Family

7 Reasons We Love Stay-at-Home Dads

reasons we love stay-at-home dads
Written by Oana Schneider

There used to be a time when a family consists of a dad who works, a mom who stays at home and kids. Now that there’s a more complex definition of a family, the roles of parents have also changed. It no longer holds true that the dad automatically has to earn a living for the family.

There are instances when it’s the mother who has to go to work, while the dad stays at home to care for the kids. That’s exactly what we will learn more about here. What does it entail to become a stay-at-home dad? And why do we love them in the first place? Find out in the next sections.

What Being a Stay-at-Home Dad Entails

First, let us take a look at a few statistics regarding stay-at-home dads. According to the National At-Home Dad Network, there are 1.4 million stay-at-home dads in the US for 2009. This number has doubled over the past ten years and has likely increased based on trends from other resources, to at least 1.75 million. The focus of the study is on the role of the father, instead of their employment status. So what does it entail to become a stay-at-home dad? Still according to the National At-Home Dad Network, a stay-at-home dad is “a father who is the daily, primary caregiver of his children under age 18.” It is important to note that a stay-at-home is not defined by his employment status – even employed fathers can Here are a few more interesting statistics about stay-at-home dads from the same agency:

  • From the 2011 US Census reports, 32% of married fathers or approximately 7 million dads are a regular source of care for their children under the age of 18. This is up from the 26% figures in 2001.
  • The US Census defines regular care of children as a consistent arrangement of at least one day per week.
  • In a similar report by Pew Research for 2014, it shows that 2 million men are stay-at-home dads. This was double the number reported in 1989. However, these numbers are based on unemployment and the definition of a stay-at-home dad is a man aged 18 to 69 living with his own children (biological, step or adopted) younger than 18, not employed for pay or at all in the prior year.
  • Pew Research studies also showed that there is a rise in the number of dads choosing to be stay-at-home parents. There has been an increase from 5% to 21% of unemployed dads.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of stay-at-home dads are as follows:
    • 45 million – 2013
    • 50 million – 2012
    • 61 million – 2011
    • 75 million – 2010
    • 79 million – 2009
    • 32 million – 2008
    • 23 million – 2007
    • 20 million – 2006

For these figures, the definition of a stay-at-home dad is someone who takes on a primary role as a caregiver for the kids. The doubling of the figures, according to the Pew Research Center, is the number of fathers choosing to stay at home, not because of unemployment or injury. From yet another survey released by Pew Research:

  • 35% of dads stay at home because they are ill or disabled
  • 23% are unable to find work
  • 22% are in school or retired

Top 7 Reasons Why We Love Stay-at-Home Dads

Now, what are the reasons why we love stay-at-home dads? Take a look at the following list:

1. Because they stay at home to care for the kids by choice.

The number of fathers taking care of their children full-time has doubled in the last 15 years. According to the Pew Research Center, this is entirely by choice and not because of unemployment or injury. The shift also reveals a structural change in gender roles and families in the US. If more and more dads are voluntarily choosing to stay at home, what does this tell us about ourselves as a society? This means that the traditional role of moms spending an entire day in the park to care for her kids has been broken as a stereotype because more men are willing to take on the task of being a primary caregiver for the children.

2. Because dads, too, can bond with their kids.

Over the past few years, how many times have you heard moms complain about their husbands not spending enough time with their kids? If you have a stay-at-home dad who is taking on the traditional role of a doting mother, it means that more dads get to spend their time with their kids. The bond between father and child gets tighter, and those who are raising boys would definitely appreciate the active presence of their fathers in their lives.

3. Because they still manage to earn a living despite being the primary caregiver for the kids.

With the proliferation of the Internet, more and more professional – not just stay-at-home dads – get to telecommute or work from home. Even if you are a stay-at-home dad, you can still manage to earn a living or contribute something towards the household expenses. At the same time, you get to be the primary caregiver for your kids and not have to rely on nannies or day care centers to do it for you.

4. Because they’re a lot better than a babysitter.

Although most moms rely on nannies or babysitters for their child’s welfare, it does not mean that they rest easy leaving their kids to the care of virtual strangers. When the dads are left to care for the kids at home, moms feel 100% at ease knowing that their child is being loved and cared for in the best way possible. Both parents may not be present, but having at least one parent at home to care for the child is definitely a plus point. First time dads who are left at home to care for the kids might make a few mistakes along the way, but they will definitely learn over time and they are the best person to care for kids in place of the mom.

5. Because they don’t mind that their wives are out-earning them.

For couples who are thinking about having the dad stay at home instead of the mom, the reasons are mostly economic. If the mom is earning a lot more than the dad, then the money that the dad would have earned may just go towards day care expenses if both parents are working. If the dad agrees to stay at home, it means that it is more economically plausible to have the mom take on full-time work. Again, this means that they do not mind having their wives out-earning them.

