The number of stay-at-home dads has gone up by a third in the last 2 years, according to Census data. There are now 114,000 fathers taking care of the kids and home, a 34% increase since Covid hit.
We spoke to Damion aka The Northern Dad who is a full time dad to his three kids, and asked him about life as the primary carer.
Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home dad?
‘My wife was working part time and I was working full time. At the start of the pandemic, when I lost my job, and then my dad, I wasn’t in a great place mentally. I stayed at home, allowed myself to grieve and look after and home school the kids whilst we were in lockdown. My wife wanted to further her career in child care. So, we made the decision that I would stay at home and she could pursue her career. Once the pandemic was over, I would look into going back to work. Nearly 3 years later, I’m still a stay-at-home dad and my wife has been promoted and going from strength to strength within her job. The situation we are in works well.’
What do you find are the main benefits to staying at home?
‘I get to engage, interact, understand and educate my kids much more by staying at home. After the passing of my dad and my own health scare, coupled with a very mentally challenging time in my life, I realised how precious certain moments in life actually are.’
Has it changed the relationships you have with your kids?
‘It’s a bit of a mixed bag really. With my oldest daughter, who is now at university, the relationship became very strained and stressful. That situation is very different now, so we put that down to “needing to spread her wings”. However, my middle daughter and son, although the usual sibling rivalry happens, the relationships remained pretty much the same.’
Has being a full time dad altered your relationship with your partner?
‘Yes, I’d be inclined to say the dynamic with my wife has improved.
My wife wanted to further her career in child care, so we made the decision that I would stay at home and she could pursue that. Once the pandemic was over, I was intended to look into going back to work. 3 years later, I’m still a stay-at-home dad. My wife has been promoted and is going from strength to strength within her job. The situation we are in works and works well.’
Why be a stay at home dad?
Covid changed the lives of many people in the UK. For some fathers who got a taste of being hands-on during lockdown, the idea of returning to work full time and losing that proved life-changing.
Dads who work full time often miss seeing the kids off to school, or delighting in the day-to-day antics of their children. The idea of women being the main care-givers is becoming outdated, and many women want to pursue careers. The idea of family life as it was has been turned on it’s head.
Plus, dads are becoming more of a regular sight on an average day at the park, at play groups and school gates alike. Groups for dads to connect and get support, like Dad Matters and Dads Rock, are on the rise country-wide. Acknowledgement of the vital role that dads play in their kids’ lives is constantly growing. With more and more fathers becoming full-time dads, that can only improve further and for the better.