Stay-at-Home Dads: How to make it work
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JOHNER RIEHL: These days many parents make it work by having both parents on incomes. Well, some are able to keep one spouse making money, while the other cares for the kids. While in the past many might assume, that staying at home is the mom’s role, a recent analysis of US senses data, shows that 1/6 stayed-at-home parents is a stayed-at-home dad. And it turns out it is possibly we might have been using those terms like stayed-at-home totally wrong. Today we are going to be talking all about stayed-at-home dads, how they make it work for their families and hopefully lots, lots more. This is Parent Savers!
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody to Parent Savers: your online on the go support group for parents with infants and toddlers. And pre-schoolers I’d say now. We are sort of expending it a little bit up. But really, if you have kid before elementary school, you are in the right place. I am your host Johner Riehl, thanks so much to our loyal listeners who join us every time we release a new episode, and to those who continue these conversations with us on Facebook and Twitter. So make sure to check our Parent Savers app where you can listen to all of the episodes wherever you go. Or how would you like to get a podcast? So this is Johner. I am here with Sunny. How about some more details on how people can get involved with the show?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah! So, we are recording a little bit differently for Parent Savers. Actually for all the New Mommy Media shows. And we want to invite all of our listeners to participate. So it is now easier than ever to join our shows. Basically all you need is a desktop or a laptop computer, a good internet connection and Google Chrome. And I will send you a link. And you can join our show that way, which is great, because you don’t need a baby-sitter anymore to be able to come to our studio, which is what we are trying to avoid. So totally different way of recording! If you are interested, go to our website at www.newmommymedia.com , there is quick form that you can fill up, just give us a little bit more information about you. There is also a link there to our Facebook page where we post all of the topics and times that we are going to be recording. And so we are just hoping to connect with a lot more listeners out. So hopefully you can join us.
JOHNER RIEHL: Then you can record in your pyjamas!
SUNNY GAULT: I am in my pyjamas! I didn’t get out of my pajamas!
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, we’ve got actually quite a few dads joining us today as well. And I don’t know if they are in their pajamas or not. That’s the beauty of these new formats. So hey guys, will you introduce yourself so we could knew who we are talking to?
CHRIS: Yes, this is Chris and for today’s show I am actually naked! So that’s how free I am today! I am here with my podcast partner Will. We are Dads On Doody. Will, say hello?
WILL: Hello, and I am fully clothed! That’s Doody: Doody!
CHRIS: Well, my name is Chris. I am actually a small business owner. I’ve got three kids: 7, 5 and 2. Will and I both have three kids. And we, as fathers, don’t see a lot of dad-focused content out there. Didn’t see a lot of dad focused content out there. So we decided to make our own podcast. So we’ve recording for nine months. We both have relatively flexible careers, so even though we are not staying home dads, we do spend a lot of time flexing back to home to help out taking kids to practices, and doctors appointments, and things like that.
WILL: Yeah, in fact this weekend I am covering for my wife with two of our kids. She is off on a girls scout retreat with our oldest daughter. We have three: eight, six and three. So I’m feeling really in the groove for this show.
JOHNER RIEHL:Nice! You guys are my people! We also have another Chris?
CHRIS A: Yes! Well, I am not naked; I am actually sitting in a car right now. I am a private investigator and I am staring at a house, waiting for the claim to leave. So you are taking a video of this person who is probably cheating the system. But anyway, I have a one year old. His name is Oliver. And my job gives me the flexibility to where I can stay home like three to four days a week and work, you know, three to four days here and there. It is depending on how the work goes and my wife is a registered nurse. We are able to kind of jumble our schedules and make it work, and to fit it in. And I also take of a hundred and ten pound Great Dane as well. So I have my hands full, and it’s new to me, and we are making it work, and we are having fun doing it.
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice! Awesome! Thanks for joining us! And then Garrett?
GARRETT MASSEY: Yeah, hey! Garrett Massey here: stayed-at-home dad up until recently, also a small business owner. I manufacture swaddle blankets and baby wash gloves under Cozy Babe, is the name of the business. I have four kids: a five year old, two three year olds…Actually almost four. And the forth one is coming in July, July 1st. So yeah, I am keeping it going and I am batting a thousand. I have four girls, so I am definitely done after this!
JOHNER RIEHL: Wait a minute! I forgot to tell you about myself for quick. I have three boys. So does that mean I am batting 0?
GARRETT MASSEY: Oh, man! No everybody is batting you thousand!
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice!
GARRETT MASSEY: Everybody is always asking: are you going for a boy? And I am always like: no, man, I got all my girls and I am good! So yeah, I am excited for this podcast!
