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How to be a super dad

By Malini Bhatia
Last updated on: April 07, 2016 12:44 IST
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While the society may not really be accepting of stay-at-home dads, here's how you can inspire yourself to stay strong and be the best.

How to be a super dad

While it seems for the past few decades stay-at-home moms are disappearing as more women enter the workforce, what has been appearing in its place is sometime at-home dads.

Called "house husbands," or "stay-at-home dads," sometimes these are single fathers, while others are married men, but who do not work and are at home with the kids all day.

Still others are dads who work -- either full-time or part-time inside or outside the home -- and are the primary caregivers of their children rather than the mother.

A growing trend

It's definitely been a growing trend for several years now.

According to the National At-Home Dad Network, there are 1.4 million dads who are the daily, primary caregivers for their children. That number, the organisation reported, has doubled over the last 10 years.

There could be many reasons why that has changed so much in recent years. Certainly the economy has caused an upheaval in jobs, and if a father was laid off and there was an opportunity for the mother to work, they switched roles.

As women's rights are increased, there are more opportunities for women in the workforce as well.

In addition, the basic family unit is changing. There are single fathers, and also gay dads with children. In other families, the mother may be disabled or otherwise unable to care for the children.

While the number of stay-at-home dads keeps changing, it is still not a societal "norm" for husbands to stay at home and care for the children.

In fact, these dads may receive judgement or face a certain stigma associated with their role.

Here are some tips to get past it and win at your role:

Find other dads like you

Ideally, if you can find other dads in a similar situation to you, then you have struck gold.

You can be there for each other and offer advice. Perhaps you could even set up playdates. But even if you can't find other dads out there who stay at home with the kids, there is always the Internet.

Join a Facebook group or online message board. Other dads can be an invaluable resource when you tread upon new territory. They will also help you feel less alone.

Know what to say

When you are out during the day with little children, you may get looks or even comments. Most people mean well, but they may not realise how these comments can hurt others.

If someone says something off putting about how you are the one taking care of them instead of their mother, have something ready to say. Be nice about it, but try to set the record straight. Something like, "We both love our children and both do a great job raising them" will help clear the air quickly.

Realise how important your new role is

You are a house husband, and it's what works for your family. Sometimes, it's one of those things you need to do because it is necessary, or maybe it's because you want to do it. Either way, it's an important role, and one you do with pride. Remember that.

Don't let anyone try to make you feel like what your wife does is more important, just because she's out "working" or whatever. "I get to have fun with my kids all day. It's great."

Having a good attitude will show others -- and yourself -- how much this opportunity means to you.

Have a life outside of the kids

That said, it's important that you still retain a measure of YOU outside of the kids.

Go out with your wife weekly. Have hobbies and actually do them.

Don't just sit in front of the TV after the kids go to bed.

Do something that makes you feel like YOU. Remember that you have passions beyond your kids.

If you don't have anything right now, try new things. It'll help you feel more confident as a person, and it'll keep you learning. Those are things that will make you an even better dad.

Attend a parenting class

Maybe you're new to the whole house husband thing, or maybe parenting doesn't come naturally to you.

Mothers and fathers alike all over the world feel the same way.

A parenting class can be a great way to get ideas and be prepared. Also, you'll meet other parents who love their kids and want what is best for them. You can all learn from each other. Win-win.

Find a balance between structure and freedom

Have a basic schedule for your day to day stuff, like caring for the kids, cleaning, meals, and errands.

That will make the days function well for everyone. But make sure to leave some open time, too. Things always come up, or some days you just need to get out of the house. Find that balance and things will really groove for you.

If you are a stay-at-home dad, you're definitely not alone. Millions of dads are now the primary caregivers to their children, and that number has been rising for a decade. Embrace this role and be the best dad you can be.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Sonador Arte Studio/Creative Commons

The author Malini Bhatia is the founder of, and has a global experience in international management and communications. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.

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Malini Bhatia