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  • Gareth Ellis

The Taboo Of The Stay at Home Dad

I’ve been a Daddy for almost four years now.

I know what you’re thinking, Rupert’s only three, how can you have been a Daddy for four? Well, I counted myself as one the moment Jess told me we were going to be having him.

There are some who may not agree. Who think that you’re not a parent until the baby arrives, or the baby/child arrives in their home, but I chose to view it differently.

For the most part I love being a Dad. I love getting out and about with the kids and taking them to a park, or the farm, or wherever they want to go.

But since becoming a full-time, stay at home parent to Rupert and Emilia in May I’ve noticed something different when I talk to a lot of people – being a stay at home DAD still seems to be a bit of a taboo. In my eyes there’s no taboo involved – Jess’ career brings in more money, this makes her the breadwinner, simple maths.

I take the kids to various classes and places and there are often a few questions or comments that get made, not in a horrible way I hasten to add, but they still come up.

The first one I heard most recently at a class just before Christmas. A lady said ‘oh, how lovely, have you got a day off today?’ I knew she meant nothing by it so I just said: ‘Oh no, this is my day on, I’m full time Daddy, part time freelancer.’ Then we carried on with our chat, and she was lovely.

The second one, and the one I hear the most also comes from a loving place, so I’m definitely not complaining, but it’s this: ‘Oh isn’t it nice to see a Dad looking after the children?’

Now, I don’t disagree with where the comment comes from as it comes from a place of love. People are admiring us Dads for caring for our children, there’s no greater compliment, right?

I’m too nice (shut up, I am) so I usually just smile and say ‘yeeeah, I love being with these guys.’ Which is true, but also, erm, it’s my job.

It’s like when a Mum goes away for a weekend or for a night and someone asks, ‘Oh is (insert Dad’s name here) watching the kids?’ Well, I should hope so.

I know times are changing and fortunately, being an extrovert – albeit a shy one – I don’t feel out of place when I go to classes and I’m the only man. In fact, I wear it as a bit of a badge of honour.

Yes, I wish I was bringing more into the household financially, but the job I’m doing, and I’m sure a lot of parents are doing, is just as valuable to any home.

I salute all stay-at-home parents for the work they do because believe me, shaping a life and having that level of responsibility is up there with one of the toughest jobs out there. That, and finding work in the first year of freelance life.

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