Modernity did not only see women spring up from the kitchen and become directors of multi-million empires but, it also saw men make their own choice of career paths regardless of traditional gender-based roles and perceptions.
In the past, men ran careers and the few women who had jobs sometimes quit the second they got married. More common today is the fact that both partners have jobs though in some cases the woman brings in more bucks while the man is jobless—blame the global financial crisis—and this has led to the birth of the stay-at-home dad.
A stay-at-home dad, househusband, or house-spouse as they are popularly known, is a father who stays home to take care of the kids while the mother goes to work and pays the bills. Today millions of fathers are raising their children full-time, and the number is steadily growing as more women are taking up top spots in the corporate world.
While some people feel that a woman is best suited to raise a child, fathers can undoubtedly be as nurturing as mothers can. Therefore, if circumstances suggest that the man has to stay home and take care of the kids, then grab that apron and wear it with pride.
Today, among the many reasons that drive men to take on this role, is unemployment. The few who are not pressed by this factor do so simply because they enjoy being an active part of their children’s lives.
However, being a househusband is not as rosy as it sounds. Besides being a full time job, it can be an isolating experience and lead to depression. Every stay-at-home parent deals with isolation but this is specially puffed up for dads because society is unfamiliar with men taking on this role.
For the past three years Anicet Ruremeshya, stayed home raising the kids while their mother hustled away at the office.
“Our three kids are our first priority. After failed attempts with a good number of housemaids, one of us had to stay home and take care of them. Seeing that my wife’s salary almost quadrupled mine, I had to lay down my tools and be there for our babies,” said Ruremeshya.
“With comments like ‘watching the kids is a woman’s’ job or ‘you are not a man’, it’s pretty easy to get beaten down by this stereotype in what can already be an isolating role,” says Ruremeshya.
If you are dads who put your career on hold to raise a family, use your time at home wisely. Make sure your skills are up-to-date so that if duty calls again and you need to return to work you are ready. While you are at home, keep in touch with what is going on in your field. Read papers, network with colleagues, and attend professional meetings when and if possible.
If during your break you decide that you want to make a future career change, take this time to begin figuring out what you would like to do when you eventually return to work. If you need to further your education, try taking evening classes after the madam comes back from work. It will stimulate you intellectually after a long day at home with the kids. You can also try a part time job that you can operate from home. It will keep your mind and your skills fresh.
As for the people who try to pull you down, take heart and show you have a grasp on the important task of raising your kids. It is as important and rewarding a job as any. After all, doesn’t taking care of your family fall under the umbrella of what a man is supposed to do?