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice! And so yeah, I am Johner. I have three boys: a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old and almost five-year-old. And I too work from home. And I’ve been sort of able to do some hobbies like podcasting… Well, I don’t really, you know…You don’t get a lot of hobbies when you are a working-home dad. But maybe drinking with my friends whenever I can sneak that in. Anyway… Sunny, tell us about yourself?
SUNNY GAULT:Yes! So I am the minority in this conversation! I am a mom! And I also have even kids: I’ve got two boys and two girls. My boys are my oldest two of five and a four year old. And then I have twin girls that are two and a half.
JOHNER RIEHL: By my calculation I think we all have like 38 kids!
SUNNY GAULT: Hell of a lot of kids!
GARRETT MASSEY: How many children are accountable for?
SUNNY GAULT: We could start a daycare basically!
JOHNER RIEHL: Thanks everyone for joining us! We are looking forward to this conversation!
SUNNY GAULT:Alright, so before we kick off our conversation today, we are going to talk about a news headline that I found. That excuse it is a little bit older than our Parent Savers audience, but it’s something we as parents are always thinking about. And we are always thinking about our kid’s future and how we would motivate them, and inspire them. And I know we’ve done some episodes on the Parent Savers about building up our kid’s confidence, and how do we do this. So I just thought this was a really great article. It is called: Why doesn’t every single elementary and middle school participate in this inspiring tradition?
That is like the longest headline ever! But the jest is that there was a school district who basically had their seniors, so graduating seniors in high school, come back down to the elementary school in their caps and gowns, and they had all of the elementary school kids lined up on either side of the hallways. And they basically kind of paraded them around, and you know, kind of gave all the kids hi-fives, and just kind of like…Is it inspirational thing to be like: hey, I did this, I accomplished this? And you know, there are some pictures online, we can post it to our Facebook page.
The little kids are like, you know, clapping for them. They are like little celebrities, these high-schoolers. And so I thought it was kind of a cool idea. And I kind of agree with the headline. Like why don’t we do this more often? I don’t see a downside to this? Maybe you guys do? But you know, it’s just kind of a nice positive thing where we give our kids, you know, some inspiration for what they can achieve in the future. So Johner, what do you think about this kind of thing, making it a tradition, having other school doing something like this?
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, I think this sounds really cool. I haven’t heard of this before. And I think it is cool from the young kid’s perspective, but also from the senior’s perspective. Just positive thing all around! It’s a really, really neat idea and I really kind of want to talk to the folks around here to get something like that going. Have you guys heard of anything like this?
CHRIS: Yeah, I actually hear about it. But usually it is like around Halloween. They walk around and they get to see the costumes. So maybe a Halloween one, a Graduation one, and maybe we do a Valentine’s one. Everybody cool parade!
JOHNER RIEHL: No, but it does make me think about like what an influence that even what we present to our kids can be just any sort of [inaudible08:09]. These high-school seniors are saying that they never really realized that the kids looked up to them so much. If you read the article, she says, one of them is saying: I never knew how much of an influence we are having on these younger kids! And so not only from the young kid’s perspective for them to see these people like: hey, let’s present some people to look up to make sure you graduate high-school. But then also gives some confidence to the seniors. And really make them think about their role in society and not just about themselves.
GARRETT MASSEY: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Because so many people, they are not connected to the community like they used to be. I mean, everybody is on their cellphones, everybody’s got their small group they are in, they don’t realize what impact they have on the rest of the community. And to get out there and to see these kids looking at them, like looking up to them. I mean, there’re literally on the ground looking up to them. And it’s probably a wild feeling to those high-school seniors going out in the world realizing that their actions have reactions and consequences.
WILL: It is cool. It is fun. I think it is always good to look back on where you’ve come from. So I can imagine those high-school seniors thinking back to the elementary school and being reminded how far they’ve progressed and especially at that time where they are about to go to a new and bigger world. It is also funny going back into elementary schools these days, do you remember how small thing were: small chairs and tables? Trying to sit in those chairs and tables again is pretty funny!
JOHNER RIEHL: Have you guys ever gone back to like the elementary school you went to and just realized: it is not as big as I remember it?
SUNNY GAULT: Or cool! It is not as cool as I remember!
CHRIS: Oh, I totally dominated the playground this time around. I took my kids last summer, fairly awesome, way better than I was!
JOHNER RIEHL: Nobody beat me a kickball!
CHRIS: Yeah! I could dunk!
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice! No, it is a really cool thing! So let’s spread the word about it. If you guys like it, let’s spread the word about. Like I said, I am going to talk to our community about it. I think it is a really cool think!
