All Articles Tagged "stay at home dads"
A couple of weeks ago I, along with the rest of the country, tuned in to watch the Democratic National Convention. In addition to the speeches, peeping what Michelle was wearing and the “surprise” celebrity appearances, there was one other moment that stayed with me. It was the moment where Joe Biden’s son, Joseph Biden III (Beau), nominated his father for the office of Vice President. If you just so happened to miss the moment, know that by the end of the speech when Beau called his father “his hero,” Joe was wiping away tears and so was I.
You may remember that Joe Biden has a particularly special relationship with his sons Beau and Robert. He almost lost the both of them in a car accident that claimed the lives of his wife and one year old daughter. For years, Joe was a politician and single father, raising two boys while balancing a career. He was sworn in as a senator from the side of their hospital beds and as he advanced further in his career, he developed the practice of dropping everything and leaving work when one of his sons called him.
I don’t know Joe Biden’s life or anything; but I’d argue that this tragedy forced him to step up as a father, in ways that would have never happened if this tragedy had never occurred. Which got me thinking about the number of fathers who miss out on being as involved as they could be in their child’s life; not because they’ve made a conscious decision not to be, but because our society is set up in such a way that basically tells a man the crux of being a good father is more about bringing home the proverbial bacon instead of just being there.
At work the other day, my coworker was telling me about a man she knew who had to leave work quite a bit to attend to the needs of his children. This man was married but he took the initiative to leave work for the kids. You would think this would be a non-issue since women, you know, do it all the time; but it was a problem. So much so that his boss eventually confronted him, accusing him of using his kids as an excuse to leave work.
A shame that the thought of a father leaving work for his children is so unbelievable, he’s got to be lying. Men, by society’s standards, just aren’t supposed to be that invested in the rearing of their children.
And I’m not just talking about the men in our society holding on to these beliefs. We women are guilty of this type of thinking too. Many of us followed the very public custody battle between Tameka and Usher Raymond. After the ruling, I was one of the first people claiming that Tameka had to be truly crazy not to be granted custody. But even that sentiment is insulting to fathers. Is it so hard to believe that whether Tameka is crazy or not, Usher, as a man, just might have been the better parent?
I had to check myself. But I know I’m not the only one holding on to these sexiest ideals. There have been times where I’ve seen women dismiss or deride the efforts of a man attempting to care for his own children. She’ll shoo him away with a “That’s not right,” or an“I’ll just do it.” Sure, I’ll admit that mothers have a bit of an advantage caring for their children, considering they lived inside of them for 9 months; but I know from intense observation of new parents, that a lot of initial learning how to raise a child comes from trial and error. Why not give the man, your man, your child’s father [presumably] that same opportunity to learn? There are so many women who wish they had a man to help them out, why not take advantage, not only for yourself but for the bonding it’ll allow him to develop with your child?
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard women scoff after learning that so-so’s husband was a stay at home dad. Would these same women scoff this way at a mother who’d elected to stay at home? Probably not. When it’s a woman we’re more likely to acknowledge the work she has to put in to raise her children; but when it’s a man, surely he’s only a stay at home dad because he’s too lazy to work or completely incompetent as a provider. Now, I know money is important; we all have to eat, but what better way to provide for your children than to be there to make breakfast for them in the morning, to play with them during the day and to tuck them into bed at night? I guarantee you, as the child of a great father, those emotional, psychological provisions are what your child is going to remember, not the heap of toys he/she received for Christmas that one year.
We’re always begging men to step up, complaining about the prevalence of deadbeat, absentee fathers. There are plenty of them; but when there are men who are stepping up, are taking the initiative to care for their children, just like women have been and continue to do, let’s not look down on them or judge them unfairly because of it.
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It’s very rare that you find a man playing the role of the “house spouse.” The role of homemaker is usually associated with the wife, but more and more men are deciding to be stay-at-home husbands – and not just because theyr’e being lazy or trifling. For most men, being a house husband can be rough on the ego and quite emasculating. And for women, explaining this arrangement to their girls can be embarrassing – especially if they’re the judgmental type. But doing what’s best for you and your family may go against traditional gender roles, and gender-biasing may have to go out the window when considering the benefits of having your husband literally be the “man of the house.” As women are continuing to kill it in the work force, the number of stay-at-home husbands continues to grow…and for good reasons. Here are a few benefits to having your man rule the house while you’re out ruling the world!
As women rise in the workplace and a growing number of us become successful entrepreneurs, the number of househusbands, or stay-at-home dads, is also increasing. For many couples this sort of role reversal can be difficult and lead to a multitude of issues, often latent within the male ego. Men are wired to be protectors and providers, traits commonly dissociated with being a homemaker. So, when it becomes best for your family that he stays home with the kids, folds laundry, cooks and cleans, it is important to help him transition gracefully and ensure that he maintains his manhood:
Oh, and before you get all me-and-my-man-are-equals-I’m-an-independent-strong-black-woman huffy and puffy, remember it’s not always about you and how you feel. Plus, a man who feels subordinate and emasculated doesn’t typically make for a good companion.
