Stay at home dad ideas, parenting advice from Care and Feeding. | #parenting

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Dear Care and Feeding,

My fiancé and I aren’t parents yet, but we plan to be within the next two to three years. I make a comfortable salary and have never wanted to be a stay-at-home mother, whereas my fiancé has always dreamed of being a husband and father and is eager to take on the role of primary caregiver. I mostly support this idea. He earns less than I do (full-time childcare may cost more than what he brings home). I’ve also made it clear that if he doesn’t end up liking this arrangement, we can change course.

The trouble is that I think there is a lot to plan for if he’s going to make this kind of transition, while he hasn’t given it much thought. I think part of the explanation for this is gendered, as I’m a woman in my late 20s who grew up reading articles about the split of household duties with a stay-at-home mom, the “mommy track,” and the difficulty of getting back into the workforce after a long gap, and he’s a man in his early 30s who had never thought about any of this until I mentioned it. When we talk about what life will look like once we have children and he’s at home with them, he says he’ll do the majority of the housework (is that actually realistic or fair?). He says he’ll provide educational enrichment to our kid(s). His goal overall would be that he could get back to work when the kid(s) are in school, and he has talked vaguely about becoming a teacher in his field. He says that while he’s the stay-at-home parent, he’ll do freelance projects to keep his work current, but he doesn’t even do those now, and he’ll be putting in more exhausting hours as a parent.

What are the steps we can both take now to help prepare for this transition and to help him prepare for reentering the workforce down the road? I want to be supportive, but I don’t want to come home to a dirty house every day, with a kid stuck on an iPad. And I don’t want to support the whole family financially forever either.

—Thinking Ahead

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