When you picture a military couple, one going off to fight a war, and the other taking on the role of the stay-at-home parent, society typically envisions the man off in battle and the woman home with the children. But with nearly 20 percent of the Air Force consisting of women, men are quickly learning the challenges of being the military spouse, home with the kids.
In the military, dads aren't forced to take care of their children on their own from just 9 to 5 but rather for months at a time while their wives are away on duty. Read: 3 Deployments, Still Together: How We Did It
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Despite the fact that society has come a long way in accepting equal roles of both sexes, there are a few daily challenges that stay-at-home dads struggle to adjust to—at least at first.
1. Figuring out the mystery that is "doing" a woman's hair.
Now we know that we can't expect a man to magically produce an elegant updo for his 5-year-old daughter. Goodness knows we certainly can't begin to know how chignons are created. But we're not talking about curling irons, buns or even braids. A simple ponytail would suffice. Nevertheless, try as they may, sometimes even the best of them can't pull off this daunting task.
2. Dealing with all those "womanly" changes.
If a stay at home dad is really lucky, he'll have to battle discussing menstruation, breast development, and of course, sex, to his little princess. A tough topic to discuss with your child of the same sex, even the bravest among them might avoid this conversation for as long as possible. Our recommendation? Give her a copy of Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me Margaret to help move things along.
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3. Putting your child first.
As Simon Van Booy wrote in his recent New York Times "Modern Love" column about being a single father, stay-at-home dads have to "think differently about everything." Instead of watching Terminator, you might be forced to watch Beauty and the Beast. Not just once, but several times. And New Year's Eve no longer is the time for champagne and all night parties but rather sparkling apple cider.