All Articles Tagged "stay at home dads"
Our human ability to cast judgement on others will never cease to amaze me. All of us are guilty of pointing fingers or “sipping the tea” from someone else’s life.
My husband stays at home but is not your typical stay-at-home dad. Thanks to modern technology and a little thing called telecommuting, he’s able to work from his home office full-time in a different state from his company’s physical location. This has afforded our growing family (we have a 14 month old son and another child on the way) the opportunity to live in a state that has a lower cost of living.
Whenever the topic of jobs come up, it’s always interesting to hear the responses. People know my man is an engineer but are puzzled as to how he can work from home so much–and why he thinks it’s okay to do so. I guess all men are suppose to be outside of the home during the day to prove their manliness? The funny thing is his guy friends think it’s the coolest setup, though they can’t seem to understand it involves working and not playing video games all day.
If you talk to my husband, he’s very proud to be a work-from-home daddy as it gives him additional time to spend (and bond) with his son. Sure we both get busy throughout the day (I work from home too), but our situation is so perfect as we can both do what we love without paying for childcare. I wouldn’t change it for the world and look at him with such pride.
Those who raise an eyebrow to my husband being home “graciously” give him a pass once they figure out he works. This of course opens up a new discussion about the dynamics of today’s modern family and how things are changing. Men can be men and stay at home with their children. A very good friend of mine and her family are a great example of this. She works full-time while her husband takes care of the house, and their three children’s daily hobbies and school responsibilities. He also takes here-and-there jobs on the side to help bring in additional income if needed.
Parents who make the choice to stay at home is a decision between those individuals–and shouldn’t receive judgement from outsiders. At the end of the day, no one knows their finances, how much they save and other dynamics about their household. If it works for them, let it work for them.
I find it interesting how women fight so hard to remove gender-based stereotypes, but yet, will oftentimes be the one to point the finger at a man if he doesn’t fulfill a certain image.
I don’t remember how my wife and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to be a stay at home dad. I don’t remember what possessed me to volunteer or even the actual conversation where I said I’d work and keep our newborn son while my wife went back to her teaching job after her maternity leave. But there I was on January 10th, at home with a new tiny milk-drunk baby from the moment I woke up in the morning until about 6:00 p.m. when my wife got home. What resulted was the most challenging, gratifying, rewarding, scary and fulfilling adventure of my life. It’s been about a year since my son went off to daycare and I find myself reflecting on my time with him, which brings about great moments of nostalgia and other times of worry and second-guessing.
I was 26-years-old when my wife and I embarked on this journey of having me stay at home with my son. If she was worried about my son being at home with me, she didn’t show it. She encouraged me while she was on maternity leave, coaching me through diaper changes (I’d never changed a diaper before, believe it or not), feeding, and what it takes to keep another human being alive throughout the course of a day. By the time she went back to work, I felt like I had a grasp of how to handle being a stay-at-home dad. It also didn’t hurt that my son is the absolute best. He hardly cried. He went with the flow and I think I gained more from being with him than he gained from hanging out with me.
Of course, the six-month experience wasn’t without its calamities. Mostly, there were a lot of bodily fluid-related disasters. You could catch me running out of my fair share of stores because I forgot to bring my son’s diapers and he’d just soaked through his pants. I had to deal with poop explosions in the living room. But I also dealt with frustrations that I feel myself regretting now that my son is older.
The problem with freelance or contract work is that I generally only get paid when I write something. If I don’t write, I don’t get paid. So there were times when I just wished my son would take his nap or stop “bothering” so I could get my work done. Granted, providing for my family is essential, but looking back, I wish I didn’t worry so much about the money my son was “costing” me by having especially grumpy days (usually, Thursdays for some reason). I regret the times I just wanted to put him in his playpen to occupy himself while I handled “important business.” Now, as he gets older – he’s almost 18 months – I just wish I could have had more time with him as a tiny baby that could just curl up under me and take a nap. As I chase him around the house, I think back to the semi-stationary baby who couldn’t get enough of his dad. And as much as I cherished the time with him, I can’t help but wish I’d have had even more. I had to learn that there are more important things than working all day and making as much money as possible because as we get older, I won’t look back wishing I’d worked more. I’d just want more time to goof around with my son.
Looking back on my time as a stay-at-home dad also opened my eyes to the world of extreme second-guessing as a parent. My son is clingy to his parents and doesn’t take to strangers which makes some of my relatives remark that he’s “spoiled,” which always makes me second-guess myself. Did I hold my son too much? Did I spoil him? I’ve had to try to train myself – as well as rely on my wife’s constant encouragement and reassurance – that I didn’t totally doom my son by exposing him to my amateur daddy-ing. I try not to stress out wondering if I could have done more with him or stimulated him with more activities while he was with me, but it’s always in the back of my mind as he gets older. When my son brings his first C home in high school, I’m pretty sure I’ll trace it back to something I didn’t do when I was home with him. However, I just have to remember that that’s only typical parental guilt talking, so I have to remind myself that I did a decent job.
