“My brain is like oatmeal. I yelled at Kenny today for coloring outside the lines! Megan and I are starting to watch the same TV shows, and I’m liking them! I’m losing it.” – Jack Butler Mr. Mom
The hilarious (albeit silly) 1983 comedy, Mr. Mom was a precursor for a growing trend. The uncertain economy has left many families in unique situations, and many people find it’s more feasible (financially) for the husband to stay at home with the children while Mom enters the career field. Last May, 34% more men were unemployed than women, leaving many families with an unprecedented choice to let Mr. Mom run the household.
Other families don’t choose to switch traditional roles solely for financial reasons. Some families choose to have Dad stay home as a personal preference. For many families, where wives are getting promotions and beginning to earn as much as men, having the father stay at home with the children simply makes sense. Many fathers are finding a sense of fulfillment in staying home with their children, like David Lesser who left a budding law career. Lesser says, “I knew deep down inside that I was not going to be a good lawyer…I never had that passion as an attorney. I do have that passion as a dad.” (Via ABC.com)
According to a recent poll, the number of stay-at-home-dads has doubled in the past 10 years. Coupled with the advent of social media and online communities, that number is bound to increase. Dad networks like DaddysHome, Inc and AtHomeDad.org connect fellow fathers and allow them to read helpful articles, gain insight about how to run a home successfully, and share parenting laughs only fathers can appreciate.
Still, being a stay-at-home-dad is not without its challenges. Many men face the awkward position of being asked when they will return to the workforce, when their primary plan is to raise their children at home. Popular opinion still sees the “Mr. Mom” role as a temporary position for men between jobs. With centuries of stigma attached to men being the “bread winners,” the traditional familial makeup is difficult to break through.
Regardless of whether dad stays home or both parents work full-time jobs the most essential component of a healthy family is love. As 2012 approaches, traditional and unconventional family roles should be welcomed for the betterment of the family unit. As long as children continue to receive love, and each member of the family feels fulfilled, the role of Mr. Mom should not only be embraced, but also supported.
What do you think? How many of you are stay-at-home-dads?