An article featuring our very own Steve Reda that appeared in Nashville Parents:
Stay-at-home-moms can’t take all the glory! Stay-at-home-dads struggle with the task of keeping the house together, too, and that’s OK.
The realm of stay-at-home-dads (SAHD) is growing. Whether by choice or by chance, dads are taking on the role with a grand feel. A feeling of joy being able to be there for their kids. However, with that joy comes struggle. We constantly hear how moms struggle with daily chores and things to do with the kids nipping at their heels. You know what? It happens to dads, too!
The new movie coming out on June 15, The Incredibles 2, depicts just that. It’s nice to see a film showing a SAHD and how it’s not all fun a games all the time with them. Local stay-at-home dad (SAHD) Steven Reda, agrees and share a glimpse into his life as a SAHD.
Being a SAHD
“I’m gonna be honest here … the first day I was alone all day with my first daughter I may have cried … maybe … just a little bit,” recalls Reda. “I don’t know what to say except that it was overwhelming and scary! What if I forget to do something or not do something? Why is my wife letting me do this? Did I brush my teeth or shower today? You know, the usual stuff,” adds Reda.
Some dads go into the role of SAHD with such confidence to only see it shattered by the end of the day. Sure, you may have read all the books and knew exactly what to do. But, as many SAHM will tell you, all that sometimes just doesn’t cut it.
“I read all the baby books, but once my little girl was in my hands, all that went right out the window,” recalls Reda. But, after many years under his belt, Reda say, “I feel like I can do this stay-at-home-dad stuff in my sleep — or without sleep (which is usually the case).”
Find Your Comfort Zone
“I was concerned at first about feeling isolated,” recalls Reda. Which is why it great to have local dad groups. Connecting with peers in the same situation as you can help you find relief. You may also find that you now have a group full of helpful tips at the ready … when you need them, of course. Once you find your comfort zone, you’re set! I may take some time, but you’ll get there!
“I run a clean, orderly home,” says Reda. “I ensure that chores, errands and home maintenance is complete by the end of the week so that weekends can be family time. I cook, clean, change diapers and more. In fact, doing this has made me a better person all around.”
Have a plan of action.
If you’re thinking about becoming a SAHD, that’s wonderful. Heads up, though, have a plan of action. You don’t have to follow what works for Mom — because even what works for some moms doesn’t work for others, and that applies to dads, too! Coming up with a daily schedule is a great idea and will keep down the overwhelming feelings. “I pace myself,” says Reda. “I do one chore a day, I exercise and I do meal prep during nap time. If there’s no nap time, then it’s microwaved hotdogs for dinner and that’s OK, too,” he adds.
Once you’ve got a good system in place, things will run much more smoothly. Don’t let the first bumps in your new job get you down. Just like any other job, it’s a learning experience. “I have my systems and routines in place, and I get to watch my daughters learn and play and grow,” says Reda. “I get to see the impact my interactions have on them, and it’s pretty amazing!”
Maintain the fun factor by keeping things light with the kids. Plan different things to do on different days when you can. It will keep everyone happy by cutting down on boredom. “I make sure to leave the house with the kids, whether it be to run an errand or hit a playground,” says Reda. “There needs to be something to break up the day. And coffee! I didn’t even drink coffee until I had children. Oh, boy, do I now!”