Welcome to Part 2 of our Jel Edwards interview about his life as a Stay at Home Dad. Jel is Dad to 6 year old Myla and 4 year old Ruben and this week he talks about how being a full time parent has affected his marriage and how he sees the future for SHDs!
Q7. Has being a SHD affected your relationship/marriage in a positive way? If so how? We’ve obviously had to adjust our lifestyle since the kids arrived. We’ve been fortunate that one of us has been able to stay at home but you make sacrifices and need support from your partner to get through the tough days. We’ve had a lot of laughs as well and that brings you closer together.
Q8. Is your wife proud of you being a SHD and if so, how does she show that? I think so. Shirley has worked extremely hard to progress in her career and knowing I’m supporting her in the best way I can does make her proud. She shows her appreciation in a variety of ways!
Q9. What do you think is the future for Stay at Home Dads? I hope more Dads get the opportunity to stay home with their kids. I’d certainly encourage them to do so. Take some time away from work and be with their children. It’s a unique experience and one that is only available for a short time.
However I think one of the main considerations couples have when deciding who will stay at home with the kids is finance. Unfortunately we do still have a gender pay gap. I think if the Dad is on a higher salary he’ll be the one expected to keep working . If more Dads stayed at home that pay gap would close though so perhaps they should take the initiative.
I’d also like to see more support from government for those wanting to stay at home. Employers should be offered incentives to give parents time away from work to be with their kids. Parents nurturing these children from an early age can only be beneficial to society in the long run and families should have that support.
Q10. How is your relationship with your kids in comparison to your wife’s? We both have a great relationship with the kids but I am the one they go to first with any demands, disputes or dramas. Hopefully I’ve created a special bond between us that will continue for years to come. I like to think they would come to me with any problems in the future.
Q11. How do your kids react to you being a Stay at home Dad? They don’t know anything different so it’s the norm for them. I do ask them if they like having their Dad at home and they respond with a thumbs up and a hug. There are times when we fall out but thankfully most days involve having a lot of fun together.
Q12. How do your children’s friends react to you being a Stay at home Dad? They haven’t singled me out for any special treatment but we do have fun when we get together. I have noticed that when we were out at soft play centres or parks kids did seem keen to join in the games I was playing with my children. I’d quite often end up with a gang of small children following me around. Whether they were excited about having a Dad to play with or just found me amusing I don’t know.
Q13. What role do men have to play in making Stay at home Dad a norm rather than an exception? By giving it a go. It won’t work for everyone but I think any Dad staying at home will be pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is. Men should also talk to their employers about taking a career break. If more men ask for time off employers may become more inclined to offer support.
Q14. What role do women have to play in making Stay at home Dad a norm rather than an exception? I think women should encourage their male friends, partners and colleagues to consider being a stay at home Dad. Obviously it’s a choice families make between them but if men feel they have the support they need and women feel they have the opportunity to continue with their careers if they wish then it will become more common.
Q15. What message do you think you are sending your daughter/son about men by being a SHD? I never make a big point about the fact that it’s Dad and not Mum that is home looking after them. It’s something they have always experienced so hopefully they will grow up accepting that as being a perfectly normal part of family life. A parent is always there for them it just happens to be Dad most of the time.
Q16. What message do you think you are sending your daughter/son about women being breadwinners! They appreciate that one of us needs to work to support our family. I talk to them about where Shirley is working and what she is doing. I don’t really bring the money side of it into the conversation. I just say that we are a team and whatever role you play you are an important part of that team and you support each other.
Genderbuzz would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to JEL for sharing his life as a stay at home Dad. Hopefully you have been as inspired by his story as much as we have!