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, everybody! Welcome to Parent Savers! We are going to actually dive into the conversation now. Today we are talking about stayed-at-home dads. So welcome everybody to the conversation! So let’s talk about stayed-at-home dads! And I think that there are maybe different definitions. Do you guys have any ideas of like what it means to you to be a stayed-at-home dad?
WILL: Well, one thing that we found in everything is that stayed-at-home dads recently, and even in our own experience as being sort of partial stayed-at-home dads, we are working, but we are also spending some time at home, is that the definition is evolving and it is much more fluid than perhaps it used to be with stayed-at-home parents, where often times that person who is primarily staying at home, maybe the primary caretaker, is also doing some other things on aside as well. So the three dads, we talked to you recently, all had small side jobs that they were doing within the home, that allowed them to do both.
CHRIS: Yeah, but they were really varied. So one guy used to tour, he was a touring musician. And while he was a touring musician he started getting into promotion and development, and he made that his full-time job, it was sort of a natural progression for him. Another guy just released a parenting app called KidReview which we promoted on our podcast, which was pretty cool and perfect for Mother’s Day. And another guy, he is actually a professional fantasy sports player. And we wanted to talk to him about that. And he just wanted to talk to us about how first and foremost he was actually a stayed-at-home dad.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, that’s really interesting! And I think that… I mean you already talked about the cocktail conversations that you have, and like everyone say: what do you do? What do you do? But really, a lot of us, I know I do, and I would imagine you guys do too, sort of identify as a dad first?
CHRIS: Well, the fantasy sports guy, we asked him that question and he said: I am a degenerate gambler and see what happens.
CHRIS: Yeah I definitely think that the stayed-at-home term is…for moms and dads, is changed in a lot of second source of incomes from night jobs, or weekend jobs, to even a lot of at-home businesses. But I definitely identify with him that being a stayed-at-home full-time parent is a lot of work. And sometimes people want to talk about the side things that they have going on, but it is like, you know…This is a lot of work. And so yeah, it is definitely. I think the term is changing because I don’t know too many people where there is just one person not doing income generation aside of saving money on a nanny or a pre-school.
JOHNER RIEHL: But I still feel like we stored at a place where if you say you are a stayed-at-home mom, or a stayed-at-home dad, that sort of the impression that people get is like: you are not doing anything else besides just the care-leading.
GARRETT MASSEY: Yeah, and which is far from the truth!
JOHNER RIEHL: Totally!
GARRETT MASSEY: We had nanny for several years, and then we decided to do the stayed-at-home dad, and start my own business thing. And I mean, it is just an eye opener! You realize how much… You think you know how much work it is until you are actually there and, you know, it is non-stop, no breaks, no this and that, you know, you are always on a go: you are always folding laundry, doing dishes, changing diapers, running errands. If you are trying to get it where you can chill a little bit with the spouse when they get home or with the partner when they get home. You are always on… there is no turning it off. I actually prefer to be a nanny, so that way I can clock out and go do my own thing. But you are a stayed-at-home dad. I mean, you get a lot of fulfillment out of it, but are so much work! And I was actually at an event recently. And this lady was talking about how she was at home, with her kids for couple years. And the speaker, he said: oh, man, I haven’t had a day off in my entire life. And I would have loved to have been a stayed-at-home full-time, or whatever. And I am like: dude, you don’t even know how much work goes into it. I mean, I just cringed.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, there’s that cartoon that I’ve that it is like a Monday morning for people without kids and this is totally a generalization! But it is sort of [inaudle13:39] that point. Getting of the elevator and you are like: oh, I can’t believe I have to be back at work. And people with kids on Monday morning, they are going to the office like: yes, I am at the office, I don’t have to worry about the weekend.
GARRETT MASSEY: Cold-calling is so much more attractive now than it used to be without the kids.
CHRIS: You mentioned the stigma and I think it’s still there and real for whether you are a stayed-at-home mom or a stayed-at-home dad. I know Will’s wife is a primary stayed-at-home caretaker and she also happens to have a Harvard MBA so she is extremely bright and educated, but it still seems like there is a stigma that that is somehow a lesser role in our world than to having a career, a real career.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, totally! And I think it all comes down to what people are prizing and valuing.
WILL: You point though about being really physical and really fatiguing is… I mean, I can just tell you from this weekend where I’ve been alone with two of them. 10 o'clock rolls around…I mean I think I’ve got them to bed at like 9:30 the last two nights, cause that’s the best that I can do. And by time 10 o’clock rolls around, I am lights out.
JOHNER RIEHL: Hack, even me and my wife, that’s put the kids to bed: there’s not too much hangout time afterwards.
WILL: I needed extra coffee yesterday. Extra-large iced coffee in the afternoon just to make it. Pathetic!
