The Modern Family: Is the Stay-At-Home Dad a Growing Trend?

“How many hopes and fears, how many ardent wishes and anxious apprehensions are twisted together in the threads that connect the parent with the child” Samuel G. Goodrich

Call to Action: Jungle Jane Meet Zack
Is your husband a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD)? If not, would you consider being the sole breadwinner in your home and have your hubby become a SAHD?  I was sitting in a comfy chair at the hair salon today, a regular ritual I enjoy with my teen twins, chatting away with my friend/stylist Lorna, when a man in his mid 30s strolled in with a toddler in tow. Actually the toddler, about 20 months old, was curled up in a stroller with the big toe of his right foot stuck firmly in his mouth.

Dad, whom we shall call Zack, had arrived for his bi-weekly haircut and his stylist, Walter, welcomed both warmly, asking when Zack’s forever traveling executive wife would be returning from her latest business trip. “She’ll be back by Wednesday!” he replied. Dad and son seemed quite happy exchanging the occasional smile and gibberish banter only a parent is expected to understand. Now if,  like Jane, you are looking for an Alpha male/secure Beta Male instead of the average Beta Male as per an article in Marie Claire, this arrangement might not be for you. Read on.

Zack is Not an Anomaly.
 According to another recent article I read in Marie Claire, the recession has created an unlikely boon for women in the workplace. There are more of us working outside the home as the family breadwinner while our hubbies are home with the kids. The article doesn’t mention that while more of us are working, we are still earning less than men in the workplace; about 77 cents to the dollar… The stats below are quite revealing and while it shows women increasingly running households with dependent husbands, it is hardly indicative of a national trend in the USA or a global shift. 

“Three men lost their jobs for every one woman that did, and as a result,
this year, for the first time ever, women make up the majority of the
workforce. Four in 10 mothers are now their households' primary
breadwinners, and an estimated 143,000 unemployed fathers of children
under 15 are caring for the kids full time while their wives work.”

The article points out that SAHD (Stay At Home Dads), not to be confused with single dads or work from home hubbies, have their own website - At Home Dad  - to help dedicated house husbands through their trials, tribulations and triumphs. A quick peek at the site showed that the topics/sections of conversation were similar to what women discuss in their parenting groups; on parenting, relationships, culture & entertainment, humor, hobbies, sports and more… Even macho dads need a place to vent, share tidbits and learn about new foods and better pricing. Kudos are in order.

"Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father."  Gloria Steinem
The Professional Dad is PC
When I clicked on the site's Forum, Culture & Entertainment and Everything Else had the most posts - indicative of what? That stay at home dads or the more politically correct terms “involved fathers,” “the professional dad” and “modern men” are finding plenty to discuss about child rearing outside of DIY and Sports?  What did we expect? contrived discussions on penis size like the guys did on Episode 1 or is it 2(?) of Bravo’s Housewives from DC?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that it takes a man, read - a community - with an open minded attitude about non traditional roles and a pretty healthy ego to willingly trade in the suit/work clothes for a diaper bag and Gymboree classes.

 Before you protest, I know that there are exceptions to the rule and that there are men who cherish the opportunity to care for their children while the wife goes to work outside the home. I am all for equal opportunity at parenting for men, however, the societal norm is that having clearly defined roles for men and women is fundamental to what we all know as the Institution of Marriage. Is this belief eroding in modern society?  Slowly, I think … and it’s a good move.

Four years ago, I commuted between LA and NY after being relocated by my company. My kids stayed home in NY with Dad and he bonded with them in a way that would not have been feasible had I not taken on the demands of a grueling job. It was an important sometimes challenging transition for us but we all grew from the experience. No regrets.
Below is a video clip from MSNBC on the subject.

The Power Dynamic Shifts
 Why is there so much talk about this anyway? Because as more women return to work and more men lose their jobs, it creates a workforce dynamic, a power shift that many, on both sides of the gender divide, are not comfortable about or even ready to accept. After my twins were born, I joined the local Gymboree group; juggling part-time work hours, with a baby sitter and a husband who doted on the twins. There were no public forums or magazine articles on what it all meant. I worked at home and outside the home. Most moms, even those of us who return to outside work after our 3-6 month maternity leaves, don’t dwell on the subject because we planned to take care of our little ones; with or without help.

It Takes A Village...
More revealing on the AtHomeDad site were the blog posts under a range of reading sections with titles like: Daddy Dialectics, Hopeless Cases, Daddy Forever, DadBloggers and other relevant, related subjects including a title that made me chuckle “Daddy Does the Dishes, Mommy Makes the Muhla.”   Each section had several articles addressing issues of concern; childcare issues that were discussed at length and we can all relate to.  I was reminded again that it takes a village to raise a child and the input a child receives from all the loving people in his/her life carries tremendous currency. 

Raising a healthy child demands an all hands-on-deck approach and is a very challenging job. Perhaps this is why I never liked the term “Working Mom” because it presupposes that “Stay At Home Moms” don’t work. Personally, I prefer the terms “Outside Work Moms” and “Work at Home Moms.” Ask any mom, it’s all work both inside and outside the home. What do you say we propose a new term? What do you suggest?

"Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence." Plato

Imperative: A Positive Attitude and Open Communication
One point the article brings home is that this is not the revolutionary, permanent shift in gender roles that some would like to imagine. It is a shift requiring much sensitivity and the recognition that even in progressive societies, the level of expectation of male/female roles have not necessary changed to meet what some are declaring a role reversal triggered by a sluggish economy.  There is danger in assuming that the transition will be easy-peachy. It won’t. A healthy attitude and constant communication is imperative.

From what I read, after the initial adjustment to who brings home the bacon, the bigger danger for a couple comes not just from a diminished libido, but from our insecurities/attitudes and the attitudes of those around us; Seriously, how many of you have family/friends who would readily accept this role reversal in their households? Or a reversal in yours?

Welcome to Modern Parenting
Honest, open, communication is still a crucial way to make this work. Seeking the help of a qualified professional might not be a bad idea if needed.  As PJ, one of the dad’s featured in the article says to his wife during a moment of frustration, “I don't know if I'm man enough to be a woman.”

Much later, after a powwow session and time to reflect on the arrangement again, PJ declares "My wife is the only one who matters. As long as she can look at me and realize that I'm doing the best for our family, it doesn't matter that some random guy (or gal) thinks I'm less of a man."  That’s right PJ; you are a Work At Home Dad and I applaud you.  Welcome to modern parenting…

What are your thoughts on the subject? Would you switch roles? If yes, how soon after your baby is born? If not, why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
All photos ~ courtesy of  Google Images Free

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank



  1. I just read this to my husband, who has his office at home and manages most of the sick day/snow day/summer day camp coverage. We live next to a grade school and he said he's not surprised at all because he sees the volume of dads doing the kindergarten pick ups and after school pick ups. Very interesting- though sad that the $ is still off!!! grrrrr

  2. Thank you Diva Mom for your comment... I feel the same way about pay. Give us what we are worth = Equal Pay for equal work!
    Thanks for stopping by. Will return the visit...

  3. Thanks so much for following and I'm following you back! I really look forward to reading!


  4. I often wish I could go work for my husband and let him stay at home for once. I want him to rest for a bit. I think sahd and moms are wonderful and we will do anything to support our families:) good post lady!

  5. DearHeart,
    Thank you for your visit. I am glad to follow you back too. Do stop in again to let me know what you think about this post or any others.

  6. Hi Vic,
    Thanks your visit too! Yes, both sides work so hard ad deserve to be acknowledged for the enormous work involved. I dont know where the idea started that at home work isn't quite work... It is Work! I agree with you that we should applaud all. E

  7. My husband was a SAHD for about 6 months while he was trying to find a fulltime job. It was really stressful on me to be the breadwinner, and he went stir-crazy not being able to provide for our family. I know it works for some, but for us, it only was a short-term solution.

  8. My husband is a WAHD, but does take on alot of the responsiblities of getting my two oldest where they need to be. He admits that sometimes he hates being the only day at drop offs at cheeleading, gymnastics, etc. But I do know that he loves being superinvolved in their lives.

  9. Thank you MIW Mom, for your comment and for stopping by. It is a huge responsibility and I'm glad that there are dads taking on the role. It is necessary for spouses to recognize the amount of work involved in raising kids and to share those tasks.
    Kudos to your hubby!

  10. Hi Ashley,
    Thnaks for your feedback... I can imagine the stress factor in that.
    Thanks for stopping by mu blog!

  11. I think that if a family structure is such that it makes sense for Dad to stay home, then it is a great choice!

    For our family, my DH has NO desire to stay home and I love staying home, so that works for us. :)

  12. Don't have kids yet, but we've talked seriously about him staying home when we do- only because my earning potential will be much more. He thinks it will be great- I say I have the right to stay home if I want!

  13. EB and SR, Thanks for your follow up comments. I agree that couples will/should figure out the best arrangement for their families. I like the idea of equitable choice.
    Happy weekend!

  14. Hope you have a great weekend!

    Have a nice day.

  15. THank you so much for linking up! I'm already following!


  16. loved the post Following you back from
    ladii-aponte.blogspot.com, Hubby and i were in the same situation he was a sahd for a bit while i worked when he got out of the anvy now we both work [opposite shifts so my son can still have one of us at home] but still good soon ill go back to being a SAHM

  17. I must admit that I LIKE being able to be the one who stays home with the kids. There are so many milestones, cute phrases and achievements of theirs that I would miss being a part of.

    However, the reason we chose for me to be the one staying home is because my husband earned more than me. It just made better financial sense. He often says he'd love to be the one who got to stay home with the kids though, and he means it.

    Of course, now that the governemnt here will be cutting our take-home from hubby's monthly check by £600 to £1,000 a month (as of this coming March), I may have to start thinking about getting a job outside the home. My work-from-home earnings are not enough to make up the shortfall we will be experiencing.

    Both of us believe it is important for one of us to be home with the kids, but we will have to do whatever it takes to make ends meet.

  18. My husband and I are thinking of working at home when we finished the amortization of our house. We have a small flourishing business that's our ticket to working at home plus we have blogs to maintain. I am not against the idea because for me it's important that there's someone who's very much related to the family who'll stay with the kids. In our case, my mother is there to watch over our son and his nanny.


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