The number of families opting for dad to stay home with the kids while mom brings home the bacon has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2001, dads made up a scant 1.6% of the at-home parent crowd, but by 2011, they made up 3.4% of the demographic. Still a small portion, but it’s a significant increase within the time frame.
It might be tempting to blame the recent recession for the uptick in stay at home dads, but researchers postulate that shifting gender roles and widespread acceptance of women in the workplace as the more likely culprits for this trend. Most couples that live this lifestyle do so by choice, citing economic or pragmatic reasons.
"It just makes better sense in some situations," said Lance Somerfeld, founder of the NYC Dads Group, a New York-based social group of nearly 600 at-home fathers. "Any dad is truly capable of being an at-home dad if they have the support and the means to do it."
"I embrace the role. To be there early and often for my child’s life," added Somerfeld, also a former teacher who took an extended leave of absence to care for his four-year-old son, Jake. "My wife loves it because she is able to pursue advancement in her career."
It makes total sense, and we mamas may giggle from time to time at dudes unsuccessfully attempting to tie a watermelon into a baby sling, the fact of the matter is that dads are just as capable as moms of being nurturing. None of us could have figured out how to tie the baby into the Moby without someone (or a YouTube video) to show us how.
With costs of reliable childcare being what they are, it doesn’t always make sense for both parents to work outside the home. It makes even less sense if one of them would much rather be home with the kids anyway. Families need to figure out what works for them, and if it’s a career-driven mom climbing the corporate ladder while super dad manages the house and kids, more power to them.
Who is the primary earner in your home? Is it by choice or circumstance?
Image via eastbayjay/Flickr