Our 27 month old, TJ, started a program called mother’s morning out (MMO) last week. It’s run by a local church, and it provides a chance for mothers to, put simply, get a few hours to themselves for one, two, or three mornings during the week. A Google search will reveal just how prevalent these programs are, and just how gender specific the search term has to be. For example, googling “Father’s Day Out” returns a bunch of cheesy Father’s Day websites. There isn’t a single reference, resource, or pointer to anything related to programs such as Mother’s Morning Out.
So, fellow father, you may be wondering what to do if you find yourself in need of a couple hours’ respite in the morning, and mother’s morning out is your only option. Read on to discover what you should know, what to expect and how to prepare for this misleadingly named parent’s program.
Let’s dispense with the foreshadowing and get right to the point; MMO Programs aren’t gender-specific. Yes, fathers are just as welcome at these quaint,mostly church-run, parental refuges. To my delight, I wasn’t the only father there when my wife and I dropped TJ off for his first morning at “school”, which is what we call it when talking to our son. I was definitely in the minority, though. There were about three other men there, at least one of which was obviously a grandparent.
My older son, TJ, was so excited
to go to MMO on the first day!
The biggest misconception I have found among not only fathers, but all parents, is that Mother’s Morning Out programs are the same as daycare. While there are some similarities, they are not the same thing. There are two main differences; namely: time and cost. Most MMO programs are one, two, or three day(s) per week, and about two hours per day only. Daycare is an all day child care service that is typically five days per week for eight hours per day. The cost difference is reflected in this, as well. The MMO program that my family uses costs about $20 per day. In my area (a suburb of Philadelphia), the average annual cost of daycare is $19,575. Furthermore, many daycares require a contract that you’ll have your child attend their daycare for a given period of time. To get a more accurate comparison, however, let’s break that data down a bit.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s round the annual cost of daycare to a whole number; $20,000. Per year, this equates to about $10/hour ($20,000 / 50 weeks (leaving two weeks for holidays) / 40 hours per week = $10). So, in terms of the cost per hour, daycare is actually about half as expensive as a typical MMO Program. However, when you consider the fact that mother’s morning out programs are only between one and three days per week and don’t require a contract, they are by far the more affordable option.
Mother’s Morning Out Programs are typically run in a local (Christian) church. That being said, they maintain a secular environment for the children who attend them. It makes sense; an age when most children are still not toilet-trained is not an appropriate time to teach them about religion, spirituality, and matters of the spirit. When it comes to those most important aspects of life, I prefer to steer the ship. The Mother’s Morning Out program that we use respects those boundaries, and focuses instead on more age-appropriate matters, such as:
Since attending MMO, TJ has been more patient with his little brother, Rowan, more receptive to my instructions when play time is over, more willing to take a nap, clean up, follow directions, and an all-around more well-adjusted boy. I noticed this difference almost immediately after his first day. It’s a funny quirk of some children that they do things first or more willingly for strangers than they will do them for their own parents. I call it “performance behavior.” However, once TJ “performs” for someone else, he usually incorporates it into his repetoir of normal, routine, behavior.
Mother’s Morning Out is the clear winner in this dad’s opinion. From the cost and lack of a contract to the effective methods used to socialize your child, MMO provides the most value for your dollar. Unless you need all-day childcare, and you don’t have a trusted friend or family member to provide this, MMO is a far more practical solution than daycare. It provides an educational socialization opportunity for your little one, as well as providing you some time to catch up on some blissful sleep (or dishes, cleaning, and changing your other baby’s diapers).
You just got home from the hospital. Hopefully everything went well, and Mommy is home too. If this is your first child, prepare to feel a bit like a third wheel (if it’s not, you already know the drill). Below I list some of the best ways for a father to bond with his child, and hopefully feel less like a third wheel. My hope is for dads to feel more like the critical member of the family they were intended to be.
