They were lawyers, carpenters, software engineers, real estate investors and teachers. Now, they are stay-at-home dads, part of the growing number of men who leave formal employment to raise their children. They are the rare evolved form of men. They are a sign of the transforming society we live in today.
In yesteryears’, this was unthinkable but today the statistics show that more and more men are opting to stay home with their children while their wives work. As the society evolves, roles are changing.
More women are moving into the workforce while men are taking more responsibility over their families. There is clear evidence of a shift in gendered roles. People seem to care more about being good at what they choose to do than being good at what they are expected to do. Roles are no longer as predictable as they used to be.
A ‘stay-at-home dad’ is a term used to describe a male parent who is the main caregiver of the children and the home. Alternative terms include stay at home father, house dad, or househusband. A husband may decide to stay home with the kids due to various reasons.
One reason is in case by the wife earns more money than the husband and there’s need for one of them to quit work and take care of the children. In this case the woman goes to work to financially support the family while the husband stays home to take care of the children.
In today’s uncertain economies, families have to proactively plan ahead and consider who in the family has the highest earning potential. In some instances the highest earning potential lies with women, and instead of placing children into full-time day care, more men are opting to become stay-at-home parents.
Another reason is in the event of health problems. The husband or one of their children may have health related complications that necessitate special care. In such cases, it is the wife who takes up the role as main bread winner.
Some husbands however opt to quit work not because of the money or health; they just make that decision because they believe their kids are better taken care of when a parent is at home.
I believe that being a real man means doing whatever it takes to take care of your family. This may mean having multiple jobs, engaging in hard labour jobs or staying at home to care for children.
Taking care of a family is a sacrifice that should be shared between husband and wife. Raising a family is tough. Many couples have to choose between putting their young children in day care and staying at home with them. A lot of people seem surprised that more men are actively taking up this role, especially in a patriarchal society such as ours.
Traditionally, stay-at-home parenting has been associated with women, and has had a maternal slant to it. Women are more nurturing hence the role while men are seen to be the provider for their family. However, there is no surprise that men are sharing the role with their female partners, based on the fact that not only has the number of women in employment risen, but the social stigma in relation to men providing child care has also diminished.
In today’s ever changing society, what may have previously been considered as traditional family dynamics is evolving.
Initially men staying at home were perceived as less manly and lazy, this has since changed as more and more men take up this honourable career of raising their kids.
However the transition from the business world to the kitchen is not easy. Some men suffer isolation from fellow men who still disapprove of this change.
However, statistics show that more men are staying home to care for their children, and that there has been a noticeable rise over a number of years.
Choosing to be a stay-at-home dad is probably the hardest decision any man can make in our society because of the stigma associated with it.
However it’s a great honour for a man to be able to raise his family. And although stay at home dads are faced with many challenges, I remain hopeful that as more men assume new roles, we will eventually reach a crossover point where it won’t be strange for a man to stay home and take care of his children.