T Nation

Stay at Home Dads


#1

It has been a while since this has been discussed.

http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/music_movies_girls_life/could_you_be_a_stay_at_home_daddy?id=1528608&pageNo=1

With the recession there has been an uptick in the number of stay at home dads. Women have become the majority in being employees, and getting degrees at the bachelor and masters levels and in some fields requiring doctorates - some medical fields, in fact. So with this changing world, I am wondering:
-what y'all think about stay at home dads, and;
-do you think you could be one (short term or longer term, whatever)?


#2

I'm losing my mind just being at home alone with them at nights and on weekends.

I have three, ages 7, 5, and 4. It gets tough.


#3

I have done it short term (almost completely stay at home) and right now I'm alone with the 3 kids nights and weekends.

I can do it, but it gets overwhelming cleaning the same areas over and over and to not get anything productive done outside of the realm of raising the kids.

I think to be successful at it you have to be patient, have a regular hobby, and be able to have time everyday for true adult conversation.


#4

One of my good friends is a stay at home dad. His wife is an engineer and he was laid off before they had their daughter. Apparently he is going to do that until she starts school. I think it's going to be tough for him, but I see nothing wrong with him or any guy doing that.


#5

I'd like to do that after the kids are passed the pissing-and-shitting-on-themselves and waking up in the middle of the night stage.


#6

Nope. No free rides. All in or don't bother playing.


#7

I work in a primarily female profession... Nurses make good money and lots of the woman I work with have stay at home husbands.

In my experience as far as knowing lots of women who have stay at home men, it rarely works out.

They often talk really bad about their men, and usually ends up in a divorce, and they are very bitter afterwords.

Lots of "strange" dynamics in that type of relationship IMHO.


#8

Strikes me if they are talking bad about their husbands there might be more going on.

I brought this topic up because in the debates about parents/kids/education lately on this thread there is little discussion about the change in family structure over the past several decades. A new version of a parent-at-home to raise kids is having the dad at home. So in some way it is a return to a "traditional" structure - one parent at home to raise the kids - while at the same time a flipping of assumed gender roles.

If having a parent at home to raise the kid is important to the family, does it matter which one is at home? Or is this a return to the idea of a stay-at-home parent is always less than one that works - something I remember being discussed in the 90s as dual income families became norm or expected situation and there was some bristling about non-dual income families.

For me I think it is a cultural twofold issue: The first being that it seems in the US, worker > parent, especially stay-at-home parents. The second as women's roles have increased the is a mixture of guilt & anger (on all sides) in admitting the role of stay-at-home-parent is actually important. It think in some ways it unsettles the foundational assumptions of the feminist and traditional family movements. Add to that the cultural assumptions that guys cannot parent, are perverts for being around kids, and should always have a higher paying job - stay-at-home-dads are unsettling at the least.

Which brings me to the best definition of being a good dad I have heard (which by the way come from my father): A good dad does whatever is necessary for his family. I do not think staying at home to raise the kids deviates from this definition.

Sorry for long post, could not sleep.


#9

I'd do it if I had to but I'd rather work. I think that only one parent should work in the younger years (10 max). After that there's no reason to stay home IMO.


#10

I'm with you here Tex. I was Mr. Mom for a year or so while finishing school. I would do it again. It's not bad if you have something else going on such as consulting work or school or building a house, etc. If you're just cooking and cleaning and such you will go nuts and start to beat yourself up.


#11

I'm a single dad and I work from home. It has it's challenges, but my son is in pre-K so it isn't too bad. I try to schedule my work stuff and gym time early, because when he comes home he requires a lot of attention. When I first got him (almost a year ago now), my place looked like a cyclone hit it. But you adjust. I have my cleaning lady come every week now and I've reduced the volume of his toys, etc... I have a really good baby sitter close by which is a life saver. I love it.

If I were married though, I wouldn't stay home. Not on a permanent basis. That's a fucked up dynamic that goes against every archetype we have in our brains. I'd say it is a very rare couple who can successfully pull that off without a TON of friction. Not saying it can't be done, just that the dynamic itself sets up a very nontraditional dynamic which will stress the relationship. Without very clear boundaries and a TON of maturity on both sides, shit could go bad quick.


#12

I wasn't technically a stay-home dad (although I worked at home for the last 13 years of my son's 18 years). But since his birth I more than helped out. When he was a baby, I got up every night to bring him to my wife to nurse. A bit later she would do the breast pump and then I'd be the one who got up to feed him a bottle (I was up late into the night back then making art for a gallery show anyway).

I changed diapers (we used cloth diapers) and even took on the duty of laundering them. As he grew, I was the one who awoke early to tend to him, and even to this day I do the same and make breakfast for him at 6am while my wife sleeps.

There were no clear boundaries at first, but over time we fell into roles that fit perfectly, and my wife and I are still together and happy, and my son is looking at colleges.


#13

I often joke about being a stay at home dad. I always say it is my dream job. I think it takes a special kind of strength to completely put your dreams and aspirations outside of your children completely on hold for an extended period of time, and I honestly don't know if I could, no matter how much i joke about it. My wife is ready to do just that, though, and I envy her strength and conviction. I do hope she will be able to do something part time completely away from the demons we want to have just so she can have some purely adult time, like has been mentioned. Hopefully it will be gainful employment (kids are expensive!), but I wouldn't object if she wanted to take a class or just go to the bar a few nights a week. I have watched my niece and nephew a few nights a week since birth, so I have on-the-job training for the needy little things and should be able to take care of us all without needing to tag mom in. At least I hope I can... I want to be able to find a good groove like ID and his wife did.


#14

Yeah, I would say that if a woman is talking bad about their husband, she was not prepared to get married. Like my grandmother said, if your wife is gossiping about you behind your back it's like verbal adultery, she's plainly not being faithful.


#15

I had a nanny till I was 9, when my dad retired. Don't let kids get in the way, they'll be fine if your not there


#16

#17

When my ex-wife decided that she didnt want to stay home after she had our second I took a couple months of paternaty leave. It was a good time, and Id have gladly stayed at it if shed have actually gone the fuck to work. And Until recently I had my kids 3 days, and nights a week (Friday, Saterday, Sunday, until Monday morning) every week, and thats a sweet deal too.

I`d do that shit 24/7 no problem. The problem is you'd have to be married to a woman who isn't completely useless, and who isn't just paying equality lip service when she says stay at home dads are cool.


#18

I offered, but my wife said she didn't want me having that much influence on our kids.

Truthfully, I would think it would be hard to stay motivated. I have a friend whose wife makes major coin, and nearly his entire wage was going towards child care and taxes, so he quit to watch the kids. They are college age now but he is still at home, don't know how he does it.


#19

wow


#20

So, as long as you can afford to pay someone to stay home with the kid you do not need to do it yourself - is that what you are saying?

So, is someone home with the kids important?