Ever wonder why one of the first things doctors do immediately after delivering a child is hand them to their mother (well, besides the fact that she has the food, and who wouldn’t be hungry after going through an experience like being born)? It’s because of a phenomenon that occurs when your baby touches their parent’s skin. It’s called “skin-to-skin” contact, and it means so much to your baby. However, dads can get lost in the shuffle during this crucial window. I recommend setting time aside specifically for this every day. You will find that you have skills of your own to bring to the table that your child’s mother doesn’t, or isn’t as good at. For me, it was “gliding”. It was a term we coined for sitting in the glider with our firstborn, TJ, and rocking him to sleep. He wasn’t as good of a sleeper as Rowan is. I spent many nights with him: his little body laid across mine, tummy to tummy, patting his diapered butt with my hand while gliding him to sound sleep. If you had told me that I would actually miss those sleepless nights, I would have scoffed. Little did I know just how right you would have been!
This one can seem silly sometimes, because until your kiddo learns how to talk, it can feel like you’re talking to yourself. However, many studies have shown that a child hearing their parents voices has tons of benefits for them. Your child’s brain is like a dry sponge; ready to soak up any knowledge it’s exposed to.
I felt a little awkward as I was trying to think of what I should say to my son when he and I were alone during the day. I soon realized that it didn’t really matter what I talked about, it just mattered that I was talking. While you’re getting a bottle warmed up for your little one, talk to him or her! Narrate the process, even though they won’t be able to understand what you’re saying. Say things like, “Okay, I am going to go get you a ba!” Or, when you’re changing your child’s diaper, say what you’re doing out loud. I was very animated when I would change my son’s diaper. If he had gone number 2, I would say, “Oh! Poo tanky!” (Poo stinky). To his delight, I would then pretend that I got knocked out by the smell. If he had just peed, I would say, “Oh, phew! It’s just pee!” while wiping my brow in an overly exaggerated expression of relief. Sometime around six to nine months, your child will start babbling and making sounds like, “Goo! Ga! Ba! Da!” To encourage them and the development of their language skills, I recommend that you always mirror their sounds back to them.
Before long, he or she will start making connections between the sounds you make and what you’re doing. TJ’s first word was “Ba!” for his bottle. His first name was “Da Da!” for daddy. I still fondly recall walking in the door from a long day at Starbucks (where I worked at the time), and TJ, for the first time, saying “Da Da!” while crawling excitedly over to me as fast as his little fat legs and arms could carry him. It made me feel ten feet tall.
Hide and seek is a classic and fun way to make your child squeal with laughter. Peek-a-boo is also a go-to for infants. Or you can play, “Where is it?” and hide a favorite toy or stuffed animal and let your kiddo look for it. I used to pretend that I forgot where I put something of his and let TJ look for it for a while sometimes (an easy way to buy yourself some down time during those super-tired days). Another favorite is “Play Cars”, which is TJ’s name for laying on the floor with Da Da and just… playing cars. Play time is when a lot of early childhood development, physical, psychological, and emotional occurs. One thing I’ve learned is that children (at least mine) don’t really care what you’re doing with them, as long as you’re paying full attention to them.
When you’re going to be a stay at home dad and you don’t want to lose your mind, you’re going to have to find a way to make it fun for yourself and your kids. Children are very perceptive, and have an uncanny ability to intuit things that haven’t been explicitly said. If your heart isn’t in it, they will know. When you’re distracted, they will know. When you’re unhappy, they will know. Don’t worry about being the “most fun dad” or the “best dad” or anything like that. After all, you’re without a doubt the most fun dad that your children have, and the best dad they’ve ever had, too!
What are some of the ways that you bond with your child/ren? Leave a comment below. If you found this post and mistermommy.com helpful, please share it with your friends and family using one of the social media buttons below!