Don’t criticize the methods to his madness.
This is something stay-at-home moms hate, so you can imagine how much more irritating it can be to a man still trying to accept the home as his place of employment. You are not his supervisor. He is the house manager and, so long as he keeps things in order, it would be wise to keep critical commentary to a minimum. As long as the babies are alive, clean and fed, don’t sweat it. Conducting daily home inspections will only feed the monster that says, “See, I told you! You don’t belong here.”
Acknowledge the difficulty of staying home.
Being a full-time spouse and parent is probably the most underrated occupation. Many mothers will tell you it was less exhausting and (at times) less stressful working outside of the home. There are no breaks for stay-at-home parents. The hours are generally 24/7 with, if you’re lucky, an evening or two weekly to break away for a few hours. Much of the dissatisfaction that comes from staying home full-time is feeling like the working parent doesn’t understand how hard it is managing a household. Be sure not to compare the difficulty of your day to his, as if he has it easy sitting on his butt, tweeting Wendy Williams’ hot topics.
Keep him involved in money matters.
If your husband managed the finances while he was working, continue to let him do so. You should always be aware of what’s going on with the family’s finances; but if he is used to paying bills and allocating funds, don’t stop him because subconsciously you’ve begun to regard it as yours. Zero influence over financial matters will leave your man feeling powerless, and powerless men tend to cower.
Maintain roles unrelated to work.
We have a tendency to take become domineering when we feel like we are supporting our men—bossing them around, threatening financial restrictions, rationing sex and intimacy. Keep giving your man back rubs. Cook for him. Let him know you still expect him to take the lead. Support him. Keep being his wife.
Find a local network of men like him.
Connecting with other fathers in his position will be more affirming and give him the sense of belonging to something bigger that comes from working with an organization. Plus, playdates with others fathers will also be beneficial to your children. Seeing others dads in non-traditional roles will make their situation appear less unorthodox also. But, don’t expect him to look it up on his own. You’ll have to help out by pointing him in the right direction.
There’s a popular saying “happy wife, happy life.” Well, in the case of the house-hubby, it’s the opposite.
LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio. You can visit her blog at lashaunwilliams.com or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.
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By Charlotte Young
These days the kids aren’t waiting in anticipation for daddy to come home from work. They’ve been with him all day. According to Bloomberg, while mommy is working, it’s the husbands that take on the role of keeping house and children.
Stay-at-home fathers are no new trend. According to family demographer Lynda Laughlin with the Census Bureau, the number has been growing since about 1988. But now, data from the Census Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that 54 percent of unemployed fathers with a working wife and preschool-age children are the primary caregivers, or the adult that spends the most time with the child. The number of dads providing consistent child care to children under 15 jumped to 32 percent in 2010.
Part of the reason behind the rise is attributed to the recession. Men were hit harder than women financially when the economy took a downturn. A report from the Pew Research Center revealed that men lost more jobs between December 2007 and May 2011 than women.
The recession may have taken a toll on the financial strength and the traditional roles in the family, but it certainly brought untold happiness to kids glad to have their daddy around.
“You can’t put a price on a father-daughter relationship.” Jeff VanderHejiden told Bloomberg. The former counselor at a residential program for troubled teens was fired last year, two weeks after he’d received a raise and a promotion.
But the recession can’t be blamed completely for the rising number of fathers as primary caregivers. Despite the loss, the study also revealed that men have regained job more quickly than women. It seems some men want to stay at home with the kids.
Ellen Galinksy, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute in New York, tells Bloomberg that as women become a stronger economic force, more men are deciding to stay home with the kids.
Some couples make the decision for the husband to stay at home as a financial decision regardless of the recession. After budgeting the potential cost of outside child care and the income of a low-paying job, they realize the two cancel each other out.
Patrick Spillman, 42 made the decision to stay home with his daughter for that very reason.
“If I’m making X and my wife is making X plus 10, who do you want making the money?” He said to Bloomberg. “It’s a matter of dollars and cents.”
(TheLoop21) — With the recession raging on, black men are fighting higher-than-ever unemployment rates. The latest unemployment rates recorded in August 2011 found that unemployment among black males reached 18%, the highest in more than 25 years. But as the ax comes down at work and new opportunities dry up, many black fathers are easing into a new role: stay-at-home dad. Mohammed Wright, a new stay-at-home dad living in Southern California, was laid off two years ago. His original plan was to hit the pavement, network like mad, and land a new and better-paying job within a few months. But “a few months” turned into several months, and then a year with no good prospects in sight.