Overall, though, I just think about how lucky I was to bond with my son for the first few months of his life. I hope I taught him a few things as he taught me so much about myself, fatherhood and the blessing that a child can bring.
Do you know a stay at home dad? Share this story with him! Are you a stay at home mom? Can you relate to this article? Let us know below.
The idea of a stay-at-home dad, a notion mocked by “The Real Househusbands of Hollywood,” once seemed incredulous. However, according to a new study, house husbands are becoming more common than ever. Over the past 10 years, stay-at-home dads have increased by nearly four percent, Time reports.
That’s 550,000 fathers that are staying home with the kids. A large leap from the 280,000 stay-at-home dads in the 1970s, according to research published in the Journal of Family Issues. When it comes to stay-at-home mothers, that number has dropped 51.9 percent over the course of 40 years.
While many wonder whether being a “house husband” is a choice or simply a necessity because he’s out of work, a survey last year claims “[c]ontrary to popular belief, these fellas aren’t at home with the kids because they got laid off and had nothing better to do. Being a full-time father is a conscious choice they’re proud to defend.”
“It’s clear to us that men strongly identify with this as a role,” says Brad Harrington, lead author of last year’s stay-at-home dads report. “They don’t have a feeling of ambivalence of, ‘What am I doing, I’m a man.’ There is no sense of angst. These guys strongly identified with being a [stay-at-home dad]. They are proud of it.”
However, the results of that 2012 report are iffy. With a sample of only 1,000 stay-at-home men, it is called too small to generalize these conclusions to a whole population. This current, more representative report from the Journal discovers that “only about 22% of stay-at-home dads are primary caregivers.” Karen Kramer, the author of the recent study, finds a majority of house husbands are taking responsibility of the kids only because they are disabled, sick, or have trouble seeking employment.
Kramer, a sociologist at the University of Illinois, came to her conclusions from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to “compare characteristics of families in which at least one spouse had a full-time job,” Time said.
What are your thoughts on stay-at-home dads?
Summer vacation: great for kids, kind of a headache for parents. It seems like no matter how many activities you set up, the kids always seem to say, “I’m bored!” Stay-at-home dad Chase Roper’s right there with you but he’s found the perfect solution: Pinterest.
Roper wrote for TODAY Moms that the social network has been his salvation as he tries to navigate the long days of summer, which he says can be “a dystopia of boredom and restlessness.” Pinterest gives him and the kids helpful ways to entertain themselves (and keep their sanity).
They use Pinterest for finding recipes with varying degrees of success: “My kids find recipes that look amazing but ask that I omit undesired ingredients. So, after removing the walnuts, sliced bananas, and cinnamon sticks, I realize I’m just making regular ol’ pancakes. However, the kids are amused and that’s the point!” But it’s not just recipes he grabs from the site. Rainy day activities, cleaning tips (“With the help of one pinner’s room cleaning relay chart, we’re going to turn our chores into games complete with fun and prizes!”) and even discipline ideas are being sourced from the helpful parents on the Internet.
We may not rely as heavily on Pinterest as Roper does, but it’s funny, and we definitely get it. “Truthfully, I feel that I’m giving my kids the kind of summer break they deserve thanks to the amazing work of others who were willing to share. I guess what I’m saying is, Pinterest is helping me be a better stay-at-home dad and I think I’m OK with that.”
Remember taking care of your drunk friend at 2:30 AM after the party is over? Remember how you have to help change her clothes, make sure she eats something and clean up any waste she may evacuate from her body? Remember laughing at her incoherent rambling and trying to stop her from breaking the fine china? Well, it’s been 2:30 AM in my house for eight months and instead of a drunk buddy, my days have been filled with a mostly sober baby who acts pretty much the same.
Ever since January 2, I’ve been home alone with my son from 7 am until my wife gets home from work. Yes, I’m a stay-at-home working dad. For the last six months I’ve spent all day one-on-one with him while cranking out lovely articles like the ones you read here. It’s been the most challenging, tiring, and rewarding time of my life. I’ve watched my son triple in size, learn to eat solids, recognize me and develop a fascinating little baby personality literally before my eyes. No matter what I do with the rest of my life, I’ll always cherish these last few months.
Unfortunately, it’s all coming to an end.
