"I put a lot of emphasis on discipline; other dads call me Sergeant."
Most of us are probably familiar with the term SAHMs (stay-at-home mums), just how many SAHDs (stay-at-home dads) do we know? We took a sneak peek into the lives of four dads who made the change to stay home with their children. Find out how these daddies go about their days with their little ones!
This June, we celebrate fathers and their love for junior. We put the spotlight on four dads who took a leap of faith and embarked on their journey as Stay-at-home-dads (SAHDs). Meet four fathers from different walks of life who decided to leave their careers and embark on parenthood from a different perspective.
In this article, we chat with Dwayne Mason, who was in the transport industry for the last 13 years. We find out why he keeps speaking to his little girl right from the start and how he find time to swim and play golf.
Dwayne Mason (35), father to Evelyn (20 months)
Journey as an SAHD: 16 months
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Hi Dwayne, can you share what led you to make the decision to stay home with Evelyn?
After Evelyn arrived, my wife, Alicia, had intentions on going back to work. I had no father (my father left when I was young) growing up so I was really excited to give my all to Evelyn as a father.
So, what were the key challenges you faced when making this decision?
Not many challenges but we needed to make sure my expenses were covered as we’d be living off one wage. I have an investment property so knowing that would be covered was paramount. Alicia did a wonderful job with breastfeeding even when she was back at work! I guess missing my work colleagues would be a challenge.
Are there days where you question the decision to stay home with your daughter?
Not for an instant did I second guess my decision. Alicia and I committed to this and it’s been great. Sure there are days when Evelyn’s frustrated; it’s only natural because this life is new, for both her and myself We are learning together. But I soon figured out what her needs and wants.
So, what is a typical day with Evelyn really like?
Our day starts with a bottle at 7.30am followed by some educational games. Breakfast with fish oil is served. We either have a play date or go for a walk. Back for lunch then nap time. I prep for dinner, clean washing etc. When Evelyn wakes, I put a couple of books in her cot for her to read while eating some raisins. Afternoon consists a meal of fruit and vegetables, followed by a swim or play group (important for Evelyn to have kid interaction). If needed, we drive to the shops for any groceries. Alicia takes over after work, I cook dinner while Alicia takes care of Evelyn’s dinner, bath, evening bottle, and winding down. Alicia puts Evelyn to bed each night. I feel it’s very important for Alicia to have as much one-on-one time as possible. We delay her bedtime for this to happen. Then it’s party time! Just kidding.
What do you enjoy most about being a stay-at-home dad? Can you share some moments when you feel your decision to be an SAHD has truly been the right one?
I enjoy all aspects of being an SAHD. The best parts are walking into her room in the morning and seeing the big smile on her face. She goes, “Hi, Daddy”. Priceless! Little things really like putting her to bed. I say, “Goodnight darling”. Her reply in the cutest voice, “Bye bye, daddy” or “See ya”. I’ve been really repetitive in my speaking with Evelyn right from the start. I understood she couldn’t understand me early on but when she could, it was extremely pleasing, how she absorbed it all like a wee sponge and the spoils are showing now. (laughs). Evelyn has great manners. Another great thing is teaching her something, for instance counting to ten over, and over then out of the blue she’ll be counting her blueberries to ten! Very humbling. Alicia and I committed to this and the choice has been the right one from the start.
Read on to see more of what Dwayne has to say..
Has being a stay-at-home dad changed you in any way?
Taught me more patience although I thought I was already quite patient. I would call it child patience. (Laughs.)
With most of your time dedicated to Evelyn, how do you unwind and enjoy “me time”?
“Me time” is important as days are blocked with the baby. If I’m not cooking dinner, I enjoy heading out for a beer with a friend or myself and bringing dinner home. I swim and play golf a lot also. I’m fortunate that Alicia is comfortable taking over the baby duties after work as it gives me time to myself.
Is there a point in the near future where you think you will stop being a stay-at-home dad?
Yes, I believe I will enter the workforce again. My immediate focus is the education of Evelyn.
Have you ever regretted being a stay-at-home dad?
No regrets at all.
To fellow fathers who are thinking of becoming stay-at-home dads, here’s what Dwayne has to say:
1. Patience. First-time parents need to understand that having a baby is a new experience. We learn from our mistakes.
- Privileged. We are in a very special situation in that we get to see our child grow up in front of our eyes. If you’re having a rough day just look at your child I’m sure he/she will make you smile.
- Communicate and have a understanding with your partner about “me time” in that you need it as like a refresher, etc.
- Join a dads group, but also get out with the mothers too!…
- Talk to your child as much as possible! When you talk, the child feels engaged with you. They may not understand but it will be beneficial down the track.
- A successful relationship with your child comes down to your relationship with your spouse. She needs to understand your needs as a father “me time” sharing weekday duties. And that you both are experiencing something new so neither parent is right or wrong you need to work issues out together.
- Remember that it’s about the child. The more you put in, the better your child becomes.
- Have fun!
We hope you enjoyed reading these heartfelt responses from the stay-at-home dads in Singapore. In a typical Asian country, where men are mostly deemed to be sole breadwinners, it is nice to see that the world’s perspective is changing, and that more and more fathers are sharing the parenthood role with their spouses these days by being the primary caregiver. Kudos to all fathers, and here’s wishing our children’s first superheroes, the first men our daughters love, and our rocks in the family: Happy Father’s Day!!
Click here to see the rest of our related articles in our Father’s Day Special interviews!
It was interesting to see how fathers get more involved in their children’s lives and family. Do you know of any other SAHDs? Share with us too!