A “House Husband”, or stay-at-home dad (alternatively, stay at rhymes home father, house dad, SAHD, househusband, or house-spouse) is a term used to describe a father who is the main caregiver of the children and is the homemaker of the household. As families have evolved, the practice of being a stay-at-home dad has become more common. In the “modern society” this common practice results in the wife or significant other working and supporting the families needs, which you the house husband, take care of the children and home. In a lot of ways this arrangement can be increasingly beneficial because if you are handy you can also be assured the time to keep up to date on the necessary repairs and maintenance around the house, thus ensuring your families comfort in their home.
1) Discuss the expectations with your partner. Discuss realistic expectations, and how to meet them as best as you can. The definition of a good house husband depends on which house you live in. It is also very culture-dependent. Do not presume that you have the same expectations because you may find out the hard way (through arguments) that you don’t. Sit down and talk it over. What are the things that need to be done to keep up with in the home? What are the responsibilities in the home? If you are primarily responsible for keeping the house clean, others may take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves: putting dirty laundry in the hamper, placing things where they belong after they are finished using them, emptying the trash, putting dishes in the dishwasher, etc. If you are also caring for young children during the day, you may be surprised by how difficult it is to also keep up with household tasks. Others in your family may need to help with the cooking and cleaning, if possible.
- Be aware that housekeeping is not as simple as it sounds. Men without military training may not have the basic skills to accomplish all the cleaning tasks or even know what they are. If you’ve never organized a house, shopped for food and household essentials, cooked or cleaned up because your mother did all these things, your results will not be as effective as any adult woman taking on these tasks. You’ll take longer doing it and with less effective results. If possible, get your experienced spouse to walk you through how she does all these things.
2) Be loving. Love is an important ingredient for a successful household. Remind your kids and wife or significant other that you love them, often. Pay attention to your wife or significant other and children. Like say that boy of yours is dying to go to the park for some baseball. Make an effort to spend as much time as possible. If you do this, your family will know that they are loved.
3) Take Responsibility for the household! You are now the “homemaker” of your family. Being the homemaker, it is your responsibility to make it a home. Ensure the cleanliness of the home and that repairs and maintenance are completed. One of the greatest advantages to the house husband is that you can now take the time to do the needed repairs or maintenance items that would have taken time away from your family when you were away at work.
4) Maintain a great Appearance. It is all too easy to stop paying attention to your appearance when you have a no reason to “dress to impress” at the office. Try to spend some time each day making yourself look good and well kept. There is no reason why you can’t still maintain a good appearance, even if you have no plans of leaving the house that day. Further, your wife or significant other would love to come home to see you looking good — not dumpy and unkempt.
5) DON’T Forget about the Cooking! Remember when you would work all day, how great it was to come home to a freshly prepared meal. Now that you are a house husband you can ensure your family eats a delicious meal, prepared for them with love, every day of the week.
6) Plan ahead, with the aim to have a delicious meal on the table when your spouse gets home from work. Microwave meals are not suitable cuisine, so find a recipe book you like and start experimenting. Having a great meal ready for your family is good way to let them know that you have been thinking about them. A good meal can be an expression of love and a warm welcome home.
- Crock pots and other slow cooked meals may give you the chance to get other chores done while the food cooks. They tend to be very tasty.
- If you want them eating healthier, treats should be something of a special occasion. Everyday snacks could be fruit, vegetables or healthy grains while a big production dessert could take place sometime on the weekend for everyone to enjoy it together.
- Budgeting for food is another big part of the job. Prepackaged anything costs more, the more home cooking you do, the better the family will eat both in health and in terms of luxury. Buying non-perishables in bulk is often cheaper than small boxes or quantities.
7) Pay close attention to little things. Remember family birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. Attention to detail adds up to big attention, and you will have a happy marriage as a result.
- Remember the personal treats that cheer up your loved ones individually. If you remember the kids’ favorite foods and fix them regularly or surprise your spouse with flowers from the garden or a candlelit bath – these things create memories. If you do these small affectionate things more often than calendar holidays and birthdays, they create very powerful memories. They don’t have to be big, just personal. Keep track of the things that cheer up your spouse and your kids individually, write them down sometimes when they’re not home. When they have a really bad day, that’s when to trot out the comfort food or the surprise foot rub.
8) Don’t Forget the Errands! Remember, there is more to keeping a family happy than what is in the immediate house. Don’t forget the important errands that can add up and take a lot of time to do. By doing one or two a day you can keep up with them, and they will not get unmanageable or take up mass amounts of time on weekends or family time. Pick up the dry cleaning when it is ready, Run to the market when you know something is needed, pickup packages and other items that may need to be retrieved. Overall, just make sure that the errands and tasks are done. Your family will appreciate you for it.
- If you don’t like shopping that often, you can reduce the number of errands by planning ahead and doing them in groups. If you want to get in shape, bicycle for perishable shopping and only use the car when you’re stocking up non-perishables or big stuff.
9) Organize your time! It may not feel like a job, but there’s a reason why half the human race did it full time for a living for so long. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the wide variety of different tasks that need to be done every day, especially maintenance cleaning that gets interrupted by minor problems and crises. Appliances break, the time you take fixing it or running out to replace it means you start dinner late, all of a sudden the stuff that needed to be done isn’t all done and there’s no food. Folks get annoyed at this especially if they take their own skills for granted and think what you do is a no-brainer. First experiment and find out how much time these tasks actually take, then budget three times that time for how long they really take when everything goes wrong. Life always happens.
- Budget a small personal treat for the tasks you don’t enjoy. It can be small like a pack of gum or non-monetary like taking the time to play a game. Or just put a dollar into a jar till it adds up for something big that you want. Small personal rewards make it easier to motivate yourself to do things that you’re reluctant to that need to be done. Change is good for this if you need to break it down to different specific chores and a lot of them need doing. Or when you finish a chore faster than you planned and still did a good job, put a note in the “time bank” and build up to where you can spend most of a day playing a video game or whatever.
10) Be Happy! Anger spreads fast. Remember when mom was furious? What a scary thought! Happiness will be effective tool on your household, and will provide peace in your home.
11) Show Respect. When a child does something good, (For example: Get an A on a test in a class they were failing in, learn to ride their bike, etc…) Tell them how proud you are. Acknowledge your families contributions, no matter how small you may think they are.