JOHNER RIEHL: So I looked up…We looked up some statistics on this. And there’s a website called The National At-Home Dad Network which is sort of like a community for advice and advocacy for at-home dads. And according to them the last statistics from 2009 which at this point is like seven years ago. And they are saying there are 1.4million stayed-at-home dads. And I got to think that number is increased a lot since then.
WILL: Well, all the technology that we have makes it so much easier to be flexible in terms of creative work structure that I have to think that it has had a huge impact on people’s ability to do that.
JOHNER RIEHL: You guys…So I work from home, full time, but work from home. Our office is based in LA and I am in San Diego. But I end up doing a lot of the pickup for kids at school. My wife does the drop off. We figured to juggle. At some point I kind of feel like I am at-home dad, right?
GARRETT MASSEY: Yeah, I mean working from home is impossible. Especially if the kids are…If you don’t have a designated space to like kind of shut yourself off. I know that was always a challenge for me. I was thinking I am going to be at home with the kids and I will get all this time to work on the business. And it is nothing, you know, further than the truth. You are still up late at night doing the work. Because the kids, they need your attention. If you get breaks, when you get breaks, if you are structured in there, you know, that’s for 15minutes and you can’t just…you can’t dig into things that take your brain too much time to process if you get only 15minutes…At least for me, I don’t know, I am not a genius so…Maybe takes other people less time. But yeah, I think working from home is like basically being a stayed-at-home person. If your kids are there because they are like always knocking on the door: hey, can you come out…
JOHNER RIEHL: Do you guys have your own space at home? For those that work at home?
GARRETT MASSEY: Not me. I had the garage, but my internet connection didn’t work out in the garage. And it gets hot, and cold. And then I had the table over here and then…But that’s out in the open.
CHRIS: I am a small business owner and so sometimes I am working at home and I also have a place of business. But when I am at home we have a little office space, but now seems to overrun by kids toys. And it is never really a sacred place. Somebody is always running in and interrupts. So it is really hard to get anything done in there.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, I think that’s part of the reality of being at home: is the home is the kids now. There’s really no space that is not theirs.
GARRETT MASSEY: It actually opens my eyes to trying to create an understanding in your partner like what it is that you are doing throughout the day. Because they get home…And before we were both working and then we will come home and then we will be doing all the stuff focusing on the kids. But then I was home with the girls and that’s a lot of work. And then my wife will get home. We will separate: ok, now I need some me time. You know, an hour here, to just go and kind of unwind, and then get back into family mode because it is like going to work and never leaving. So I think it is so important to be able to have a discussion and create that kind of boundary and kind of like: hey, I am going to clock out for 30minutes and go for a run or do something that is just for me and make thing that is important for everybody to be able to do that.
WILL: Well, so many of us know work-from-home regardless whether we are stayed-at-home. So I am in sales and sales management and not uncommon for my three year old to barge to the door while I am on a conference call. And sometimes it is great to break the tension.
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, let’s take a quick break right here at this point. We will continue the conversation afterwards. We will look a little bit I think at a day in the life of a stayed-at-home dad as well as maybe some other fun facts about stayed-at-home dads. So we will be right back!
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome back everybody! Today on Parent Savers we are talking about stayed-at-home dads. So let’s talk about a typical stayed-at-home dad day. Would you guys maybe one of you walk me through a day with you and your caregiving for your kids?
CHRIS A: Well, I think it is important to establish like daily routine, you know, that works for you and the kids. I mean you are the one who is with the kids, you know, throughout 8 to 10 hours a day. So you need to do what makes you comfortable and what makes the kid comfortable. I mean, you can involve the mom in the process though, but you have to let her know what you are doing, something in particular way, and when she sees the kid, you know, thriving and sure, she will trust your instincts. So you know, just get that routine of bathing, you know, breakfast, nap time. And the important time is the me time for the father: whether it is napping, reading a good book, doing an in-home, you know, gym session perhaps, or just doing some stuff around the house just to make everyone’s lives easier, get a crock-pock creation going so that you will have dinner ready, you know, and mom comes home, and you know: just trying to make life easier for everybody. And then once the kid takes a nap and wakes up, I like to go out and do something. It helps break up the day. Gets some fun going? Go to the grocery store, because everyone loves a father and a kid…and a baby at a grocery store, like that you cut line, you know…
JOHNER RIEHL: And you get to drive the giant cart wherever it is like a truck or a police car, or whatever.
CHRIS A: Yes, seriously! A little cut like car in front of the cart-kids love that!
