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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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!

Tackling The Toddler Bed Transition

Tackling The Toddler Bed Transition

Transitions are challenging, regardless of age or situation. They can be even more difficult when the one making the transition is too young to understand the need for the change. You are a parent of a toddler now, which means your life is filled with changes and growth, and sometimes it feels overwhelming.

One of the changes you and your little one will soon face is the transition from a crib to a toddler bed. We know there are questions that come with the change, and we want to tackle a few of them.

Please remember to always consult your child’s pediatrician before transitioning them to a toddler bed.

 

When is the right time to transition a toddler?

 

Unlike many other toddler transitions, there isn’t an exact “right” time to make the toddler bed change— but there are several safety factors that are important to consider. The general rule is to make the transition before your child is able to climb out of the crib because that can lead to injuries. Typically, toddlers are able to climb out of the crib when they reach 35-37 inches, and most parents choose to make the transition between ages 2-3.

Some parents postpone the transition until ages 3-4 to prevent middle-of-the-night waking and wandering. If you choose to wait, here are a few tips to keep your child safe:

Lower the mattress to the floor.This prevents your child from climbing and falling.

Turn the crib around. Be sure the side with the higher bars faces outward. This makes it more difficult for children to escape.

Baby-proof the surrounding areas. One of the most common issues parents face during this time is wandering. When children are able to climb out of the crib, they will. Make sure their room and the surrounding rooms are safe, just in case.

 

How can we make the toddler bed transition go smoothly?

 

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee an easy toddler bed transition, but there are a few strategies you can try!

Make it a big deal. Kids are always in a rush to grow up, aren’t they? Use that to your advantage. Play up the fact that this is a step toward your child becoming a “big kid,” and they will be more motivated to make it work.

Emphasize independence. As kids get older, they crave independence and responsibility. Explain the importance of changing beds by stressing the fact that you trust them to be more independent. It’s also a good idea to include your child as you set up a sleep schedule and create bedtime rules. Work together to figure out a time to go to bed. Ask your child which activity they want to do before falling asleep (reading, talking, etc.). When children feel like they are part of the decision-making, they are more likely to cooperate for a positive result.

Get excited! Kids often feed off enthusiasm—if you’re excited, they will be excited! Take your child to the store to pick out new sheets and blankets for his/her new big kid bed.

With the help of these tips and tricks, tackling the toddler bed transition can be fun and simple!

5 Ways to Prepare for School Success

5 Ways to Prepare for School Success

Transitioning from home life to school life for the first time can be challenging for both parent and child. With every new chapter comes new adjustments, right?

Let’s get your child ready for school success with 5 simple ways to prepare them for the journey ahead.

 

1. Start a Schedule Now.

One of the most important adjustments children must make is staying on schedule. Weeks before the first day of school, create a schedule with your child. Include a wake-up time, chore time, lunch time, nap time, play time, bed time, etc. The earlier they get used to a schedule, the easier time they will have with time management at school.

 

2. Go Out and Have Adventures.

While in school, your child will be experiencing all new things. New people, new personalities, and new challenges. By taking them out to new places beforehand, you can slowly expose them to new scenes, behaviors, and people. It’s a fun, subtle way to teach them how to interact in new surroundings.

 

3. Set Up a Chore Chart.

Not only will this help you keep the house clean, but it also teaches children about responsibility and accountability—two very important aspects of thriving in the classroom!

 

4. Take Time Away.

We know you’re going to miss them when they’re at school, and you want to spend as much time with them as possible while you can. But it’s important to get them ready for spending time away from you. Ask relatives to take them to lunch alone. Get grandparents involved, if possible. Set up playdates. Do anything you can to help them feel confident in their independence!

 

5. Get Excited!

Starting this journey can be scary for children, but excitement is contagious. Tell your child about your favorite school moments. Talk about your favorite teacher. Make a big deal about shopping for backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies. If you show them how exciting this time is, they will reciprocate the feeling.

Tags: kids, parenting

Keep Your Kids Safe This Fourth of July

Keep Your Kids Safe This Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a holiday known for lights, sounds and sun. This makes Independence Day exciting, but also an especially risky day for babies and toddlers. Young children are much more sensitive than adults, and there are a lot of hazards that children won’t understand at Fourth of July cookouts and events.

Follow these general safety tips for the Fourth so you and your children can have the best and safest holiday ever.

 

Protect Their Ears

More than adults, babies’ ears are particularly sensitive. You may want your little ones to experience the light and beauty of fireworks, but you don’t want to the loud booms to damage their ears. Invest in some noise-cancelling headphones or earmuffs so that your child can still take in one of the biggest traditions of July Fourth and stay safe.
 

Mind the Grill

Toddlers have a curiosity that many of us envy. This curiosity also tends to put them in dangerous situations. While one of the best parts of celebrating the Fourth of July is the cookouts and the food, we need to mind the curious children around us. Teach your children to not go near the grill when it’s on because it gets hot and smoky. Also, examine your grill before you use it to make sure there are no cracks, holes or leaks.

 

Practice Water Safety

The Fourth of July can be one of the hottest days of the year. Baby pools are, therefore, fun and smart things to include in kids’ Fourth of July parties. They may cool down your babies and toddlers, but don’t forget that children can drown in even an inch of water. Keep an eye on your child at all time, or opt for a sprinkler which is a safer option and still keeps them playing in the water.

 

Never Forget Sunscreen

Since the Fourth of July occurs during a day when the sun’s rays are strongest, and you may likely be celebrating at an outdoor cookout, don’t forget to protect your baby from a dangerous sunburn. Apply a non-toxic sunscreen on your child, such as Babyganics sunscreen, and reapply regularly throughout the day.

 

Avoid “At-Home” Pyrotechnics

While it’s best to avoid bottle rockets and sparklers all together, sometimes you will be at events where you cannot control what others do. These “at-home” pyrotechnics are extremely dangerous, especially near a baby who doesn’t know how or why to stay away from these explosives. If these sorts of activities are happening near you and your baby, head inside and enjoy the festivities there.

 

What safety tips do you have for your child during the Fourth of July? Share with us in the comments!