Challenges Of A SAHD

Challenges a stay-at-home dad may face and how to overcome them.


4/25/202311 min read

When my wife and I decided that I would stay home to take care of our daughter while she continued to work, we knew it would be a big change.

We were prepared for some challenges, but what we didn't know was just how much of an adjustment it would be.

Here are some of the things I've learned along the way.

Unhelpful To Self-Esteem

It is unfortunate that in our modern world, people tend to judge a man by the amount of money he brings to the house/community. Especially in Asian culture.

It is deeply ingrained in our culture that it is okay for women to stay at home to look after children and men expected to be the primary breadwinners.

As a result, there may be a stigma attached to men who choose to be stay-at-home dads, as they are seen as deviating from traditional gender norms.

There is this thought that keeps bugging me to go and earn money regardless of how content I am feeling with the children.

As you can see from the video below, while on surface the younger Singaporeans seemed more acceptable of a SAHD.

They rather not have their future husband as one. If they are one, they have to either be a business owner or working part time.

People will judge, your community will judge, my in-law and even my parents will join in the crowd.

Conversations tend to stop by the time I say that I am a SAHD, and they start to politely excuse themselves away for either awkwardness or feeling that I am a lazy scum of the earth.

The truth is, being a SAHD is a fulfilling and challenging job that requires just as much effort and dedication as any other job.

So, if you are a SAHD, don't let societal pressure bring you down.

You are doing a great job.


As mentions before, stay-at-home dads are sometimes wrongly portrayed as lazy, clueless, or lacking masculinity.

As all main caregivers know, there is nothing to be lazy about taking care of the household. There is unlimited stuff to do.

Household chores, cooking, keeping the girls clean, play with them, help them with their homework and the list goes on and on.

These stereotypes can affect your feelings about your family's structure and could lead to shame or anxiety.

It is essential to understand that these kinds of classifications are limiting and frequently based on misconceptions.

No Alone Time

Most men need their cave time to get away from everyone. That is just how we are biologically built.

However, as a stay-at-home dad, you literally have no time to be alone or meet friends.

In the early years, Lele is glued to me 24/7 that I had to do all my business in the toilet with her hanging on me.

In order to get some hours to myself, I woke up at 5.30 daily so I could exercise or do my own stuff.

Believe me, while I love my kids and wife, I definitely need alone time to recharge my batteries and clear my head.

To prove my point, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that men who had close friendships reported feeling happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who did not have close friendships.

Another study published in the Journal of Men's Health found that spending time alone can help men reduce stress and improve their overall mental health.

If you are finding it difficult to have some alone time, speak to your partner and try to come up with a schedule that works for both of you.


man standing in front of the window
man standing in front of the window

One of the biggest challenges of being a stay-at-home dad is isolation.

No more meals with colleagues, and your only conversation partners are my children and wife.

While I love spending time with them, it can be tough to connect with other parents who are also staying home during the day.

Many parent groups that meet during the week are primarily designed for and attended by mothers, which can be uncomfortable for stay-at-home dads.

It can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

In addition, there are zero topics to discuss with your male friends.

Discussions among men mainly focus on women, money, career, and politics.

The only thing you are able to bring to the table is how to keep the house clean, baby issues, and times with children.

It can be pretty sure that your guy friends are not interested in hearing about this.

In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, stay-at-home dads reported feeling isolated and lonely, with 56% saying they felt like they had no one to talk to about their problems.

Loss Of Independence

News flash!

Your livelihood now depends on your wife!

If you are someone who pride himself as self-sufficient, it can be a hard pill to swallow.

I had been financial independent from my parents since I reached 14 years old. Working part time during holiday to support myself, buying things as I like and saving a hefty sum of it.

Then all the sudden, it's all gone. No income, nothing to save. It is painful.

More Stress On Wife

Being a stay-at-home parent and a working parent, both come with their own unique set of challenges.

While I'm at home taking care of our daughter, my wife is out there in the workforce, working hard to provide for our family.

I have immense respect and gratitude for her dedication and hard work.

Her job is demanding, and as the breadwinner, she carries the additional burden of providing for the family financially.

It can be a very stressful situation to be in, and it's important to support each other through it all.

There were so many times that while she doesn't hate her job, she wished that she could spend more time at home with the girls.

We both know the sacrifice we made as we want someone that is always available at home for the girls during their growing up.

Unfortunately, there may be people who don't understand our family dynamic and may judge my wife for being the one who works outside of the home.

She can be criticized for not being at home with her kids or making a bad choice of having a sloth for a husband.

Sometimes it can feel as if we are against the world. But we know that our arrangement works best for our family and that's all that matters.

I make it a point to let my wife know that I am always ready to step up and take on a job if she ever feels overwhelmed or needs a break.

While I may not earn as much as she does, my income can help us tide over until she can get back to work.

I also do my best to support my wife in her career by helping her with household chores, taking over the kids, and being there to listen when she needs to vent about work.

It's important to show her that I value and appreciate everything she does for our family.

In the end, what matters most is that we work together as a team to provide a happy and healthy home for our daughter.

We both have our own roles to play, and we each bring unique strengths and skills to the table.

Together, we make a great team, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In addition, our society often focuses on the importance of the mother's involvement in raising a child. They feel that women are definitely better at doing "mum" work. Men should just go out and work.

