When Dads Stay Home

coolparent   I recently read an article about stay-at-home dads, and I found it to be very interesting. More, and more families are entering this world of dad staying at home with the kids while mom goes out into the career arena. This isn’t for everyone nor the faint of heart. Men are finding out more and more what it takes to be a stay at home parent, and that it isn’t as easy as it may seem from the outside.

Here are a few quotes from stay-at-home dads (some that came from physically challenging careers e.g. Firefighter to those to the creative with a little Financial Planner in there for good measure):

Arrison Negron 49: “I’ve run into burning buildings as a New York City firefighter, pulled swimmers from 40-foot waves as a big-wave surf rescuer, and taught Navy SEALs how to maneuver watercraft in open ocean. Even so, I will tell you that being a stay-at-home dad is an intense job. It’s tougher then than I expected.”

Christopher Persley 41: “There is a constant stream of unsolicited advice. Strangers would stop me. ‘Isn’t your daughter a little big to be in her stroller’ or, ‘Did you know your daughter walks on her toes?’ Initially I thanked them and quickly moved on. But now that Camilla’s three, I’ll come right out and assure people I’m competent, then politely ask why they offered help. Most folk are stumped by that question. I don’t think they’re aware of their misconception of fathers as sitters rather than fully involved parents. I doubt they would have offered the same advice to my wife.

Clayton Bushong 46: ” I’m not doing mom stuff-I’m raising my kids. A few years ago, a friend asked what my kids did for me on Mother’s Day. I told her they didn’t do anything, since I’m not a mom. ‘Yeah, ‘ she said, ‘but you do all the mom stuff.’ I reassured her I would get my recognition when Father’s Day came around. I get irritated when friends announce that their husbands are home ‘babysitting.’ They’re not! They’re caring for their kids. We all have preconceived notions about what moms and dads do, but in the end it’s just parenting.”

This article, Real Simple; November 2014 “We’re not babysitting”, was an eye-opener for me because a lot of these men have the exact same feelings of being overwhelmed, scared about their career futures, and their parenting abilities as women do. They are torn between family and career. What I find extremely ironic is that now that men are entering the dominant parent role people are only now realizing how very exhausting parenting really is. As a babysitter it is just as exhausting when you are truly substituting for the parents.

No matter which parent stays-at-home with their children it is always beneficial to the children and the relationships that are forged. When dads choose to be more involved with their children their are some benefits that are a little different then when moms stay at home. Some of these are:

For daughters research has shown that a father’s absence can lead to more risky sexual behavior in teen girls, resulting in sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. According to Dieter Steklis, a professor of psychology and anthropology at University of Arizona South, “A father who is present and involved, especially in the first five years of life, is critical in terms of healthy sexual development.”

For Sons Dad is more likely to wrestle then mom, and children who engage in that kind of activity may develop better emotional regulation. A 2009 study found that children whose fathers were more dominant during rough-and tumble-play showed less aggression later on compared with those whose fathers were less dominant.

For all children with stay at home fathers there is a hope that children grow up with more open minds and fewer prescripted ideas of what men and women should do. Real Simple Magazine November 2014

Parenting and taking care of children is always fun and challenging, and I congratulate all the people who choose to be engaged in a meaningful way with children.