Dads Think SAHMs Have It Easy

Jacqueline Burt Cote

dad and babyThe grass is always greener, as a recent survey proves: Apparently more than half of U.S. fathers would rather be stay-at-home dads than primary breadwinners. They want to spend more time with their kids, they say. That's what they think, I say.

Don't get me wrong: I'm sure these dads really do want more quality time with their children, I just don't think they necessarily realize what falls under the umbrella of "quality time." I've been a SAHM, a working mom, a working-at-home mom, and every other variation on the theme you can imagine, and I can say with certitude that these currently career-focused daddies aren't fantasizing about the joys of grocery store tantrums or dentist appointments or perfecting the neat trick of leaping across a playground to save one child from falling off the slide while another child is attached to your breast.

There were days when I was a SAHM that I would actively envy every lone adult (any grown-up without a child in his/her care) I came in contact with, no matter what their lot in life: At least that guy working behind the counter at Starbucks gets to take breaks where he goes to the bathroom all by himself! or Look at that old lady sitting on her front porch with her swollen ankles and varicose veins! She can just sit there and read a book for hours if she wants to! or That crazy homeless guy muttering to himself on the street corner doesn't have a care in the world, except for the aliens coming to take him away.

Now, before you start yelling at me, NO I am not actually trying to imply that staying at home with your kids is enough of a nightmare to make homelessness look good. I'm just reiterating my original sentiment, which is that the grass is always greener. Of course a man experiencing the everyday stress of a 9 to 5 gig is going to think hangin' at home, tossing back Cheerios, and watching Elmo with his kid looks pretty sweet. Ideally -- not that our society is in any way constructed to accommodate this arrangement -- moms and dads could switch duties on a regular basis, before either party got too burnt out on either job.

That ain't gonna happen anytime soon. But wouldn't it be cool if it did?

Image via Nigel Wilson/Flickr

Read More