Stay At Home Dad

Dad’s In Charge – Meeting and Learning From A Stay-at-Home Dad, with Chris Bernholdt – RFL035

Dad’s In Charge – Meeting and Learning From A Stay-At-Home Dad– Episode Overview

Our world gets stuck on definitions. This is what a mom does, this is what a dad does. Sometimes our labels and definitions hold us back instead of giving us the freedom to be improvisational parents – parents who are free to show up to what our kids really need in the moment. Parent roles are changing – maybe it is time to lose the label of Mom or Dad and just be fine being a parent. And in this freedom we could be more aware of which parent wants to be home with the kids – and which wants to be out in the workplace? After all, our goal is to connect what is best in us in order to help get our kids ready for life.

Attention and Intention

This week, my attention is on getting rid of parenting labels. My intention is to show that loving and responding to our kids is the purpose and ability of BOTH parents. More dads are staying home, more moms are choosing to work. Can we lose our labels of who does what and be more open to just being parents in a way that makes sense and works for our family?

Meet our guest Chris Bernholdt

Chris Bernholdt Stay At Home DadChris Bernholdt is a stay-at-home dad. A previous teacher and self-proclaimed man with abundant patience, Chris runs the household, allowing his wife to be the career woman she chooses and is talented to be. He writes the blog, DadNCharge – a practical and entertaining blog committed to empowering parents with the knowledge and creativity to raise their children.

Episode’s Key TakeAWays

  1. In a survey, there were 1.1 million stay at home dads in 1989; by 2012, that number had grown to 2.2 million; this number continues to grow.
  2. Being a modern parent, in my mind, means challenging the stereotypes of parenting to decide what is right for your kids to get them ready for life. This could be home schooling, stay-at-home dads, raising them in other countries, etc. It should be that WE choose how to raise our kids to help them show up as their greatest selves and to better understand the world, rather than just follow what everyone else does.
  3. We each are working on being the greatest version of ourselves – we are helping our kids do this as we get them ready for life. What part of parenting helps you be the greatest version of yourself – allows you to use your greatest abilities? Some moms want to be in the workplace, as some dads want to be at home. How can you have an open conversation about what is best for both parents as well as for the kids?
  4. Stay-at-home dad benefits: improved connection, expanded awareness of who each child is, ability to let moms whose passions are in the workplace be in the workplace, share a non-conventional and expanded view of parenting with kids, helping them get past restrictive labels.
  5. Stay-at-home dad challenges: being included in other “mom” related activities (play groups, school support, chaperoning), put down by other dads as not a true dad figure or less strong than conventional dads, discounted by schools as the primary child rearing parent. Eliminating the bias in favor of understanding that the parent who is best suited and most interested in raising the kids should be the one home with the kids regardless of gender or conventional parenting role, will help both raising kids and helping parents step more bolding into their best role.
  6. There is a growing number of stay-at-home dad groups starting locally because it has been difficult for them to be or feel included in “mom” group. The National At-home Dad network provides resources, guidance and an annual conference for at-home dads to meet other at-home dads, get support and build a community of modern dads more involved in the daily activities of their kids lives. www.athomedad.org
  7. A great resource, in addition to the book suggested below, is How to Raise An Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. I’ll feature this again in a future podcast but because we mentioned it during this podcast, I wanted to share it and its link.

Some question for parents:

  1. How are you looking at the role of mom and dad in your family – is there a better way to align responsibilities based on abilities and interests than just following conventional role descriptions of mom and dad?
  2. Who of the parenting has greater patience and greater interest in the daily connection with the kids, and who prefers the workplace?
  3. What bias do you notice you have to a dad showing up in a child’s play group or to an at-home dad?
  4. What ways can you expand your understanding that a great parent shows up to what his or her kids need, and throws away the labels of what moms or dads “do?”

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1.    Stop and Notice what you feel about raising kids – is it your job but you don’t connect with it, or is it not your job and you would love it?
  2.    Stop and Notice how you create labels about what moms and dads do – how will you stop using labels but choose instead to show up to what your kids and their situations require, regardless of your mom or dad title?
  3.    Stop and Notice when moms and dads are judgmental of each other – what can you do to support moms’ and dads’ choices to be the kind of parent they want and need to be for their kids?

Labels rarely serve us. They help us make judgments that are many times very hard to get past. There are some dads who are amazing at raising kids just as there are some moms who are amazing in the workplace. Labels and expectations of what dads do and what moms do  just hold us back. Instead, look at who does what best, then align the roles according to your talents and passions. Each of you will show up more significantly which will improve how you get your kids ready for life.

Suggested Resource:

Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal – Confessions of A Stay At Home Dad – by Scott Benner

Life Is Short For Stay At Home DadsMEN: Ever wonder about stay-at-home dads? What in the name of testosterone do they DO all day with those kids? I mean, are they really men at all, or are they some strange, invasive alien species, sent to Earth to defy and destroy all gender stereotypes?

WOMEN: Ever dream about stay-at-home dads? Do they really wash clothes, pick up after themselves, take great care of your kids, and have dinner waiting for you when you get home? There must be horrible, secret downside that they don’t warn you about, right?

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal provides a rare glimpse into the natural habitat of this most mysterious and splendid of creatures, the North American Stay-at-Home Father (Paternus domesticus). Learn what motivates a man to pursue this noble occupation. Discover the countless joys and periodic sorrows that come with raising a family.

Witness the life and family of Scott Benner, author, activist, humorist, and 12-year stay-at-home dad. When Scott’s daughter, Arden, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two, his world took a sharp turn, but his positive outlook on life did not waver.

Scott’s colloquial wisdom will warm your heart while it challenges your ideas about parenting and gender roles in today’s household. Written from a truly unique point of view in a style both poignant and playful, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal is an honest portrait of the modern family.