In the last 10 years the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled according to the U.S. Census. Is this increase due to the economy? Are these dads out of work, causing them to opt to stay home for a while? Or is this an intentional choice that they have made?
According to one dad who was interviewed by ABC Nightline, he is excited to stay home with his daughter. He chose to; it was not a decision that was thrust upon him. His wife is a tax attorney and is thrilled that at least one of them can be home with their daughter every day. While some guys may feel emasculated by their wife bringing home the bacon, this dad doesn’t. He is a sculptor and is able to work from home and take care of his 2-year-old.
Other dads interviewed by Nightline indicated that they all made the choice to stay at home with their kids. Most were making less money than their wives and the decision was made based on what made sense for the family.
According to a recent study conducted by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, dads are choosing to stay home with their kids. The study, when first conducted in 2009, showed many of the fathers polled said that they wouldn’t think of staying home with their kids. In 2011, they again polled fathers and found that 53% said that, if their wives made enough money for the family to live comfortably, they would love to stay home. However, while the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled, they still make up only 3.4% of all stay-at-home parents. This same study found that these dads felt good about their choice to stay at home and that society is coming around to accepting this. There are still those, however, that feel that men that stay home with their kids are somehow shirking their manly duties, but that tide is slowly turning.
A study conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that fathers, in general, are stepping up more at home. The study found that in 1992 about 41% of fathers felt that they cared for their children at least 50% or more of the time. Today in 2012, that percentage has grown to almost 50% of fathers polled. This number has surely grown dramatically since the 1950’s when a woman’s place was considered to be in the home.
Men are experiencing the same struggles that women have been experiencing for years as they forge new pathways as stay-at-home dads. He wants time for himself; he gets lonely being home alone with the baby, and what’s harder still is that there aren’t the same support groups available to stay-at-home dads as moms. Books are being written and groups are forming, so there is hope for the stay-at-home dad.
If you are a dad and considering staying at home with your kids, more power to you! It’s a tough job whether you are a dad or a mom. It shouldn’t matter which parent stays home with the kids. Society does seem to be slowly accepting the new role of the stay-at-home dad, but more importantly dads need to feel good about their decision to stay home. If the dads are okay with staying at home with the kids then others will come around.
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