JOHNER RIEHL: No, I remember when I was at home when the kids were younger, let’s say one and three…I think we only had two. I was at home a lot with them. Having a mission or just something to do in the morning, in the afternoon would be great. Even if it was just going to the park, because I take just so long to get ready to leave the freaking house. It is like I take half an hour. At least just to: alright, let me do this, I need the stroller, and so ok, you have everything, and you go, you hand out a little bit, you come home, nap time, you have another mission. Just doing that was able to get me through the days better than just staying at home. So for me, being a stayed-at-home dad was a little bit about getting out of the home too.
CHRIS: Totally! Cause that takes out 2 to 3 hours out of the day, which is huge! And the kid loves it, loves looking around, gets snacks and you know, everyone loves a little adventure too.
WILL: Do you not feed them at home?
JOHNER RIEHL: My kids only eat snacks on the way to and from places. They will eat at home, but they will eat anything on the way to places.
CHRIS A: Right?
WILL: There were two interesting comments in there that I think we need to touch. One was around cooking, because we have heard this come up and a lot of our stayed-at-home dads that have been on our podcast have told us that they’ve got a lot better at cooking surprisingly like they shocked themselves. They look back at their college-selves and what they could cook and what they could do now.
WILL: That was one thing. The other thing that you mentioned was about people making way for you essentially at the grocery store and places like that. And this was a topic that we touched on really early, Chris, when we started the conversation about, you know, doing podcast. And you know, from a dad’s perspective. Generally as a dad, when you are with your kids, people think that you need help and you are somehow incompetent.
CHRIS: You get a lot of sympathy, looks, a lot of people feel very sorry for you. And at some lever, that’s nice, because you want the help and the support. But at the same time, part of me says: I can do this! Why are you looking at me like I am some sort of degenerate parent? And so there’s that dynamic that I’ve felt when I’ve been out with my kids by myself.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think it is sort of unspoken benefit we get as dads. It is probably harder on moms because whenever that’s support is there, it is nice to take it, or it feels good to get a little bit of credit just for doing what you are supposed to do. But to your point: hey I am just doing what I am supposed to do. But for moms, they usually don’t get that benefit of the doubt.
CHRIS: This is true. There are expected to be perfect with their kids on point at all times. And they get absolutely no sympathy which is an unfair double standard.
WILL: Society is clearly grating on the curve!
JOHNER RIEHL: Totally! And yeah, and cooking-wise, but the meal has definitely changed too once you have the kids and the things that you are, I mean, not only being able to cook, but you do definitely want to keep it simple. Crock-pots are great, like you were saying: get that crock-pot going.
WILL: Chris, hey, so tell us about your crock-pot experience?
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, totally!
WILL: Because that’s fascinating for me. I mean, honestly, it is a simple way to do meals.
CHRIS A: Right!
WILL: But is that something you came to on your own? What was your evolution with the crock-pot?
CHRIS A: The evolution with the crock-pot is that you just make it, you leave, and you go. It is so simple. Because the first day as a stayed-at-home dad I decided that ok, we are going to go to the grocery, I am going to make this great meal for dinner tonight, for when mom comes home. And it took like twelve steps or something and Oliver is crying, I am trying to make this like rainbow trial in the pan with some potatoes and vegetables. And it is just not coming together. And it was just so difficult. Dinner wasn’t ready when she came home and I was just and I was feeling so frustrated. I am like: oh, there’s got to be a better way! And I love to cook. And we did crock-pot creations in the past, but it just became a stable. There’s just so many different ways to do it, you know. You can make Mexican food, you can make Tai food, you can make pork. And you can even make like freezer meals, crock-pot freezer meals. So you can prep it ahead of time, throw it in the freezer, and then just take it out of the freezer, throw it in the crock-pot and just set it on low for eight hours, you know, check it in four to six hours, whether you need to shred it, and then you have leftovers for the next day, for mom, for dad. And it is just so simple. And we just love like chicken salsa.
WILL: You are not doing a rainbow try in there, are you?
CHRIS A: No, no, no.
CHRIS: I think you found you crock-pot expert, Johner!
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice! We can do a whole episode on crock-pots actually, Sunny?
SUNNY GAULT: There you go!
CHRIS A: Oh my Gosh! And you can’t screw it up! That’s the best part!
JOHNER RIEHL: Totally! No, so I think that’s a great tip though. Like easy, simple meal preps. I think getting out of the house is another kind of big thing, but also having a lot of activities just around the house. Just having stuff available for your kids to do and for you to do with them.
CHRIS: I think another agency wrinkle there in term of being out with your kids is just… Especially if you are going to some sort of organized thing, you know, like music class lessons for example is one that came up recently with a stayed-at-home dad that we talked to. Going to those types of classes often times is you are a stayed-at-home dad, you are the minority in the room, maybe even the only dad in the room where you have a bunch of moms with their kids. And so I will be curious to hear from maybe Chris A and Garrett about their experiences in those dynamics? And if at times they feel like: ok, so I can’t quite mix in with the other moms in those situations?
