In a modern world where the fight for gender equality has been raging with full force, how far can we push stereotypes and what benefits do doing so reap? Can a woman take over the role of a man? And can a man prove to be emotionally intelligent enough to be able to care for a child’s physical and mental growth without any adverse effects?
These are the questions that come to mind when one thinks of a stay-at-home dad. Will he be able to give children the same love and care as a mother? And can a woman efficiently take up the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner of the family?
To answer the latter rather bluntly, of course, women can. Though the struggle for equal pay continues, women have rapidly taken up roles initially conceived to be only for men. In today’s day and age, one can find women in every office and site, working shoulder to shoulder with men and producing work just as good as their male counterparts. Therefore, if we merely only talk about women being able to work and earn well, then the likes of some eminently successful businesswomen, engineers, scientists, and doctors come to mind, who have all made their mark on the world and continue to do so while also earning a pretty penny.
Marry Barra, chairman, and CEO of General Motors, Gwynn Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, Hedy Lamar, actress and inventor of frequency hopping signal in 1942, a technology widely used to this day, and Victoria Beckham, former singer, fashion designer and owner of her own fashion line.
These are just a few names of women who have made a dent in male-dominated careers with their work, the list itself is exhaustive and continually expanding. These famous women prove that when given a chance women can do just as well in earning and making a name for themselves.
So, if money can be taken care of, what about the undoubtedly much harder task of raising a child? Are men fit for the job?
Believing men are not as emotionally capable as women are doing a great disservice to men, for this reason challenging toxic masculinity has become one of the most significant movements in today’s time.
If women can excel at roles primarily occupied by men, then surely, men can do the same. The concept of men being less emotionally intelligent than women is mostly anecdotal and has no scientific ground.
Though there aren’t too many role models to be followed for this pursuit, but with time the concept is becoming less and less alien, especially to the upcoming generations who see societal norms being challenged almost every day.
Statistics of Stay-At-Home Dads
The late 20th century saw a gradual increase in the number of stay-at-home dads in the west. With the rise of feminism and the need for working women for a stable economy slowly demolishing the idea of women being the primary caregivers at home, more and more men are voluntarily trading in their paychecks to be stay-at-home dads.
Statistics released by Pew Research through a report in June 2014, showed 2 million men to be stay-at-home dads in the US, with the number reaching an all-time high of 2.2 million in 2010. While the Australian Bureau of statistics shows that approximately 7% of families with children under the age of 14 have a stay-at-home dad.
The Canadian government, however, was the first one to officially recognize fathers as being primary caregivers as well and granted paid leave for this purpose. Therefore, according to StatsCan, the number of stay-at-home dads, in a stay-at-home parent family system in Canada, rose from 1 in 70 families in 1976 to 1 in 10 in 2015.
In the United Kingdom, the number of stay-at-home dads in 2007 has increased by a whopping 83% since 1993 according to an article by the daily mail. The Office for National Statistics reported in 2007 that more than 200,000 fathers had chosen to stay at home dads.
This practice, however, is still looked down upon in Asian countries such as China, Japan, India and Pakistan. Most men who choose to be primary caregivers of their children here, face severe discrimination and are often isolated.
Hence, the number of stay-at-home dads remains extremely low in Asia.
Benefits Of A Stay-At-Home Dad And A Working Mum
Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of a father figure in the upbringing of a child and the advantages of a stay-at-home dad.
A child psychiatrist in the United States, by the name of Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, found in his study that infants between the ages of 7 to 30 months responded more favorably when being picked up by their fathers rather than their mother. Pruett also stated that he found that the father’s parenting style is generally quite beneficial in the child’s physical, behavioral-emotional and cognitive development. He explained that this was because a mother tends to reassure a toddler when they are frustrated while a father teaches them how to manage their frustrations, enabling the child to learn how to deal with stress as they grow older effectively.
A study by McGill University in 1996 found that the “single most important childhood factor in developing empathy is paternal involvement in childcare. Robert Frank, professor of child development at Oakton community college in Illinois, conducted a study comparing households with a stay-at-home dad, with the more traditional household set up of a stay at home mom. He found that in households with stay-at-home dads, the paternal and maternal influences were both equally powerful, whereas the mother was much more influential in the traditional set up than the father. Hence favoring the stay-at-home dad family arrangement as being the most beneficial one for a child’s development.
Another advantage to childhood development brought on by stay-at-home dads is how the set up encourages girls to become more ambitious and take on challenging careers more traditionally reserved for men. It also teaches them to give their needs the same importance as the needs of men and to have a more balanced and equal view of the opposite gender.
Types Of Jobs Dads Can Take While Staying At Home
Staying at home to be the primary caregiver doesn’t mean that one can’t still contribute to the family financially. In fact, there are several jobs stay-at-home dads can take on while still giving ample time to their children.
For example, one can become an in-home daycare provider. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must immediately take in an army of children to take care of, a small-scale center according to one’s capabilities is fine too and will still contribute to finances.
There are also several online, home-based jobs available for stay-at-home dads such as becoming a virtual assistant, a content writer and editor, professional eBay seller, online tutor, and many many more.
Then there are the more traditional jobs that can be done at home such as tutoring, becoming an author, a home-based chef or baker, fashion designer, and even an entrepreneur for a small-scale business run from home.
All these jobs and many more prove that if need be and if one has an interest in doing so, earning while being a stay-at-home parent is not an impossible task, especially with modern technology where the world is now at our fingertips.
Blogs of Some Stay-At-Home Dads For Inspiration
Although the concept is still relatively new, there are still many famous men who are now stay-at-home dads. One of them being the famous retired football player and heartthrob David Beckham, who is a stay-at-home dad to four kids.
However, new stay-at-home dads may find some inspiration from these very relatable dad bloggers who share their chronicles, and tips and tricks in their blogs.
Daddymojo.net is a blog run by a stay-at-home dad in Georgia who not only shares his adventures on being a stay-at-home dad but also shares articles and stories on how to be a better parent, financial issues, issues dealing with children and even some “poop stories” for some lighthearted humor. This blog is heartwarming but practical and easy to read and offers tons of advice on all subjects.
Dad blog UK is another excellent blog where the writer states ‘I am a married stay-at-home father with two young daughters. I write and make videos about parenting, fatherhood, lifestyle, food, travel, and motoring, etc. Gestation and Lactation; the only two things men can't do as parents.’
Dad or Alive is a blog famous for capturing the struggles of “an unexpected first-time stay-at-home Dad of 3 under 7.”
Putting restrictions on genders is now a thing of the past. People are slowly but surely realizing the toxicity that comes with trying to force people into a particular stereotype and are thereby welcoming all sorts of change. The phenomenon that is a ‘stay-at-home dad’ is also gradually being more and more accepted, with the west being the torchbearers of this new family model. However, if this family model applies to a particular family or not is only something the family itself can decide. Everyone works differently, and if this new system works well for some families and makes life a little bit easier, then that’s all the better for them!