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Yep, I Do the Cooking, the Washing, the Childcare and I am a Man.
by Torsten Klaus
I’m a stay-at-home dad. I’m one out of 1.4 million in the UK. Quite impressive number you could say now. And it does get even better: the number of fathers, who are the main carer in their home, is increasing. Compared to a decade ago, there are now 10 times as many stay-at-home dads in the UK. Again, great numbers.
When I became a full time dad to my young sons, I felt very lucky. For me it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Even if this sounds cheesy, it’s true. I was looking forward to doing this job, despite knowing how tired and exhausted my wife had often been when she was the main carer.
At the same time my wife was looking for a change. Yes, full time parenting is hard work too. We decided against nursery, childcare and co. as this felt and still feels right to us.
We had lived the life of a classical family: he works full time, she is at home. And even when I reduced hours to have more time for kids and family, I felt that I missed out on so many things. I wasn’t there, when my boys said their first word. I couldn’t watch them doing crafty, messy things in the day time. (Well, I often cleaned up when home in the evening.) And I was longing for those little moments when your children make you smile.
At the beginning I pressured myself a lot, I thrust myself into great outings, craft activities (I hate doing crafts!), even baking with my cake enthusiastic boys. And can you believe it, me, who has always said, cooking yes, but baking no thank you, has actually perfected the best gluten-free muffins in town?
It was fun but incredibly exhausting at the same time. It took me a moment to figure out that this time table which covered more or less each day from 8am until 5pm, was not needed and actually more destructive.
I switched to child-led modus again and see – it was so much easier this way. Most days are filled with activities anyway, but now they come more from my children. And I also like the mornings where I wake up and I know: hey, there is NOTHING planned for today. Awesome.
Many women are still (!) astonished to hear that I do most cooking and household chores. Why? My wife and I have a simple rule. Whoever has the time and motivation will do it. We don’t blame each other for not doing it. We both know when the dirty dishes pile up or the bathroom sink gets scruffy that we have a choice: do it or leave it – but be happy with your decision.
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Torsten is a stay-at-home dad, embracing all the beautiful and difficult things about it. He believes that fathers and men of today want to explore and express their feelings, expectations, worries and emotions. In his blog, Dads Talk, he talks about fatherhood and about the way dads of the 21st century could live a happy, content and relaxed life. He’s a Parenting Coach and he runs groups, workshops and support sessions for Dads and Grandads. And yes, whenever there’s time left he also teaches parents Baby Massage.