WILL: Well, you do have to know that the stayed-at-home dad in this particular instance going to the music class was the professional musician, so we think he was killing it there, with his band and everything!
GARRETT MASSEY: Yeah, for me we would go to a jamboree, which is a lot of fun. And since I have twins, is chasing kids around, you know, I am going to one myself watching the two kids. And you know, it is not really break where you are socializing with other people. So it is great for the girls to get out and play on the structures, and to learn, you know, about following direction, and they are socializing with the other kids. But for me, and you know especially with twins, you know, they are all going: once is going, once is upset, one is not. It is definitely a lot of work. One of the things that I would do a lot though is, well as often as I could, the gym that I would go to has a little gym park, I called it. They like to go to the park. So we go to the park. And there are some teachers there. And they play with teachers and I will be able to get a little bit of gym time and they will get a little time away from me. And I thought it was a good exposure for them to like to start to get used to the idea like: well, ok, eventually we will be dropped off somewhere, he is going to come back and get us. Then that gave me a little 45minute break so I can get into the gym and get a shower, and get shaved and that kids of things. But you are definitely the minority when you are out and about doing the day and you have three kids, and you are trying to keep up with everybody else.
WILL: Yeah, finding time for a shower can be hard, can it?
JOHNER RIEHL:That’s why I wear a lot of hats! Have you guys, on your podcast, have you talked to anyone that has gone back to their careers after being the care givers?
WILL: My wife is getting ready to do that, but she is looking at a lot…Like we talked about before, the options are way more flexible now. So she e getting ready to go back and do something and what form that will take is still to be determined. Chris?
CHRIS: Yeah, I don’t think we have a pure example of that, but one thing we have noticed is that in all of the examples that we’ve come across it seems the roles are evolving constantly between the mother and father. So it might be a period of time when the mother is spending more time at home, and then that’s switching. So it does seem like that role in the home today is more dynamic than it used to be.
JOHNER RIEHL: You know, I think this sort of brings up a point that I think it is kind of key to all of this is that we are talking in general about stayed-at-home dads and statistics, and all of that, but in the end of the day you and your family have to figure out what works best for you and your family. And those roles are totally different from what they were for your parents. They are maybe totally different from what they are for your neighbors. You really have to figure out what works and what roles work for you. And I think that’s a lot of what that whole stayed-at-home means.
WILL: One of our at-home dads made just that comment. His grandfather was an FBI agent and he was very traditional. He never changed a diaper, cooked an egg. This guy’s father did more than his father did. And so now he is doing stayed-at-home dad and his dad is incredibly supportive of what he is doing and has encouraged him to continue to do that because nothing is more important than spending time with your children. So there is a clear progression that is going on here between generations.
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, and I always think about the generational switch where everyone is like: well, back when we were kids it wasn’t like this. Well, I always think: well, maybe there is reason that the pangolin has swung to where it is and we want to be more involved now.
CHRIS: It certainly creates more balance in interactions with the kids. I know I grew up in a very traditional home. My mom stayed home, my dad worked. And my dad to this day still can make his own sandwich or coffee which is incredibly pathetic, but I also…In a loving way I say that, dad, if you are listening. But I also, even to this day, have very defined relationship with my parents. I see my dad as more of the person I respect and in a lot of ways still fear, where my mom is the more affectionate one that I go to when you know, things are wrong, or when I am looking to be getting support or to be consoled.
And in my home today, because I am much more involved in the parenting and we are trading off doing all the things all the time, I feel like the kids have very different relationship with me, which is more affectionate and more loving that I ever had with my father. It is hard to say, you know whether that’s good, or bad, or different, but it is interesting to see that evolution.
WILL: And it does bring up a question that we’ve been trying to figure out on our show, but we haven’t gotten to the bottom of it, is: are women naturally more nurturing in some ways than men? For example my kids want my wife at the end of every day to come up and snuggle. I don’t think I am bad at snuggling, but apparently she is exponentially better at snuggling. You know, are kids more drawn to women for nurturing naturally? What’s the, you know…Is there a balance there? Is it going to switch over entirely to Chris’s point about some of the things that he is doing in his house and how he is engaging with his kids differently than how his parent would have engaged with him? You know, we don’t have an answer on that one, but I think it is an interesting question. And it is one that you gotta, in a lot of ways unfortunately, kind of tip around right now too.
JOHNER RIEHL:Gareth and Chris2, are you seeing those rules mix in your houses?
