As anyone with kids will tell you, being a stay-at-home parent is a tough job. In fact, I would argue it's tougher than most, perhaps even more so when you're a father. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward. Despite the fact that more men than ever are choosing to be stay-at-home dads (SAHD), the simple reality is, it is still far from the norm. Societal mores are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome, and being a SAHD means that you're forsaking the important aspects of a traditional career: income, a sense of identity, and the respect of your peers.

While this makes being a SAHD difficult and challenging, it is also one of the most important, and it can be immeasurably satisfying and rewarding. Being a SAHD has afforded me the opportunity to be involved in my kids' lives and has taught me to be more patient, responsible, and resilient. Sure, it hasn't always been easy, but the best things in life never are. It is a labor of love, and with the right attitude, I can meet whatever challenge life throws my way and come out a better person.

Here are some of the things that helped me cope with this transformative process.

1. Take Pride in Whatever You Do

Every guy can relate to this. We take pride in what we do, so why would fatherhood be any different? Dads can be proud of the fact that their kids are growing into independent and well-adjusted people under their watch.

2. Remind Yourself That Time is Precious

It's a cliche to say that you can't have these years with your kids back, but it's true. Make the most of your time with your children because they grow so quickly, and at some point, they'll move on without you.

3. Maintain Your Identity

Take time to tend to the things you most identify with, including hobbies, interests, and relationships. You may have to compromise or change your approach, but the fundamental self is still the same.

4. Watch Very Little TV

Despite what they want us to think, TV is not reality. If anything, it does us a disservice by promoting a "reality" that is false and unattainable. SAHDs are better off dealing in reality than watching fantasies about how other people are supposed to look and live their lives.

5. Keep in Touch With Friends

Keep your connections with the outside world. In addition to your spouse (hopefully), your friends offer support and understanding, not to mention, opportunities to blow off steam and have fun.

6. Enjoy the Company of Women

Most caregivers are still moms, and hanging out with them offers a different social dynamic that can be fun, educational, and rewarding. Plus, moms appreciate (usually) what SAHDs are doing.

7. Don't Try to Do it All

Watching the kids first means that other things may garner less attention, so orderliness and meals may not turn out perfectly. Make sure your spouse understands this.

8. Try to Focus on the Good Things

When you're at home all day, plenty of things go wrong, so focus on the positives. This includes the little things, and there are plenty with kids. There is a good life lesson in there as well.

9. Continually Learn New Things

With children, everything is new and exciting, so why not join in on this journey of discovery? The most important thing is to be open to whatever happens and have fun with it.

10. Share Your Interests With Your Kids

Whether it's sports, books, building things, or food, you can share what you love with your kids and experience a renaissance of interest as they follow in your footsteps (or not).

11. Work Hard at Not Being Taken for Granted

Make sure your spouse understands the sacrifices and challenges you are making and adjusts their expectations accordingly. Most moms appreciate this and are on board, but the key is communication.

12. Try Not to Worry What Others Think (Though I Usually Fail)

Sure, this is easier said than done, but I've found that immersing myself in parenting is too demanding to care what people think. Plus, your family's opinion is the only one that matters.

13. Make the Most of Your Time Alone

This is probably the one place where it is all right to be selfish and fight for what is important to you. You spend your day taking care of others, so savor your "alone time."

14. Make the Most of Time With Your Spouse

This should be personal and self-explanatory.

15. Take Care of Yourself

Mind and body work in unison, so take care of both. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, reduce screen time, and avoid tobacco and alcohol. This will also help you live a longer and better life.

16. And Put Away Your Smartphone

For full disclosure, I don't even own a smartphone, but I see how obsessed people are with them. Is it too much to ask that you put it away to spend some quality time with your family? Kids and spouses pick up on the fact that you're ignoring them.