Friday, November 22, 2013

Hitting the wall (or what to do when you're in a funk...)

A concerned mom contacted the National At Home Dad Network with a question:
"I need some advice from stay at home dads such as my husband. He had been at home with our daughter for 2 years now and he seems to have fallen into a rut. He sleeps probably 18 hours per day and has let the house fall to shambles. He says he likes being at home with her but at the same time all I see is a severe depression which he doesn't want to talk about. Any suggestions on what he may be feeling or what I can do to be a supportive wife while at the same time letting him know I need his help around the house without sounding like I'm just nagging??"


I fell into the same kind of rut at around the same time. A couple things happen around age two, It's not as easy to just cart the kid along with you and have them sleep most of the time. My son and I went to a Greek diner in Astoria and watched every World Cup match... He was about four months old. It was awesome.

Around age two, he began to need more. More attention, more stimulation, more activities. This is exhausting. There were days I was so tired, I plopped him in front of Sesame Street and then found myself standing in the kitchen, overwhelmed by all of the things I wanted/needed to do and fell into a bit of a funk. When there are so many things that need to get done, often we end up doing none of them.

I realized I  needed more, too.

It was around this time I forced myself to meet up with the dads of the NYC dads group more often, I began approaching moms on the playground about play dates, I started going out after my wife got off work to take an hour for myself to work out, grab a coffee with a friend. I found routines for us: the neighborhood coffee shop for a croissant (for him) and coffee, then the library every Wednesday, the park and then the frozen yogurt place every tuesday and thursday, museum Mondays... These things helped.

After moving to Denver last year, we set up new routines. (Monday is grocery, which means hitting Starbucks together for a doughnut and coffee/chocolate milk. Tuesday is lunch at the library. Wednesday is coffee at our favorite place downtown and the used bookstore/thrift stores. Thursday is the museum.) I look forward to these things as much as my child does.

Then the fog clears and you can see clearly what needs to get done at home. This funk probably isn't about housework. It's about him. He needs stimulus, just like your child.

Find him a dad's group. (click through our links at the NAHDN.) My wife found mine for me and it's changed my life.

If he's still in a funk, have him check out His funk may be deeper.

Hope that's helpful.


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