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Monday 21 May 2012

"It’s better to swap roles than have a dead husband” - why I became a stay at home dad

Last week, a real-life stay-at-home dad Edy wrote about what a typical day as 'Mr Mum' looks like for him; you can read it here: http://josiesjuice.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/day-in-life-of-stay-at-home-dad-why-im.html.

Here are some of the fruits of Edy's labour as full-time 'house dad':

Wildly impressive, right?

Now, Edy explains why he and his wife Anne-Marie made the complete life transition, and why it works for them:

Why did I do it?

"After graduating from university in 1995, I’d been working in IT (same as my wife). However, in 2005 I got quite sick. Over a period of months, I lost nearly 40kg. When the doctors eventually found out what was wrong, it turned out that I’d had lots of stomach ulcers, and when they healed (with all the medication I’d been taking) they left scarring (hard tissue). Anyway, I ended up having a duodenal by-pass (the doctor’s made an alternate opening between my stomach and my small intestine) and now, aside from a small scar across my tummy, everything is thankfully fine.

However, at the time, my wife suggested that we swap roles as “it’s better to swap roles than have a dead husband”. So I stayed at home and looked after our one child (Charlie) while she went back to work full-time. This worked out well for her as well as she suffered quite severe post-natal depression – her personality begged for adult interaction, whereas I was happy to deal with kids.

Seven years later, and it’s the best decision we ever made. We’ve had two more beautiful children and our family is complete. Sadly, we’ve both lost all of our parents, so bringing up the kids is tough with minimal help. But, the kids are getting older and more self-sufficient, so the light at the end of the tunnel is approaching.

Would I recommend this lifestyle to other dads?

Absolutely! When we had our first child, I made a conscious decision to be very involved in his life, especially as my own dad wasn’t because of his work commitments. I was however, very close to my mum, which may be why I have been able to cope with “domestic” life.
It’s funny (in a twisted sort of way) that my wife and I have really swapped roles. She comes home from work, exhausted, and flops on the couch with a drink, while I get her dinner. She then proceeds to tell me all about her day and the trials and tribulations of working for a large IT company, while I tell her what the kids did that day –  how Henry did a great painting, or Gemma went on an excursion,  or Charlie got an award at school. We are the typical family, only in reverse. The one thing I won’t do though is wear a skirt.

There’s no joking though - it’s a tough life – much harder in fact than when I was working in IT. The long hours, managing conflict, and always having to be “on” is a drain on your physical AND mental faculties. But it’s so much more enjoyable, seeing the kids develop and grow into their own personalities. There’s just nothing on earth that compares to having your child run up to you, give you a huge cuddle (nearly knocking you off your feet) and say “daddy, I love you”.

But it’s not all hard work; I still find time to do the things I like – dabbling in computers, reading the newspaper, watching football, etc. For instance, this year I was approached by the local P & C to create a website for them. It was fun to get back into that “space”, but I don’t think I’d like to go back to full time work in that field again. I’m also the manager of Charlie’s soccer team.

I also took the time to do a Teacher’s Aide TAFE Certificate, with a view to becoming a Teacher’s Aide next year when Henry goes to kindergarten and Gemma is a preschool three days a week.

Being a stay-at-home dad has really opened my eyes to the world of parenting. While being a tough gig, it’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I’d definitely recommend it to other dads."

What did you think of Edy's story?

As a bloke, could you do it? Make the complete swap?

 As a woman, would you love to have this 'role reversal' also happen in your home?

Would love to hear your thoughts...


  1. This is just the thing that my partner and I are going to be doing in November when I go back to work full time. He will become the full time carer of our daughter who will be 7months then. We are both excited by the journey, as well as a bit daunted. Would love to know if you had the option to join any father groups, as we haven't been able to find anything in the area....

  2. I love it, anon! And I will ask him about daddy groups now...

  3. Ed, you legend, lucky Anne-Marie & kidlets, have said it before but I'll say it again your cooking / baking rocks ...