CHRIS A: A little bit. And I am definitely a lot different than my parents, like definitely the same way as far as my dad, you know, just stroll to make his own lunch and dinner and expect, you know, mom to do it. But I got it definitely different in our household. I am making, you know, more the dinner and all that stuff.
JOHNER RIEHL:I wonder when our kids get older, how, what sort of, how the relationships would be different for them to us than he had with our parents , like you, and Chris and Will are saying that, you know, they still sort of fear their dad a little bit. And I wonder if they are going to fear their mom more than me.
CHRIS A: Yeah, that would be interesting to see. But you know, my kid Oliver just…His face lightens up when mom comes in after a twelve hours shift at the hospital and still just loves seeing her, and just kind of gravitates towards her. Because you, I couldn’t feed him. It is just that some things don’t make milk over here on this side. But I am happy to give him the bottle early on, but was like one…I mean I love the most, because I am being able to hang out with him, you know, early on, you know, the first nine months, to see him evolve and grow up and hopefully, you know, I was able to rub off on him like some great personality characteristics and stuff like that, you know.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, well let’s wrap up this conversation. I found this list online, it is from the bump. I think it was reprinted from a blog “dad dead or alive”. It is: 10 things that you don’t know about being a stay-at-home dad. So I just want to kind of guys get your thoughts on this: 1. We hate it when people call us Mister Mom I don’t mind it. What do you guys think?
CHRIS: I think moms get a lot of respect so I would also not hate that. I treat that as a term of respect.
WILL: I am huge Michael Keaton fan, so that would be incredibly inspiring to me.
JOHNER RIEHL: Right, so we are all on board with that one. 2. We did not want the mini-van it is what he said, which to be honest, one of my dreams is I want to get a really nice mini-van. But what about you guys? Are you guys anti-mini-van or onboard?
WILL: So, we used to have a Pilot, Honda Pilot, until we had our third. I tried to convince my wife to do the mini-van. Our daughter was like crawling over and we had out third, all this was crawling over, groceries and strollers. I think she burned herself on the Texas sun on the bumper on her leg and I looked at her and my wife just, she knew it. She looked at me and she goes: just got it! And I went and got our first mini-van. We are on our second now and I think my wife the other days said: I love this thing. It is so easy to get in and out of. I don’t have the minnie-van this weekend, I just have the two of them in my Volkswagen with two doors, and just getting each of them in and out of the car is a freaking nightmare! Backbreaking! So minnie-van all the way! And Honda drives, I think Toyota too, and they drive really well.
CHRIS A: Yeah, I have a two-door and I have to get a four-door. It is a pain in the rear just to get a 25pound toddler in and out of a car seat. I mean, backbreaking!
JOHNER RIEHL:Oh yeah, with two you’ve got to like open the door and move up the seat?
CHRIS: Yeah! And like actually I have to like climb into the vehicle. And I am six-foot-three, so it is not the easiest task to do.
CHRIS: Come on, Chris! You are already advanced on the crock-pot. It seems like you would already be there on the vehicle as well!
WILL: You can drop them to the sunroof!
CHRIS: I wish!
JOHNER RIEHL: This guy says that sometimes we are so tired, we sit down to pee. I can relate to the being tired part for sure.
WILL: I just sit down to pee cause I pee so much now because I am older and I am just tired of standing all the time!
JOHNER RIEHL:I am tired of getting yelled at all the time for missing the toilet!
CHRIS: Me too! I also mostly pee sitting down for that reason-because I got so sick and tired of getting yelled at about it, that I just thought: hey, you know what, I will just do it! It is easier! And you know, it is easier to look at your phone and do whatever else, multitask, when you are sitting as well.
WILL: Yeah, and it is less likely to drop your phone in the toilet when you are sitting down.
JOHNER RIEHL:It is true! That is the society we live in! Also: we love being the guy to be a toy fixer because this is a fun way to be able to fix that too. Do you think that is we talk about moms being good at snuggling, I think that there is something in our dad’s DNA that likes to fix things, take things apart, see if we can fix it with duck-tape or whatever. Have guys done that?
CHRIS: Yeah, I can say that I am not good at fixing. I avoid it at all cost because it usually ends up in more humiliation. Well, we’ve got a good handyman; I will call up and like do everything that needs to be done. And even though sometimes reluctantly I have to admit that I am that incompetent, it is usually better in the end.
JOHNER RIEHL:So stayed-at-home dads need to have a good network and people to have their back, like handymen to fix things. Alright, anything else you guys want to add? As final notes to stayed-at-home dads? Check out the Dads On Doody podcast!
CHRIS: Check it out! Subscribe on iTunes! We do have matter respect for stayed-at-home dads. So props to all those pure stayed-at-home dads out there!