Hello fellows! I decided to write this article at 1:30 in the morning on a Sunday night in order to share my business(es) with you guys (and hopefully drive some of you to make a change for yourselves, since anyone can do what I do)! Both of these businesses can be done from your couch, making them ideal for work from home dads! The way I see it, just because you’re a stay at home dad doesn’t mean that you can’t also be a working dad. You just need to change the what and the where; namely what you do and where you do it from. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all “salesy” on you gents. I am, however, going to ask you to think about several things that may seem silly and/or uncomfortable at first (don’t worry, I will tie it all up in a neat bow at the end, I promise!). There are three questions I have for you:
I know, I know; it sounds like a BS question. Before you click away from this page, though, hear me out! I asked this question so you would honestly search yourself for the driving factor behind your angst. Some guys are just not cut out to be stay at home dads, while others are satisfied with the padding their bank account has. If you’re already comfortable with your current income, none of these opportunities are unlikely to work for you. Why? Two reasons:
No, I am not being smart or facetious; this is critical. So many times in my business I have tried to help others achieve a life changing residual income; laying out the steps that they needed to take in order to get this result, even breaking it down into manageable tasks, only to have them try to take matters into their own hands, rush the process, and ultimately, fail. If you’re a genius level individual, I respectfully ask you to keep it moving, and use that IQ to save the planet, cure diseases, and end world hunger.
If, however, you’re fairly intelligent (and you most likely are, since you’re here), and able to keep it simple, then read on! If you do what I did, you’ll get what I got!
I have learned in my 34 years on Earth that people either work hard to make a change, or they work just as hard to resist it. As I previously stated, these are not get-rich-quick schemes. These are businesses. Like any other business, individual effort is the single most important factor in predicting success. You are building a future for yourself and your family. Because I want to be successful at what I do, I am putting in some extra time, and writing this article in the early morning hours. I knew that being a dad was going to be the single most challenging, frustrating, rewarding experience of my life. There’s one thing, however, that makes any situation in life harder: lack of money. No one likes being broke. Stay at home dads are no exception to this rule. I want to be a role model for my sons, and show them that their dad is a determined individual who rose above the challenges that life gave him, and thrived in spite of everything that was against him. If you want to do the same thing, you should check out the following two business opportunities!
Put simply, Wealthy Affiliate is a community-oriented website building tool and group of online entrepreneurs that will teach you how to make money online. I can’t speak highly enough about this program. It will teach you, from start to finish, how to build a website, monetize it, and profit from it. There are literally tens of thousands of other Wealthy Affiliate members around the world, and we’re all rooting for each other! The internet has made working from home not only possible for anyone and easier than ever, but also a viable source of income for almost anyone.
Kynect is, at its heart, an energy retail company. Formerly known as Stream, it is based out of Texas, and now sells electricity in over a dozen states. Around 2015, we took our services nationwide by offering cellphone service for an extremely competitive rate (around $45/month for unlimited everything– high speed data included). For $200, you can become an Independant Associate, and make money every time one of your clients pays their electricity and/or cell phone bills. You’ll earn one-time bonuses at 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 customers (the list goes on), you qualify for free electricity at 15 customers, you can qualify for leadership bonuses as you help other associates that you brought into the business promote through their tiers, qualify for all expenses paid vacations, cars, and more. If you’re an outgoing person, you’ll do well with Kynect.
You’ve read this post, and you’ve decided to give one (or both) of these opportunities a try. Don’t feel like you have to, or even should, do both. In fact, personally, I recommend that you choose one of them, stick with it for at least a year, and if after that year, you’re not feeling it, then you can either cut your losses and switch, or you can do what I did, and double dip. I know several multi-millionaires in both industries. The most important thing is to carefully consider the type of life you envision for yourself, and which of these businesses will best allow for that.
The longest journeys start with a single step, and so it is with these opportunities. If you’re ready to take that first step, first of all: congratulations are in order! I am genuinely excited for you! Secondly, know this: You’re not proposing to your future wife here; you’re just dating an idea. If you end up not liking the choice you made, then you’re absolutely free to change your mind at any point, no strings attached.
Your wife, significant other, or girlfriend (the mother of your child) is at work, and now it’s entirely on you to feed your baby. So, you may be wondering what the best baby bottles are for your little one. Well, mister mommy is here to share hard-won experience with you, so you don’t have to figure it out on the fly. That old adage still applies: “A smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” So, without further ado, I’m going to tell you what you’ll need to get the job done, with none of the BS!
