When I was younger, my mom worked really late hours. My dad and [more so] my sister picked up the extra work necessary to take care of me and my younger brother. While I am grateful to both, if my dad stayed at home during my upbringing I probably would have ran away from home. In fact, if he had to stay at home all day with us I’m sure he’d probably dip out, too.
I think we all had a huge sigh of relief when my mom managed to find a new job with an earlier shift.
But the times are a changing and for many families having a stay-at-home dad is the ideal situation. While there are still more than 30 stay-at-home mothers for every father, the shift towards dad becoming the primary caretaker is being accelerated by the times.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 5.1 million who have been laid off in this recession, more men have found themselves out of work than women.
That leaves a lot of men with the responsibilities typically assigned to the mother.
I can’t personally think of any stay-at-home dads. That explains why many who find themselves taking on the role of “Mr. Mom” turning to the internet to find a community. Sites like Dudesondiapers are hoping to shed light on their transition from worker to full-time father and caretaker. There are also books like Bedtime Stories, which offer the perspective of being a black male and single parent.
I actually applaud any man who can handle either responsibility.
Some still argue that a man is supposed to be the main provider, thus the idea of being a stay-at-home dad only heightens already present anxiety for men who find themselves out of work.
But, is it time for us to break some of these gender stereotypes? Isn’t it limiting to say men can’t find solace in being a parent the same way many women do?
Are you a stay-at-home dad? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.
Email me at email@example.com.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.