Culture

I’m a Stay-at-Home Dad and Military Spouse — This Is What I’ve Learned About Non-Traditional Fatherhood

Fatherhood is certainly no walk in the park. However, a new form of scrutiny ensues when you’re a stay-at-home dad — especially for one raised in the Latinx/Hispanic community.

Being a part of this community, I grew up with the strong belief that those in my position should be the primary breadwinners and heads of household, but fatherhood also means swallowing your pride to do what’s best for your children. It was with this responsibility that I put aside all I knew, and created the Soy Super Papá Facebook group. In a time where resources for other Spanish-speaking fathers remain scarce, our members have built a safe space to share their stories, experiences, advice, and even mentor each other.

My parental journey began in 2016, when I found out I was going to become a father, a papá. For the first time in my life, I was going to be fully responsible for someone other than myself. This filled me with an immense amount of joy, but at the same time I felt the same fear and pressures with the job that all other new parents feel. The nerves only increased when my wife and I made the decision for me to be the stay-at-home dad to our beautiful daughter. Though we both worked at the time, my wife was an officer in the army and I never wanted her to have to give up on her career.

She was and still is my biggest hero and so it became my duty to put on my cape too, and become a Super Papá.

It wasn’t easy for me to put aside what I had been taught growing up — to provide for my family and make sure they had everything they needed.

Only 17% of stay-at-home parents in the United States are dads to begin with. However, I realized that I had the power to redefine what providing for my family actually meant. Full of hope and energy, I searched far and wide for information about fatherhood in my native language but could hardly find any resources. I knew that I couldn’t possibly be the only Spanish-speaking dad looking for help. Shortly after, Soy Super Papá was born. 

I’ve learned a lot about the art of parenting since creating this group and interacting with its amazing members. One of the most impactful lessons I’ve come to learn is the importance of community. No Super Papá should ever have to be alone, and finding others to share experiences can bring new information, resources, and opportunities for their children.

It’s crucial that all fathers join the parenting conversation. We can benefit from learning about our cultural differences to become stronger and better parents when hearing from a diverse set of fathers from around the world on how they raise their children. We celebrate what makes us each unique in our own cultures and bring our lessons to each other.

Soy Super Papá has also taught me just how vital it is to be part of our childrens’ lives, and to always advocate for them. Integrating our lives with our kids’ can help us become more present, and influence the decisions they might make in the future. We must teach them to stand up for themselves, and exemplify what we hope the future will look like to them. Our kids are the next generation of movers and shakers, so sign up for that next bake sale, go to PTA meetings, and volunteer to be your kid’s soccer coach. These actions will cement the relationships we have with them for the rest of our lives. 

Five years and over 68,600+ members later, Soy Super Papá’s overarching mission remains to empower other Latino fathers to spread the importance of education about fatherhood, gender equality, mental health and being an active parent.

One thing this community has really opened my eyes to is that being Latino means we are not geographically defined. In this group we are able to unite over our shared language and experiences as dads. Coming together through this community has not only taught us important lessons, but has also created lasting friendships and support through everything parenthood and life throws at us. 

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