Your baby’s milk, whether formula fed or breast fed, will need to be put into a sterile bottle, and brought as close to body temperature as possible before you can give it to your little one. You’ll want the following around:
… and that’s it. You’ll want to put the refrigerated milk in the bottle, screw the bottle top on tightly (while there may not be any use in crying over spilled milk, your baby certainly will if you spill its milk), place it in the large mug, and fill the mug with warm water. Wait about five minutes for the milk to warm up before feeding your little one. If the milk is too cold, your baby may not take it. Too hot, and you’ll get a wail of angry teary-eyed protest. Until you get the feel for how long the bottle should stay in the water, how hot the water should be, and how it should feel through the plastic in your hand, you should test the milk’s temperature on the underside of your wrist to gauge its temperature before you feed your baby.
The best baby bottle brand, in this dad’s opinion, is Tommee Tippee. They are BPA-free, can take an angry toddler jumping on them (I can personally attest to this), aren’t overly expensive, and are the brand I used to feed both of my sons. They come in a variety of sizes, are microwave-safe (which makes sterilization easy), have interchangeable nipples (as your child grows, he or she will most likely need a faster flow), and disassemble for easy cleaning. Furthermore, they have excellent customer service (not that bottles necessitate frequent calls).
I have included links below to all the products we talked about in this article for your convenience. While I am compensated if you purchase anything using my affiliate link, I am not paid to endorse a specific product or brand. I only recommend products that I have first-hand knowledge of. If it’s not good enough for my kids, I won’t recommend it. Period.
Now you’ve got your little one home all day, and you realize one of the great truths of being a stay at home parent: it gets boring. You’re going to want to get out of the house, and for that, you’ll need to transport your little nugget. So, what’s the best baby stroller to transport said nugget? Deciding which type(s) of stroller to buy feels a lot like going to a vending machine when you’re hungry, but you only have a dollar.
Fear not, fellow father! To most accurately answer that question, all you need to know are two basic things:
There are, generally speaking, two types of strollers: Umbrella Strollers, and “travel system” style strollers. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros: Light, quick to set up and get going with, inexpensive.
Cons: Doesn’t have a transferable car seat, doesn’t scale.
Ideal scenario of use: You want to get outside and walk to the local coffee shop and meet a fellow mister mom for coffee. You can just throw junior’s shoes on, plop him in the stroller, snap the buckle, and clickity split – out the door in three minutes!
Breakdown: Umbrella strollers are great for quick walks with the little one. And I mean only one. You will have a hard time finding a cost-effective umbrella stroller that seats two. I haven’t found any, yet. If you know of one, drop a message in the comments section below. I will check it out, and if it’s legit, I’ll add it to my list of mistermommy-approved strollers!
Pros: Scalable, interchangeable with a car seat, can travel long distances.
cons: Heavier, can be frustrating to install the car seat base, more expensive.
Ideal Scenario of use: You are taking your child(ren) to your significant mother’s house, who lives a respectable 45 minutes to an hour away.
Breakdown: Travel systems are a must have. If you could only have one type of stroller, it would be this type. Because of the fact that the baby seat is interchangeable from the stroller base to the car seat base, this is literally the only type of stroller that you actually need.Throw in the fact that once (if) you have more than one, your umbrella stroller will be relegated to the garage until one of your mini mes can walk, this is hands down the most practical solution to your travel needs.
While umbrella strollers are convenient for quick outings with one child, they’re not the most practical when it comes to long distances or for dads with multiple children. For these types of situations, travel systems are the only way to go. Because of their scalability, their versatility, and their reusability, they are really the only type of stroller you need, but most people have both. However, don’t spend the big bucks on the umbrella stroller, as these are better spent on travel-systems. After all, if I was going to spend most of my budget for the month on strollers, I would definitely be putting the majority of it into the one that will potentially save my child/ren’s life/lives should the unthinkable happen and I got into a car accident!
If you need an umbrella stroller, I recommend The Rocket Lightweight Stroller by Baby Trend available on Amazon.com. It’s an excellent balance of price (less than $50) vs. durability, won’t break on you, and it’s one I have used for both of my children.
If you need a travel system, I recommend the Graco FastAction Fold Travel System, also available on Amazon.com. Graco is a world-renowned car seat manufacturer, so, I exclusively recommend them when it comes to anything car-related for children. It’s less than $200, and it’s an investment that you won’t regret making.