In today’s modern society, more and more men are electing to jump at the chance to be a stay-at-home dad.
While it is important for every father to invest in time with their child, it is equally important for fathers to carve out their own time.
Fathers must invest regular time with their child. This results in fostering a stronger relationship between both father and child. Not to mention, children who get to spend time with their dads feel much more settled, confident, more cooperative and less stressed.
Quality time inspires growth and empathy. But fathers with young children need to be equally mindful of their own health. Fathers shouldn’t neglect their own needs to the point of martyrdom. Doing so can lead to an improper understanding of boundaries and limits within children.
While family and professional life may feel like a chaotic madhouse, it's important for fathers to reconnect with themselves and their partners. They must take time to carve out moments in the day for themselves. In order to best take care of someone else, it's important to take care of oneself.
For those moments when a man may feel that he is floundering as a father, here are five ways to simultaneously recharge and reclaim precious “me time” throughout the day.
1. Wake up earlier
Dads understand that time is a precious commodity.
What better way, then, to squeeze out as much “me” time than waking up early? Make a cup of coffee, get some exercise in, or eat a healthy breakfast. The morning hours, before the rest of the household wakes up, is a precious commodity.
Waking up early provides time and an opportunity to disconnect. Every dad knows that once the house has stirred awake, the day and hours will succumb to the wants and needs of others. Take this time to meditate or even finish important tasks that have taken a backseat. Take the first few moments of the day to relax.
Waking up earlier can create a calm and positive tone for the rest of the day.
2. Make the bed
In his commencement address for the graduating class of 2014 at the University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven imparted to the graduating class one piece of advice which would positively impact their day and improve their well-being and behavior throughout the day.
“Make the bed every morning.”
According to Admiral McRaven, this simple yet mundane task, when completed every day, will instill a sense of pride. It will also create the foundation to encourage the completion of a multitude of tasks.
But more importantly, making the bed every morning reinforces that the little things in life matter. A made bed is the perfect little encouragement to tackle the rest of the day with enthusiasm.
3. Change the scenery
Despite being a stay-at-home dad, don’t just stay at home.
When possible, and as often as possible, get out of the house. Take the little ones for a walk. Go to the playground. Visit the zoo. It doesn’t matter if it's for a few minutes or an hour — a change of scenery will do wonders for both parent and child.
Don’t let the days become a monotonous routine. Getting out of the house and exploring is the perfect opportunity to recover both body and mind. This will limit the the typical stresses waiting at home.
4. Stretch occasionally
In the same regard, stretch often.
The daily routine for a stay-at-home dad will often consist of chasing after children. Or picking up after them. It will often involve doing the impossible.
Often, caring for children will result in uncompromising bending and flexing in some very uncomfortable ways.
Regular stretching is one of the most beneficial and relaxing things a stay-at-home father can do to carve out some precious “dad” time. It relieves stress, increases circulation, improves posture, and most importantly, maintains overall physical flexibility.
So reach out and touch the sky, and count to 10.
5. Connect with other dads
One of the biggest battles that stay-at-home dads face is isolation.
Men, after all, aren’t as expressive as their female counterparts. Men are often seen as the supporters, not the ones needing support. Which may explain why most men don’t feel the need to join a men’s group, especially stay-at-home dads.
But the benefits of having a community of fellow stay-at-home dads can lead to success and increased happiness as a parent. Having a brotherhood of stay-at-home dads creates the perfect sounding board for daily thoughts and decisions. It’s an affirming support system for when stay-at-home dads feel isolated or doubtful.
6. Introduce quiet time
Quiet time is the ideal time for children too old for naps, but still require constant attention. Quiet time is all about children engaging in an activity that nurtures growth and development while not over-stimulating the mind or sensory system.
For dads, quiet time introduces moments through the day to relax and recharge. It instills keystone habits for young children. At the same time, it affords dads opportunities to focus on necessary work uninterrupted.
7. Take a night off
While it’s important to soak up every minute of being a stay-at-home dad, there are moments that require time away from parenthood and the responsibilities of being a father.
Schedule one night off per week to indulge in personal passions and hobbies. When time constantly feels like it’s slipping away, committing to one night offis the perfect moment to stop and reflect.
Indulge in guilty pleasures. Whether or not that takes the form of a glass of whiskey, smoking dokha tobacco, or dancing the night away, having one night off per week is a rejuvenating gift. Doing something one night away from the distractions of parenthood is transformative. It will transform the experience of a father.
Any father can attest that time spent as a stay-at-home dad will and does go by fast. So soak up every moment of it. This opportunity is precious. Blink and it may be over.
How do other dads carve out and spend their “me” time? Sound off on the comments.
Abdul Razzaq is the business manager of Red Rose Group. He holds a degree in business management and has over two decades of hands-on experience in strategic business management, in-house management problem solving, product/service sourcing, product development and branding & marketing.