We’re putting my son in daycare when my wife goes back to school in the fall. And I have no clue how to handle this. As you can imagine, my son and I have become so incredibly close over the last five months and the thought of not having him here with me during the day is scary. But as he gets older, my son has to get socialized and I don’t want him to get so attached to his parents that he doesn’t want to make friends.
Last week, we had our first tour of a daycare and it was a nightmare. The daycare itself wasn’t too bad. It was a nice, home-y place with a retired nurse running the show. But I hated it. I hated everything about the experience. The reality that day care was happening just became too much for me. At one point we handed him over to the head of the daycare and he started bawling. And it registered that one day I’ll drop him off at the daycare we choose for him and he’ll cry his eyes out and want me to take him with me and I’ll have to leave him there. And he’ll want me to turn around and pick him up and play. And I’ll have to leave him there.
Eventually, we did find him a really nice (I hope!) daycare (by the way, these things aren’t cheap! Sweet happy-go-lucky Jesus!). After we signed him up, they informed us of the weening process to get him ready. A week before he starts, we’ll take him to the daycare to get him acquainted with the staff and we can sit there with him to get him used to it. But I need my own weening process.
Last week, when my wife finally finished teaching for the summer, I held a graduation for my son since that would be the end of the time where it would be just the two of uscomplete with a report card, valedictorian speech and a diploma. And since then, I’ve tried to make myself leave home to go to Barnes and Noble to work so I’d force myself away from my son’s side.
I made it to noon on the first day.
But with a month to go and some hard work, I think I’ll be able to manage by the time he’s in daycare. Maybe. Regardless, no matter what the future brings I’ll be able to look back on the time I spent home alone with my son as the greatest gift a parent could ever have.
David Dennis is a 27-year-old dad who’s learning on the job. He has a lovely wife, a seven-year-old stepdaughter and a new baby. You can follow his journey at @DaviddTSS
Writing about parenting is no longer a members-only moms club. Dads are now toting babies and documenting their journey through fatherhood. I look forward to reading websites written by fathers, such as Jackie Bledsoe, who open their hearts and their homes to thousands of people each day. I enjoy flipping through photos of fathers and their families at forFathers Project. Check out our favorite dad bloggers. Who did we miss?
Do some women have a complex for earning more than their husbands—or even being the sole breadwinner? Dr. Peggy Drexler, a research psychologist, writes in Forbes, “As more and more women enter—and remain in—the workplace, an increasing number of them have found themselves the primary earners for their households.” In fact, Pew Research Project reports that the number of wives who make more than their husbands increased from four percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2007. And the report found husbands still want to be the primary breadwinner.
Another study in the journal Sex Roles discovered that even the younger generation of men tends to be more accepting of women’s work roles, they are reluctant to accept her role as co-provider, reports Drexler. Because of this, she notes, women start to downplay their financial contributions and even feel guilty about it.
And men get depressed. Drexler cites Breadwinner Wives and the Men they Marry by Randi Minetor who writes that many “unemployed or under-earning men feel wounded by what they see as their diminished status.”
Still there are some stay-at-home dads and breadwinner moms whomake it work. “Men today are now reporting higher levels of work-family conflict than women are,” Stephanie Coontz of the Council on Contemporary Families told NPR. The men are “not just pressure, but the desire to be more involved in family life and child care and housework and cooking. And at the same time, all of the polls are showing that women are now just as likely as men to say that they want to have challenging careers.”
NPR even put out a Facebook query looking for breadwinner wives and stay-at-home husbands and found that overwhelmingly the families were united and happy. Some did admit the “role reversals” could cause difficulties in a relationship. Chris Bublik of Orlando, Fla., wrote to NPR that he has been a full-time father for six years and that it has given him an opportunity to shape his children’s lives. Dr. Drexler theorizes in the Forbes article that this switch in roles can wreck havoc a man’s self esteem. Bublik added, “But there are real impacts to us as men, impacts that none of us expected as we reveled in those first few months of sweats and grubby t-shirts, and not shaving… and the 4:30 dash to clean up the house so our wives won’t think we’re completely useless (you stay-at-home daddies know exactly what I mean). Feelings of inferiority, loss of self-esteem, self-respect.”
Do you think we’ll ever be completely comfortable with stay-at-home dads?
A&E, the same channel that’s home to Duck Dynasty is set to air a show about a relatively new breed of animal: the stay at home dad. Deadline reports Modern Dads will focus on four stay at home dads in Austin, Texas.
The network has ordered eight half-hour episodes. “It follows their exploits as they navigate manhood, juggling the requirements and social expectations of being both a ‘modern man’ and ‘modern dad,'” reports Deadline.
Will you tune in and meet these SAHDs?
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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