Am I the only stay-at-home dad in town?

When a male expat partner cares for the kids full-time, he can often experience feelings of isolation. But with growing numbers of stay-at-home dads around the world, they should be able to find their tribe (with a little help from Google).

Casual stigma

On an online forum in Singapore, a post is titled: “Am I the only stay-at-home dad in town?” The first ‘helpful’ response highlights the casual stigma that is often associated with stay-at-home dads. “Usually the lady stays at home and looks after the baby – how come in this case, it’s the man who does this?”

Finding your tribe

Similarly, in a Financial Times story on this topic, an expat and stay-at-home father living in Geneva revealed he felt ‘judged’ as the only male parent in the playground on a weekday morning. As a result, he decided to set up his own social group and seek out other stay-at-home dads (as well as house husbands) to trade stories over beers.

Alone on an island

The president of the National At-Home Dad Network, which unites stay-at-home dads across the US, Jonathan Heisey-Grove admits that when he first gave up work to take care of his kids full-time, he felt like he was “trapped on an island”. It was a desperate Google search that led him to the network he now presides over.

‘Lads who lunch’

If you are a stay-at-home dad, you might be able to find an expat social group that isn’t exclusive to fathers but offers plenty of camaraderie. In Brussels and London, for example, there’s a social network called Studs (‘Spouses Trailing Under Duress Successfully’) while in Shanghai, there’s a group called Guy Tai – a play on taitai, Chinese for ‘lady who lunches’. The only hitch here is you will need a babysitter to hang out with the lads!

Taking the initiative

But, like the aforementioned stay-at-home dads in this story, why not be proactive? Use a platform like Facebook to see if there are other stay-at-home dads in town and/or set up a page to organise meetups. All around the world, there are growing numbers of stay-at-home dads. The likelihood is you will find others. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that the guy who wondered if he was the only stay-at-home-dad in all of Singapore, went on to set up his own social group that now serves as a lifeline to many others.

This article was originally written (pre Covid-19) for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.

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