Can a Stay-at-Home Dad Still Be a Sexy, Manly Man?

Janelle Harris
9

Stay at home dadDespite all of my girl-power, womanist-on-fire ways, I love a man’s man. I like guys who know how to fix stuff, who demonstrate leadership qualities, who are firm and masculine and, when need be, aggressive.

Not a testosterone-drenched butthead, mind you. Just a strong, smart dude who does traditionally dude-ish things. But my dream man is also fun, sensitive, emotionally open, and — dare I hope? — a good cook, and that’s a hard balance to strike with all that stereotypical guy machismo.

According to an article I was reading, more men are assuming the role of stay-at-home dad than ever before. In as much as I want my husband (when I do snag one) to be a fantastic caretaker for our children, I’m not sure I could find him irresistibly sexy if he had been tussling with a cranky 2-year-old to take a nap rather than taking the business world by storm or using his hands to be a breadwinner. I’m just sayin’. 

There’s still an existing stigma that men can’t take care of kids as well as women can. I don’t believe that hype — I’ve seen it done (unfortunately not with my own child’s father, but that’s another rant for another day). I fully believe a man is just as equipped as a woman to be nurturing and loving to babies of any age. It comes across differently, as it should, but it does come across.

Still, no matter how unconditioned against social norms as I’d like to think I am, I have to admit that I am, in some regards, a traditionalist. And I’m not positively positive that I could be attracted to my man like I should be if he wasn’t out working to bring home the bacon every day. I just can’t hear myself saying with enthusiasm, "Yes babe! You stay home with the kids and do the Mr. Mom thing while I stuff myself into some heels and a suit and take corporate America by storm" and still want to take him down like he was a hunk of hot burning love after the little ones were all tucked into bed.

As a man, he’s the technical head of the household (yeah, I said it, and I’m bracing myself for feminist hate mail), but something would seem off-kilter if he spent every day in that household. The ambition, the mover-and-shaker quality, the power-move-making element that I find so attractive would be stifled. Dare I say even dead.

I’m not claiming that being a stay-at-home dad isn’t a full-time job. I’m a single mother, so I know firsthand what it’s like to push and pull and chase and race after a child all day long. So any stay-at-home parent, man or woman, has my utmost respect for the amount of patience and time they have to invest on the daily. At least parents working outside the house get a few hours a day to step away from the chaos at home, even if it’s to step into chaos in an office or a worksite.

At the same time, I want my man to be a provider, to be able to look to him for protection and support and provision, even though I’ll be contributing those things to our home myself. Gender roles may have blurred with the changing times, but that’s still an expectation I have — shucks, otherwise, I might as well stay single and keep doing the darn thing by myself. I’m not implying that he wouldn’t be contributing anything to our household. I’m just sayin’ he wouldn’t be playing the part I need a man to play, a part I’ve been fielding on my own as a single parent for 12 years now.

I know, I know I’m complicated. (I’m on the cusp between Gemini and Taurus, so not only am I complex, but I’m stubborn about it, too). I also know if this was a conversation about men not finding their stay-at-home wives totally smoldering hot and sexy, I’d be first to hitch my microphone to a soapbox and blast guys for their gender-induced insensitivities. But hey, at least I’m being honest.

So ... am I wrong? Right? Are stay-at-home dads irresistibly sexy or placidly not-so-hot?

 

Image via loresjoberg/Flickr

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