HomeArticlesAt-Home Dad to Super Dad

At-Home Dad to Super Dad

From left: Phoenix Dads Group members, Terrance Southern, Aadam Lamb, Ben Mills, and Will Selleck.

It Takes a Justice League!

My journey to becoming a stay-at-home SuperDad began like for most mild-mannered fathers… Life changed!

For my family, a few things took place all at once. First, my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away from a stroke. My partner and I re-evaluated our life priorities. He had been very involved with daily childcare of our then two-year-old son. His absence left some big shoes to fill. Second, our baby girl was expected to arrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Third, the federal grant that largely supported my office was up for renewal. Layoffs loomed. And so begins the origin story of this superhero!

What happened next really put my SuperDad powers to the ultimate test. I was about to go from being Clark Kent in my office by day and SuperDad at night, to full-time SuperDad! Like any comic book kid or Hollywood producer knows, this is when the Justice League is formed.

Here are some tips for being an at-home dad, adapted from an article by Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider, founders of City Dads Group, with some added superhero touches. My chosen Justice League team members best capture these tips for becoming an at-home SuperDad! (Spoiler alert: Other heroes may join me in the future as my League’s needs grow).

Batman (co-conspirator, innovative)

Communicate openly, and regularly revisit routines with your partner.

New at-home dads should discuss the new career path with their partner/support network to create action plans and routines. This includes responsibilities, tasks, managing finances, regular self-care, and a flexible timeline – and revisit often.

Wonder Woman (warrior, honest)

Lean on your village and prioritize self-care.

The individual that fills this role should stand beside you when times get rough. This role can be filled by a close friend, relative, daycare provider, counseling professional, or trusted neighbor. In addition to seeking advice, it is also important to recharge your batteries. Schedule daily or weekly personal time for yourself.

Aquaman (adventurer, adaptable)

Build connections with other dads and seek adventure with your family.

It is important for both your sanity and the growth and development of your kids to have other adult role models in their life. It can be lonely in this role, so take your family outdoors and make new dad friends!

Flash (scientist, forward-thinking)

Consider future career planning and stay active (physically and mentally).

You may not always be a stay-at-home dad. There are vital things you can do to keep your mind and body active for your future career. Joining a gym or Meetup group (such as the Phoenix Dads Group) can be a good start to staying healthy, as well as making new friends.

Cyborg (supercomputer, trailblazing)

Take pride in the at-home dad journey.

This role should be filled by those in your support network who embrace you for being the out-of-this world superhero you have become! You are in an exclusive league: the at-home dads. Wear this crest on your chest with pride! I recommend watching “Turf Valley’’ on YouTube. It highlights the life of at-home dads while sharing great dad jokes and parenting adventures.

Until next time… Up, up, and away!

Ben Mills is a full-time at-home dad who has been married for 10 years. They have two kids, ages 6 and 3. He is a Tucson native who now resides in Avondale. Ben currently serves as the Co-Organizer of Phoenix Dads Group: a dynamic, diverse and inclusive community of fathers dedicated to being active in their children’s lives and, by example, redefining what it means to be a dad in the 21st century. phoenixdadsgroup.com



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