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.