December 07, 2007,
C.F. asks from Central Falls, RI on December 01, 2007
Stay at Home Dad
I am at my wits ends. I need help. My boyfriend is a stay at home dad and he is getting frustrated with it. It is his choice to be a stay at home dad but now he's getting bored with it. He's very antisocial. I don't know what to suggest because when I suggest him grabbing a part time job he tells me to forget it and he'll deal with it on his own. I think he is becoming very depressed and i'm worried. He doesn't seem interested or motivated to do anything. If i mention counseling he tells me he's not crazy. I am 5 months pregnant so when I get home from work I am really tired but I feel like I have to stay up and spend time with him because I feel like he has no adult interaction. What to do?
So What Happened?™
I am now 7 months pregnant with my second baby. Now I am fearing staying home with two kids on my maternity leave because I don't think I will be able to deal with it. Now that i'm pregnant I have the same bored and frustrated feeling that he has/had.
K.M. answers from Hartford on December 03, 2007
Hi C.! My husband is a stay at home dad also. We have an 11 almost 12 yr old daughter that lives with her mom, so we only have her weekends, but we also have a 11 1/2 mo son. He belongs to the Central CT sat at home parents association, which is great! There are a few dads in that group. Honestly, becoming part of a stay at home parents group is great b/c even if he doesnt meet up that often it is a way to meet people in his shoes! Good luck!
J.G. answers from Hartford on December 01, 2007
I am staying at home now for the first time so I can understand his feelings about being a bit cooped up, maybe bored, and craving adult conversation! If he is a little antisocial, he probably will not seek out what he needs on his own. Can you find out about any playgroups, storytimes, music or swim classes, etc that he could take her to and just sign him up. Maybe getting him up and out will help. There are places with parent involved swimming, music, and even gymnastics with a 2 year old. Check the library, YMCA, parks and rec in your town, etc. Now that your daughter is nearing 2, there will be things he can do with her with other adults and itll keep him more active. I know that if I stay home all day and dont get out, I get that "cooped up" feeling. Good luck! J.
K.B. answers from Boston on December 02, 2007
I am sorry but you have enough on your plate, don't you? I have always taking men, husbands as just another child that we have to take care of. Have you tried asking what he exactly does when he is home and offer him the option of you staying home and him going back to work?
I have 3 children 15, 18, and 62!!
J.N. answers from Boston on December 02, 2007
One thing I could suggest that might help you, and your boyfriend indirectly, is talking with a social worker who specializes in family relationships. Frequently your health insurance will cover the cost of this; check before you commit or rule it out. It sounds as if your boyfriend might not be receptive to this at first, but you can get a lot of help by talking with the social worker about the dynamics at home. She (or he) will help you find ways to discuss with your boyfriend what's going on and suggest things that might help the situation.
You can frequently get a referral for this type of social worker from a school or family network (such as First Connections).
L.W. answers from Portland on December 02, 2007
Does he take the kids to the library for story-time, or go to any new-parents groups (like at Birth Roots - www.ourbirthroots.org)? He definitely needs to get out...it's like he has post-partum depression! He probably needs exercise (10 minutes a day can alleviate symptoms of depression...a walk around the block, maybe?) and some interaction...the isolation of parenting is one of the causes of depression.
Hey, other Mamas...are any of your partners stay-at-home dads, in the area? With a little prompting, I bet we could get them to form a lunch group or something. Pizza, Papas, and Babies!
A.E. answers from Providence on December 03, 2007
I'm a stay at home mom, who just moved to a new city. I've been depressed since my move because I left almost everything I know in life (except my son and my boyfriend). It's been suggested to me that I take my son out as much as I can. Just get out and do things, anything to break up the routine of being home all day by myself with a 2 year old. MY doctor also told me to take a vitamin B complex (with b-2, b-6, b-12 and C.) B vitamins are essential to mental health (neurological maintenance) and they help provide energy that every parent of a toddler needs. Maybe similar suggestions for your boyfriend might be helpful with out making him "feel crazy". I know when my boyfriend suggested that I try counseling, I felt threaten by it, even though I know I'm depressed.
B.K. answers from Springfield on December 02, 2007
I know that Men can be very stubborn and they try to act so tough, but as a stay at home mom, I felt myself getting into the same rut.
You have to push him to be more social with your 21 month old. There are lots of storytimes, playgroups, etc... around. Have him join a gymnastics class with your child. He will probably be surprised how many stay at home dads there are...the storytime that I go to is easily half moms and half dads-
Also, be sure he has time out on his own. Make it so that every Thursday night he gets to play cards with the guys or go out for a drink, whatever is his thing. Or if weeknights are too tough, see if he wants to play in a pick up game of basketball on the weekends, or have some time alone to go workout, read a book, etc... One thing I found that helped me was to have a parent's helper come in once a week to play with my kids while I worked from home or cleaned, whatever- just not having to do double duty being the housekeeper and parent at the same time was a huge relief.
I am in the Belchertown area, so if you need suggestions of groups let me know- having a 5 year old too, we have attended just about all of them!
Good luck and be sure he knows it is ok to ask for time without your child and to have some help. It will be good for his psyche...
M.S. answers from Providence on December 02, 2007
I understand how he feels... My family is in Ohio and I had No one to talk to. I am a stay at home mom... Maybe he should try meet up group... It is here in RI, It's not just mothers it is fathers to... They meet once a month for a play group... It's a way of meeting people and having the kids meet people... He needs to do more... He can also have your daughter join Little Gym or something like that... Little Gym is pricey, but there is a place on Jefferson Blvd.
that is great... A lot of fathers go... It wouldn't be for him it would be for you daughter and if he meets some dads that's great....
Meet up group...www.meetupgroup.com ... Hope this helps you out...
K.C. answers from Barnstable on December 07, 2007
My "hubby", boyfriend of 8 years, is staying home too. He did terrific with our 3 year old, started to get bored/down about the end of the 2nd year, but it really got bad for him with the addition of a newborn baby boy, now 4.5 months old.
I agree with the moms... playgroups are a good idea. But I think it's even MORE important that he has as much of HIS OWN time as possible. No kids allowed. I work 45 hours a week, and as much as I'm tired, I know it's NO WAY near as much work as he is doing at home. The SAHMs & SAHDs are the real workers, and that needs to be recognized by us out of home workers, both men & woman.
FORCE him to go out. You mention he's antisocial, but does he have any friends? If not, he might need time for online activities, video games, beers at the bar, whatever it is that he used to do before babies came around.
My biggest concern for you is that you are pregnant.... he's going to continue to stay at home with both babies? TWO BABIES ARE WAY MORE THAN TWICE THE WORK. So if it's not working now, it might get even worse with the new (although wonderful) addition. I would set something up now... we had (and continue to struggle sometimes) with my boyfriend staying home with two instead of one. Your boyfriend needs an outlet, and time with you, to feel good about how he's spending his days. The last thing you want is for him to resent the children or you, these can strain a relationship seriously. Good luck! It's a lot of hard work, but we all make it work out... somehow!! :-) K.