Being a stay-at-home dad is tough—not so much physically but psychologically. Society still has the expectation that only moms stay home with kids, and after spending so many years preparing for a career, there are a lot of obstacles and stereotypes to overcome. Based on my own experiences, I put together a list of 10 things you can do this Father's Day (and any day, for that matter) to show the stay-at-home Dad in your life how much you appreciate everything he does.
1. Give him a break. In my year as a stay-at-home dad and in the following four where I cared for the kids during the day, there were times when the monotony was too much to take. Sometimes all I wanted was a day off (I mean, there are only so many arguments Papa Bear can lose to his 3-year-old Peanut Bear before he wants a break). Reward his hard work by letting him hibernate, re-charge his batteries by relaxing in the backyard, or escape for a round of golf.
2. Be arty and crafty. If you're anything like me, arts and crafts (and I don't mean just coloring) aren't really the best thing to do with the kids. (It's honestly like torture for me and I don't know why.) I do, however, enjoy receiving special projects from the kids. Have the kids express how much they appreciate dad with a collage or shadow box. My wife did this once with the kids and it was funny to learn what I looked like through their eyes. My then 3-year-old son saw me as Superman because of all the dry wall I was lifting to finish the basement. Of course, that's the same year he soaked me with the hose while I was carrying that same drywall, so he clearly wasn't afraid of all my powers.
3. Have the kids do their part. This is a simple one that can be used all year long and is specifically for all the older kids out there looking to make Dad a little happier: Clean up after yourself! Dad's life gets a whole lot easier when the kids make an effort to make their beds, put dishes in the sink and take dirty clothes to the laundry room.
4. Picture it. If you're the kind of family that takes pictures every chance it gets (we don't, but grandma doesn't go anywhere without a camera), go through those stacks of photos and create a scrapbook for Dad. Or, find 12 great photos of Dad with the kids and make a calendar that can be displayed on the fridge. Have the kids write notes to include in the calendar for a more personal touch, and don't forget to include birthdays and anniversaries. (I know I would appreciate that, since I'm the absent-minded one).