As a result, stay-at-home dads may feel like they have something to prove, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Don't let these stereotypes define you. Being a SAHD is an honorable job, and you are doing an incredible job.

Prove them wrong, stay in shape and work the hell out during pockets of free time.

Have the last laugh.

This lack of social support and alone time can have negative effects on men's mental health, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also strain relationships with their partners and children.

There can also be a fear of losing one's identity outside of being a parent.

Stay-at-home dads may feel like they have lost touch with their former selves and may struggle to find ways to maintain their interests and hobbies.

It can be challenging to feel cut off from the world, but there are ways to stay connected. Try connecting with other SAHDs or try to pick up new hobbies that allow you to meet new people.

Creating and sharing content can be a fulfilling way to contribute value to the world and validate our self-worth.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with playing video or computer games, I find that it doesn't provide a sense of purpose or contribute value to myself or others.

By redirecting our time and energy towards activities that provide value, we can not only feel a sense of accomplishment but also build our self-esteem.

For example, instead of playing games, we can use our spare time to learn a new skill or create content that others can benefit from.

By doing so, we are not only creating value for ourselves but also for others, which can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Learning a new skill, like playing an instrument, can also help us develop a sense of mastery and competence, which can further boost our self-esteem.

Gaming can come later once the seed sow can be reaped.

Staying occupied with meaningful activities can help prevent feelings of boredom or self-pity.

By staying busy and engaged, we can cultivate a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can in turn lead to greater self-esteem and overall well-being.

people riding boat on body of water
people riding boat on body of water


As a stay-at-home dad, I'm constantly questioning whether I'm doing things right for my daughter.

I worry that my strict way of teaching isn't the best for her, and I remember how she trembles in fear when I scold her.

I often wonder whether my wife will do a better job than I do as she is way gentler and patient than I am.

I also struggle with feelings of guilt and worry about how my girls will perceive me.

Will they see me as a failure for not working outside the home?

Will they think that I am less of a man because I am not the primary breadwinner?

These kinds of thoughts can weigh heavily on a stay-at-home dad's mind and contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

I personally find writing down my reflection and reading up more on subjects of parenting and self-help helps.

Reflective writing is a powerful tool for self-awareness and personal growth.

Writing down our thoughts and experiences can help us understand our own values, beliefs, and emotions, as well as identify areas for improvement.

Research has shown that reflective writing can enhance self-awareness, increase empathy, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

In the context of parenting, reflecting on our actions and interactions with our children can be particularly valuable.

By examining our own behavior and emotions, we can identify patterns and triggers that may be contributing to conflicts or other challenges in our relationship with your child.

This awareness can help us make conscious choices to change our behavior and improve our relationship with our children.

According to research by Dr. Karen K. Kramer and her colleagues, many stay-at-home dads struggle with the loss of financial independence and the feeling that they can no longer spend money the way they used to.

Some even take on part-time jobs to supplement the family income.

I become super frugal with my spending. While my lovely wife doesn't require me to justify anything, I feel that it is my responsibility to at least stop spending since I isn't earning.

One solution to this dilemma is to find ways to contribute value while still being a stay-at-home dad.

This could involve starting a website, freelancing, teaching people things using videos or anything you think of that can generate income from home.

I was struck on this for a long time. I truly have no idea how to generate income from home. My first attempt to build income online was 10 years ago. I felt that it was a flog.

At its peak, it was earning me about $500 monthly, but I really didn't like the content I was creating.

I started this website as a way to offer value to the world.

Only time will tell whether it will make money. In the meantime, I will write as much articles as I can as it gives me a purpose. I will eventually make YouTube videos too as they are another way to share value to the masses.

It's important to remember that being a stay-at-home dad is a valuable and important job, and it's okay to ask for help and support when needed. While it may take some adjustment to get used to the new financial dynamic, it's possible to find a balance that works for both you and your partner.

By finding ways to contribute to the society while still fulfilling your duties as a stay-at-home dad, you can continue to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

woman in brown coat carrying child in orange and white striped polo shirt
woman in brown coat carrying child in orange and white striped polo shirt

In addition to reflective writing, reading up on subjects of parenting and self-help can also be helpful in improving your parenting skills.

There is a wealth of information available on topics such as child development, effective communication, and positive discipline that can provide insights and strategies for addressing common parenting challenges.

I think It is important to know that becoming a better parent is not about being perfect or avoiding mistakes.

As the original statement suggests, mistakes are inevitable in the parenting journey. We are all first-time parents.

All children are unique. It's all back to square one with the next child.

What matters is how you respond to those mistakes.

Admitting your mistakes and apologizing to your child can be a powerful way to model accountability and build trust in your relationship.

Research has shown that apologies can promote forgiveness, strengthen relationships, and reduce conflict.

You can't really improve yourself if you do not have awareness of your own shortcomings and the knowledge for improvement.

We are all new to the field of parenting and mistakes are bound to be made. What's important is to be a better version of yourself the next day.


Being a stay-at-home dad has its ups and downs.

While it can be challenging at times, it's also incredibly rewarding.

Watching my daughter grow and learn is one of the greatest joys of my life.

And let's not forget the heartwarming moments - like when she tells me I'm her "best friend" or when she tries to teach me how to do handstands which she is learning from her gymnastic class.

It's a journey, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


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