WILL: Yeah, www.dadsondoody.com , and that’s doody. Thanks for having us on!
JOHNER RIEHL:Alright, thanks so much, guys, for the conversation! Thanks to everyone who was listening to us today! Hopefully that was pretty educational and we learned a little bit more about stayed-at-home dads. And I think there is way more that 1.5million stayed-at-home dads. I would bet that’s like 10 times that number! Um, but for more information about either Dads On Doody, about some of the articles we discussed, about our guests, you can visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com. We are going to continue our conversation after the show for members of our Parent Savers club with some special bonus content. So for more information about that go to the member’s portion of our website.
SUNNY GAULT:Alright, so before we wrap up today’s show, we have a segment called What up with that?
JOHNER RIEHL:What up with that?
SUNNY GAULT:What up with that? And that is where we share the crazy things that our kids do that just like leave us going: What in the World? Like on what planet would this make sense, right? And so today’s comment comes from Ginger. And Gingers writes in, she says: My three year old son sucks his arm. He has done this ever since I weaned him. His fat chubby little arm was the closest he had to a boob and he latched on to it with gusto. As a result there is a permanent ridge sucked into his forearm and people ask us all the time: how did he burn himself? Well, he didn’t burn himself! He has a wicked, ridged hickey that he gave himself! I sort of feel sorry for any girlfriends that are coming his way in the future! So anybody else has kids that suck their arms? Any experience with this?
WILL: I have experience with this, although it wasn’t an arm. My son, he was a finger-sucker from the very start. And it was interesting because it was two fingers and he would always do two fingers. And then he started tweaking his neck with his other hand at one point. We had this joke about the finger-pull-neck-tweak because we had to pull his finger out of his mouth. And then at one point the other hand went into his pants. And so we end up walking with one hand in his mouth and one in his pants. But what was really interesting was that it turned out that the fingers that went into his mouth were like the skeleton key: if we could pull these out of his mouth, than the whole thing came undone.
SUNNY GAULT: It is like it was like it was attached, like a string that kind of went though the body.
WILL: Exactly! It was like marion net. So how do we fix it? So what I did is I actually went out and bought…He was really into Thomas at the time, so…Thomas, the tank engine. So we went out and we actually bought him one of the trains that he really, really wanted and we put it just out of reach down in our kitchen in the breakfast area, so he could see it all the time. And every time he sucked his finger and consequently everything else started happening, he would be delayed another week to get in it. So ultimately it only took a couple of weeks and then it stopped. And it fixed the whole problem, and like I said, skeleton-key in the mouth, everything came undone. He is no longer into Thomas. If you actually go to our website and listen to the media section, we have a song that we did, where he is rapping called Thomas No Mo- because he is just done with Thomas. But point being we gave him a reward, something he really wanted that he had to work towards and it fixed the problem which was… It was embarrassing to say at least, to be walking around and seeing that happening all the time. Funny thing though is one day I did see another kid walking around that had the exact same thing going on double, mouth and pants, and I didn’t say anything to the parents, but you know…Kind of one of my great regrets now.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, you should have got over them and like: hey, Thomas The Train! Just try Thomas The Train! It will work! I promise!
JOHNER RIEHL:I am wondering how permanent that hickey is going to be though. If he is really like going to be in his wedding day like…
SUNNY GAULT: I don’t know! She says it is a permanent ridge! I mean this dude must be sucking like crazy! To make it…I mean who knows who permanent it is. But at least right now as the time of writing this. I mean…
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, it is permanent enough.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, he doesn’t have to sucking on it in order for people to see it, right? But he is probably like going back and like kind of reiterating the whole thing every day or whatever, so…
WILL: Is he doing it while he sleeps?
SUNNY GAULT: Ah, you know, it doesn’t even say! I am not sure!
WILL: Or he has some stuffed animal that is getting first sucked off probably during the night.
SUNNY GAULT: Right! Oh, that poor animal! Alright, so if you guys have fun “What up with that?” story, please let us know! We love hearing these and sharing these with all of our listeners. So you can e-mail us through our website at www.newmommymedia.com or also through the website you can send us a voicemail and tell the story yourself.
JOHNER RIEHL: Ginger, sorry, your kid “sucks”!
SUNNY GAULT: Oh yeah, your kid “sucks", Ginger!
JOHNER RIEHL: What up with that?
SUNNY GAULT: What up with that? Saying my kid sucks?
JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps up today’s episode of Parent Savers. Thanks again for joining us! We appreciate you listening! Don’t forget to check out all our sister shows on our New Mommy Media network, we’ve got:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
This is Parent Savers! Say it with me, Sunny: empowering new parents!
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are a business or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcasts, visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com.
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