More fathers have opted to stay at home to raise the children, while their wives pursue their careers outside of the home.
Times have definitely changed.
Many of the old stigmas and gender roles have slowly disappeared over the years.
Women often make more money than their male mates.
And many men now are more comfortable opening up about their mental health.
Additionally, many women are not even waiting for men to propose to them.
They are taking it upon themselves to get down on one knee and ask for their man’s hand in marriage.
But are women O.K. with their man staying at home with the children while they go to work and bring home the bacon?
And do the men feel any less than a man because their woman is taking care of them?
“I’m a stay-at-home dad,” said Steven Lange, 52, from Ohio. “But I don’t think I would ever tell anybody that or introduce myself that way.”
Lange added, “I find myself feeling like I need to explain to you that I’m not just folding laundry and cooking dinner and going grocery shopping. I’ve got other stuff I’m doing.”
The stay-at-home father worked for 30 years in the field of branding and product development before he started staying home with his children in 2020.
Despite Lange’s self-consciousness about his current situation, he has said that staying at home has led to a closer relationship with his teenage son.
Furthermore, staying at home has given Lange time to spend with his new grandchild.
Moreover, him staying at home has freed his wife up to pursue her master’s degree.
And Lange is definitely not alone in the trend of more men staying at home to care for the children and the household.
BBC reported, “In the U.S., for example, the number nearly doubled from 1989 to 2012. But they’re still relatively unusual. Of U.S. families with opposite-sex married parents, 5.6 percent have working mothers and non-working fathers, compared to the 28.6 percent with working fathers and non-working mothers. (It’s worth noting that this includes people who are unemployed but may be seeking work, so it’s an imperfect estimate). In the EU, it’s even rarer: about one in 100 men pause their careers for at least six months for childcare, compared to one in three women.”
Despite the stereotype of men being the primary breadwinner in the household, not all men feel pressure to fit into that tradition.
Spencer Bouwhuis, 25, of Utah said, “In high school, I never pictured myself going to college and having some fancy career. I was just so excited, always, to be a dad. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a stay-at-home-dad.”
Bouwhuis does work seasonally building decks.
In the winter of 2012, Bouwhuis and his wife decided it was best for the family that he stayed at home to take care of their then six-month-old and two-year-old.
The stay-at-home dad experienced the same ups and downs as any stay-at-home parent.
However, he remembers experiencing “burn-out” from trying to keep up with what meals to cook, keeping the house tidy and clean, keeping the laundry done, while also supervising the children.
Even when Bouwhuis is out of the house to work, he is still the primary caregiver for the children for at least one or two days a week.
But even though some women have considered having their husbands stay at home with the kids, some of the potential consequences of the decision gives them some pause like what happens if she loses her job and how much criticism will he receive when he tries to re-enter the workforce?
In her book Lean In, writer Sheryl Sandberg said that “women’s average annual earnings decrease by 20 percent if they are out of the workforce for just one year…30 percent after two to three years, which is the average amount of time professional women off-ramp into the workforce.”
Often, women face hesitancy from employers when they have a long gap on their resume from their time as stay-at-home mothers.
In a May 7, 2014 article in TIME, Farnoosh Torabi reported, “Research suggests the penalty may even be greater for men who temporarily exit the workforce. One study found that dads who left work for even a short period of time to cater to domestic matters earned lower evaluations and more negative performance ratings at work then women who opted out.”
Torabi added, “Single-income families are also at a higher risk of financial collapse, as one might guess. Researchers at Hope College and Cornell University found that, ‘Not only are two wages often necessary to adequately provide for the needs of most families, dual-earner couples are less economically vulnerable than single-earner families, for whom a layoff can mean financial collapse.’”
Pew Research reported, “Stay-at-home dads are a more racially and ethnically diverse group than working dads. Half of dads who don’t work for pay are non-Hispanic White. This compares with 60 percent of dads working for pay. Non-Hispanic Black fathers are a larger share of stay at-home-dads (18 percent) than they are of working dads (nine percent). Hispanic fathers are 21 percent of both stay-at-home and working fathers, and non-Hispanic Asian fathers are seven percent of stay-at-home fathers and eight percent of working fathers.”
Data from Pew Research also found that one-third of stay-at-home fathers are 45-years-old or older.
Furthermore, 73 percent of stay-at-home fathers are married, and 27 percent of stay-at-home fathers have a four-year college degree.