Making the leap into the stay-at-home world can be a complex decision. After you check your budget, talk it out, and make plans, you need to try it out to see if it's a good fit for your family.
- Assess your financial situation
Before you turn in your resignation to become a stay-at-home dad, make a serious assessment of your budget. Play with the numbers to see if you can balance the loss of your income with the money saved on childcare, work attire, lunches and other work-related expenses. Figure out what cuts you can make to your non-essential spending. Consider the costs of health care, insurance and investments as well.
- Talk it out
Have a serious and honest talk with your spouse or partner. Explain the pros and cons as you see them, and listen carefully to their perspective. Discuss concerns you both have and come up with solutions. If your partner is not on board, discuss a trial run of staying home. Even if you have the full support of the other parent, routine conversations are necessary to address any unforeseen problems and ensure expectations are met.
- Make a plan
Make a plan for leaving work. Consider whether you can work from home, or take a day or two a week to go into work during the transitional period. If possible, stay in contact with your company and colleagues. Networking will help you in the long run, especially if you plan to return to the workforce at some point in the future.
- Dive in
Once you have a budget and plans in place, jump into the world of stay-at-home parenting! Some things you only learn by doing, and being the full-time caretaker of your children is one of those things. Remember to give yourself a break, because you're learning as you go. Schedule time to yourself, either during nap time, on weekends or on your partner's day off. This gives you a chance to regroup, and allows the other part of your parenting team a chance to reconnect and renew their bond with your child.