If you are a full-time stay at home dad, you may think this article is a little obvious. However, if you are thinking about becoming a stay at home dad and want to know what it might be like, I think this article could be very helpful to you.

Today is my 7th and final day as a stay at home dad, at least for the time being. As an experiment, I would have to say that it was a success. Our days went something like this:

We would wake up at a normal time: between 6:30 and 7:30. We would eat breakfast together and watch Thomas and Friends or Dora the Explorer.

At 8, when we would ordinarily leave for daycare, we would often start to watch Sesame Street, and then lose interest and start playing trains. I would try to work on my laptop from 9 until 10:30, with limited success. Then, when Nick would get frustrated that we weren’t playing, we would start an activity until lunch. After lunch he would lay down for a nap. At that point, I would have about two hours to do some work. When Nick woke up from his nap, I closed the laptop and played with him until Mom got home.

As far as playtime goes, we did a wide variety of things. I tried to get out of the house a little bit every day. Two activities in particular really stuck out as huge successes: swimming and going to the library.

The swimming pool was full of other children and parents. This was a fantastic opportunity for Nick to play with other kids, and would be a great way to keep him socialized with other children if he was no longer going to daycare. I also found the other parents to be quite friendly and helpful. They were mostly women, but there were a couple of other dads there as well. In addition, the pool offered swimming lessons for children as small as 18 months, giving them an early start on their water skills.

The library was also an amazing experience. We attended a class called “Toddler Time”, which was intended for kids of about 18 months to four years old or so. The class ran for about 25 minutes, and included story-telling, a puppet show, sing-a-longs, and lots of other kids. After the class, most of the children stuck around the library playing with toys and reading books until lunch. Once again, lots of friendly parents.

We did a few other things as well – got haircuts, did some shopping, went to McDonald’s for lunch and playtime in the kid’s room. Today, I believe that the plan is to go to a pet store and pet the animals.

You could easily set up a routine so that you have one activity that you do every day that gets you out of the house, keeping your child socialized and preventing you from going stir crazy. The afternoon nap is a nice respite where you could get caught up on some reading, do a little work, take a nap, or hit the video games.

All in all, it was a very positive experience, and I am really glad that I had the opportunity to do it. I think that I am going to make some changes to my work day a little bit as a result too. I was really surprised at how much I was able to accomplish in my day when I really focused on it, and that will help me be more efficient next week. In addition, I think I will take at least one day off every month just to hang out with Nick and go swimming or to play. The weekends around here are usually rushed and full of tasks; we had really high quality play time together this week. It was a nice change of pace.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs