How to Be a Stay at Home Dad

Did you know a study found that infants between 7 and 30 months respond more favorably to being picked up by their fathers than their mothers? [1] Of course, this doesn't go to say that having one parent care for children instead of the other parent is beneficial. Both parents play critical roles in the development of children. However, there was a time when having a stay-at-home father was unheard of.

According to a study by Robert Frank, having a stay-at-home father rather than a stay-at-home mother will not necessarily cause a stronger bond between children and their father versus the bond between children and their mother.[2]

Deciding which parent, if either, should stay home with children can be a daunting decision for many. This article should help guide fathers who are making the decision to become a stay-at-home father.


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    Do some soul-searching. Make sure you’re okay with your wife being the breadwinner, and discuss what you will be expected to do. Are you signing on to do all the housework, cooking, and childcare? Or are you just agreeing to take care of the kids?
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    Consider your career. Think about how you might balance being a stay-at-home dad with your career goals. Consider asking your employer if you could work part-time and/or from home. Or beef up your resume during your hiatus by squeezing in a few business courses or working toward an advanced degree.
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    Find support. Join a support group to avoid becoming isolated. Stay-at-home dads often find that they are not welcomed into the female-only coffee klatches. There are websites that will match you with dads in your area.
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    Expect a little jealousy. If your wife exhibits a little jealousy when the children begin running to you with their problems, be sensitive. The arrangement may take some getting used to for everyone.
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    Take parenting classes. If you are feeling unsure of your abilities, take some parenting classes. One study found that the happiest stay-at-home dads were the ones who had confidence in their childcare skills.
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    Take pride in your work. Don’t worry about what other people may think about your staying home to take care of the kids. Remind yourself that the work you are doing is important, and that doing it well is something to be proud of.


  • Get the neighborhood stay-at-home moms and dads to warm up to you by hosting a dinner party so they can meet your wife and their husbands can meet you.

Sources and Citations

  • Howcast - Original source of video and text; shared with permission
  1. Gill, Libby (2001). Stay-At-Home Dads: The Essential Guide to Creating the New Family. New York: Penguin Group.
  2. Frank, Robert. The Role of the Primary Caregiving Father. Loyola University of Chicago, 1995.

Article Info

Categories: Parenting