When we think of a stay-at-home dad, we think of a deadbeat dad that can’t get a job and support his family. In reality in these economic hard times more and more men are forced to stay home and raise their children while the wife works. In our culture we’ve had fixed gender roles where men were the breadwinners and the women stayed home raising the children. We should not judge those dads that are taking on the role of Mr. Mom because they are doing their part in rearing their children. The old fashion thinking that men are better workers than women is now more scorned at than understood. Yet, thinking that women can take care of the household better than a man had not changed until the early nineteen-hundreds when we had a depression and everyone had to find work to be able to survive. According to the (“Family Roles”) Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender, family patterns and roles have been greatly affected during the past century by contemporary trends that include changes in urbanized, economic modernization, the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and improvement in the status of women in the United States and around the world.”
This change was started when women were brought into the factories during World War II because they needed workers to build the war machines and the men were shipped off to fight in the war. When the war ended and women were then expected to resume their duties at home, they were not happy about it. The women got a taste of working and earning a pay-check to support their family. As a result this started some disharmony in the family unit and men were expected to share in the raising of their children. During the sixties and the women’s movement, some women were convinced they could do any job a man could do and achieve anything they desired. As a result of all of that, a woman being out of the household working a fulltime job could possibly have been the cause of more and more divorces. The father was required to take on the role of being mom and dad, taking care of the household and their children. We should not judge a man for staying home to raise his children because there could be more circumstances that we as a society are not aware of.
First there are some disadvantages for being a stay at home dad are. Subject to the country or region you live in, a dad would find less social support and be shunned by their peer group for being a stay at home dad. There are many misunderstandings that the man can’t get a job and the wife is forced to work. This is not the case in many instances. Men will need to do the chores that women have done for years, such as the cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, etc. When you’re with the children and they are demanding your attention you will have very little time for yourself, or so you believe. The stay at home dad in many cases will be prevented from doing their manly things that they like to do, such as going out for a beer and hanging out with their buddies whenever they want to. They will need to dole out the discipline that the mother always did, like,” wait till your father gets home; you are going to be in big trouble.” This would mean that the father normally would take care of the discipline. Secondly there are advantages to being a stay at home dad.
The children will benefit from the father being at home. According to a study conducted by Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, “found that infants between 7 and 30 months respond more favorably to being picked up by their fathers.” Parenting fathers can be beneficial to the children on an emotional and behavioral level, whereas mothers coddle the child when the child is frustrated; the father encourages the child to manage their frustration. This could help the children when they are young to manage and control their frustration later in life. Most men that have worked 60 to 70 hours a week had very little understanding how to raise their children because the wife was always there to take care of things. Now that the roles are reversed by choice, men are finding that the job of child rearing is not easy but it is enriching and they are enjoying being stay at home dads. Many fathers that are immersed in their children’s lives have had to relinquish many of the so called “manly” things for the children and most do not mind doing it. Some children appear to be more compassionate because they have learned compassion from their father.
Children do not judge as society does because the father is staying home and the mother is working. They accept it as a fact of life. Working together both parents can fulfill their role as primary caregivers and later on in life the father may develop a closer relationship with the children as they grow into adulthood. According to an article in the New York Times, August 2012 a report by the United States census, the number of men who have left the work force to raise their children has more than doubled in the last decade from 176,000 to 626,000. Another advantage for being a stay at home dad is the economical aspect. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the proliferation of computers, men found that they could work from home and earn a paycheck while the women went to work. If the dad can work from home and the mother has an outside job they could save on daycare or a nanny.
This arrangement might give relief of stress associated with finding a suitable daycare or nanny. Free of that stress the mother can go back to school to pursue an education and a career which will result in a higher paying job plus give extra income for the family, maybe to help pay for the child’s schooling later on in life. The advantages for the father are becoming more and more important with establishing a relationship with their children. The father is beginning to value that relationship over financial gains. In most cases the father is able to give as much love and support to their children as the mother does. Many men have a better understanding of what the mother has been faced with throughout the years with raising children and managing the household.
It is not our place to judge other peoples circumstances because they have had to make changes in their lives. The stay at home dad or Mr. Mom as he is called today, are not the deadbeats that society perceive them to be. Yes there are some men that are lazy and do not want to take care of the children, but for the most point most dads relish the time they get to spend with their children and even spoil them. The stay at home dad because of the computer age could be telecommuting from home earning an income while raising the children. The father could be a web designer, working for a company via a computer, a writer, an on-line teacher or many other possibilities.
In this day and age with these struggling economic times it takes both the mother and father to generate a good income to support the family. It makes sense that the father can do as good a job being a stay at home parent as the mother can. The stay at home dad gets the enrichment of being a mentor for children while also contributing to the family’s income. Not all stay at home dads are deadbeat dads, sitting around drinking beer watching sports on TV, they are actually taking part in their child’s life, nurturing them to become upstanding young adults. If we had more men and women like this in our society where they take on the role as being good parents, be it a stay at home dad or not, we may not have the violence or the problems associated with latch key children.
“Family Roles and Patterns, Contemporary Trends.” Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender. Oxford: Elsevier Science & Technology, 2001. Credo Reference. Web. 16 November 2012
Gill, Libby: The Essential Guide to Creating the New Family. New York: Penguin Group. Stay-At-Home Dads
Williams, Alex; The New York Times August 2012. Web. 24 November 2012.