t cost much.

The Mummy – While this one may take a little time to make, it’s punny and fierce!

Mother Nature – This costume is more intricate, but it will be worth the effort.

The Great Pumpkin – Sometimes painting your baby bump is the best way to go, and you can never have too many pumpkins this time of year.

We hope you and your baby bump have a Happy Halloween!

Do I need a Waterproof Pad on a Waterproof Mattress?

Do I Need a Waterproof Pad on a Waterproof Mattress | Lullaby Earth Blog

You ask, we answer!

Preparing your child’s nursery can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to equipping their crib. When researching, you see companies offering not just mattresses, but toppers, waterproof pads, changing pads, etc. Especially if you are purchasing a waterproof mattress, things can get confusing when figuring out what you actually need and what is just a nice addition.

The biggest question we see when it comes to accessories for a waterproof crib mattress is, “Should I also purchase a waterproof protector pad?”

While it is not required for you to add a waterproof protector pad, we certainly recommend it. In fact, we recommend buying two! But why?

 

1.) Prevents Bacteria

Adding a waterproof pad on top of the mattress is one of best ways to prevent bacteria from getting on the mattress. Without the topper, “occurrences” such as urine, drool, etc. will cause the sheet that is directly on the mattress to get damp and possibly cause bacteria. A waterproof protector pad is a smart extra barrier for messy babies.


2.) Makes Clean-Up Easier

Without the pad, if an accident happens, you will need to wipe down the mattress with antibacterial soap and water after every occurrence to keep your child’s sleeping surface healthy and to avoid set-in stains. Imagine waking up to a fussing baby to have to clean...it’s never fun. And clearly, it isn’t the most effective use of precious time you could be sleeping. If you choose to use a Breeze waterproof pad as well, after a nighttime accident you can simply throw the pad in the wash and head back to bed!


3.) Two Pads Keep Accidents At Bay

When it comes to adult sheets, many of us keep a spare set in case we spill and need to wash the first set. With the same logic, if you buy two pads, you won’t have to worry about bacteria on the mattress if your child happens to have another accident while you are washing the first pad. It’s a great, affordable investment.


Have more questions about our waterproof crib mattress or waterproof pad? Ask us in the comments!

Working Parent Tips

Working Parent Tips | Lullaby Earth Blog

For more and more working parents, work-life balance is becoming even more desirable. You don’t want meetings to take precedence over soccer games and you don’t want to pause playtime to answer an email. In the same accord, you don’t want your work to suffer either.

It is possible to not only work and parent, but also succeed at both! We spoke to three of our very own working parents to see  how they manage maintaining success in their career and still enjoy quality time with their children.

 

You don’t have to be at every event...just the big ones

You are a parent. Your kids are the most important thing to you. So even as a working parent, you want to be there for every practice and event. Don’t hold yourself to that standard because not even stay-at-home parents do. To lessen the load, don’t be afraid to be picky about what you attend.

If you follow this advice, you won’t have to constantly worry about leaving work on time, and you will still be there for the occasions that count.

 

Multitask your preparations

Since mornings are no doubt chaotic and daytime is out of the question since you are working, after work is your best bet for getting your kids bags all assembled and their lunches packed. As a working parent, this may be your time to focus on the kids, but don’t forget to prepare yourself as well so you aren’t scrambling at work the next day. 

“Pack your own lunch the night before, too! I can get focused on making sure the kids needs are taken care of that I neglect myself. When you’re packing kids lunches, don’t forget yours as well,” Hilary T. says.

 

When you have time for outings, make them as stress-free as possible

No matter where you work, it’s bound to be stressful at points. That’s why when you have time with your kids, you don’t want that to carry on during these moments. When you find time outside of work to enjoy the zoo with your kids or take them shopping, try to set aside just a few minutes beforehand to pack a bag.

“Pre-planning is important. Have food and things ready for kids anywhere you are going to go,” Arin S. says.

This way, the time you get with your kids is fun and relaxed versus stressed and chaotic.

 

Embrace the little moments

As a working parent, time with your little ones is precious. Even when with them, however, it’s normal to get stressed about work. To truly balance parenthood and career, you need to take active steps to be fully in the moment for both.

“I don’t use my phone while I’m playing with them unless it’s to take a cute picture. We also have dinner together every night,” Jaime R. says. 

And as Jaime went on to explain, sometimes these little moments are worth a change in schedule...even if it means going in to work a little later than you had hoped.

How do you balance family life and being a working parent? Let us know in the comments!

Lullaby Earth is MADE SAFE Certified

Lullaby Earth is MADE SAFE Certified | Lullaby Earth Blog

There is absolutely nothing more important than the wellbeing of your baby. Because of this you have a lot of companies promising you the best in health, the best in non-toxic, the best in safety. But how do you know what products are truly designed to protect your child and what companies are just trying to upsell you with exaggerated claims?

 Looking for certifications is your best bet for finding out if a company is actually producing organic or non-toxic products. At Lullaby Earth we make sure unbiased, credible organizations certify our product to the most stringent non-toxic standards, including MADE SAFE.

 

MADE SAFE is...

America’s first nontoxic seal for everyday products. MADE SAFE began when the founders realized that the products their families use day in and day out are often made with unsafe ingredients for both parents and children. Because of this, MADE SAFE only certifies products that are made without ingredients or materials that cause human health harm and do not release harmful vapors, gases or by-products.

 Specifically, any product that is MADE SAFE certified protects us from the following:

-Behavioral toxins
-Carcinogens
-Developmental toxins
-Endocrine disruptors
-Fire retardants
-Heavy metals
-Neurotoxins
-High-risk pesticides
-Reproductive toxins
-Toxic solvents
-Harmful VOCs

See our Made Safe Certification.

A non-profit organization that provides America’s first comprehensive health-focused certification, MADE SAFE does more than just certify, however. They also take extra steps to help individuals and companies make better choices. Such as:

1. Make it easy to find and buy non-toxic products
2. Give companies a roadmap for making safe products
3. Help retailers select non-harmful products.

Have more questions about MADE SAFE? Ask us in the comments!

15 Healthier Snacks for Back to School

 

Summer has ended and school is back in session.

Soon your schedules will be filled with drop-offs, pick-ups, after school clubs, homework, and more. While this time of year can be stressful, it can also be the perfect time to try new things. Since your child is already preparing for new challenges, new friends, and new classes, why not add new foods to the list? And while we’re at it, let’s make it new healthier foods! We’ve created a list of our 15 favorite healthier snack foods.

 

Ready, set, snack!