In a 2010 poll conducted by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, 1,000 dads were asked if they would seriously consider staying at home if their wives made enough money for the family to live comfortably. 53% said yes, while the rest said no. The figures indicate that most dads do not mind that their wives are out-earning them. As such, they also do not mind staying at home to be the primary caregiver for the kids.

6. Because they’re more involved with their families.

Moms might be better at organizing, scheduling or finishing household chores but dads who are given the chance to do all these things will definitely grow into the role. Stay-at-home dads become more involved with their families, especially those who do stay at home by choice rather than out of necessity. These dads are willing to get involved in their kids’ activities at school, help out with homework, feed the kids with something nutritious, organize things around the house, etc.

7. Because they’re happier being stay-at-home dads.

Finally, stay-at-home dads are awesome because they are happier taking on the role. They make sure that the kids are well taken care of and that they are having a great day. As the kids grow into full-fledged adults, they become closer to their dads who do stay at home to care for them.

In 2010, the Boston College Center for Work & Family conducted a poll which asked dads about their attitudes when it comes to staying at home. More than 50% said yes, which means that they are doing so by choice rather than out of necessity. With more and more dads actively taking a part in raising their families, the future for stay-at-home dads is definitely bright. In the future, the number of stay-at-home dads could grow bigger, and the reason is not because they refuse to leave the workplace. Instead, they are more than willing to stay at home and take on the role of a primary parent or caregiver for the kids – a role that used to be traditionally occupied by women. With more stay-at-home dads, the gender roles are slowly being broken and the bonus is that kids get to have better relationships – and more fun – with their dads staying at home.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

9 Comments

  • Stay at home dads! I don’t know, whether male ego ruptures at the prospect of wives out-earning them or not, but the children enjoy the papa’s company a lot better. Men are good at cracking a joke or two. Children all along missed the company of their dads, as most dads worked hard and came late at night. They now like their dad taking them to an amusement park or taking them for a short drive in an open top car.

    • Far too much generalization. Children love their moms and dads fairly equally, and a father isn’t a better stay at home parent. It all depends on how each person raises the children, and both can be equally effective. Stay at home dads are great, but they’re not necessarily better than stay at home moms every time.

      • Sing it. In my particular case, if my dad had been a stay-at-home-dad and my mom had been the breadwinner, I would have had a far more miserable childhood than I did (it was maintenance-level dysfunctional). Of course that’s not the case for everyone; there are plenty of great fathers out there, both stay-at-home and working alike. But I would say some fathers are far more suited to stay-at-home parenthood and I think it’s pretty amazing when they make that choice.

      • Excuse me, I didn’t really mean it though I never made it conspicuous with a smiley or with a lol. Yes, children love both parents equally. But traditionally, a mother has always been with the kids and a father was the bread winner and returns late in the day. The kids don’t get to play with their dad or spend time. It was in that perspective, how a child would have enjoyed a generous availability of a dad.

        But yes, it was overboard stuff. 😉

      • This is exactly what I was thinking. Funny thing though, I’m gay so our kids have two daddies. I stay home and my husband goes out and makes the money, he’s a lawyer. Like you said, I think it depends on how the parent raises the children. I spoil my kids way too much and buy then what ever they want, and my husband is the more strict enforcer of rules. Our boys love the both of us equally. I’m just the nicer daddy. (hehe)

  • This was great! It is important for people to know and understand how important a dad is in his child’s life. When many of us think of a stay at home parent they immediately think of mothers. However, this doesn’t mean that the mom can’t go to work and the dad can’t stay home. A dad is extremely important for a child to bond and learn from. I think sometimes men think it is embarrassing to stay at home because that would require the woman to go out and work, but they are just as much a parent as the mother is.

  • Definitely an awesome read! Unfortunately, in this day and age, the father is usually the one to be out the latest with work, which severely hinders that necessary social, emotional, and physical (sports, other games, etc.) with their kids!

    Stay at home parents, especially dads, rock!

  • For some reason, there’s a really stupid stigma around stay at home dads because some people believe that men shouldn’t stay at home and raise the kids. That doesn’t make any sense, and stay at home dads perform an admirable task, assuming they’re raising their children in a decent manner. I applaud all stay at home dads without reservations.

  • I agree with the fact that a dad can really change the environment at home and be with the kids, but I personally think it’s not always the option for some people because some dads have to work really hard to provide because their wife can’t work because of an illness, so it’s quite rare for them to be at home. I still think the mum plays a big role but of course, we should always strive to be there for the kids whether it was the dad or the mum, both of them is better.

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