Giving Credit To Stay At Home Dads

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I was out at the park the other day with a friend or two, and as we walked by the kids jungle gym I noticed something. There amongst the usual crowd of young mothers were two stay at home dads, happily chatting and keeping an eye on the kids. It was heart-warming to see how accepted he seemed to be with the other caretakers, a part of the parenting circle that for whatever reason chose to stay and care for the kids instead of taking an outside job. It made me consider just how far we have come in accepting what used to be considered a gender-specific role, staying home to care for the kids, is now more accepted for a man to take on. To steal a line from an old cigarette commercial – we have come a long way, baby! And as far as I am concerned, it is all to the good.

A Long Way to Go

But for all that I loved to see that little group, I know from several male friends who are stay at home dads that it hasn’t changed enough yet. Some of the reason is that women continue to monitor men who show up near children for a good reason. Pedofiles masquerading as daddy have been known to prowl the local schoolyards. It is for a good reason that parents, all parents, are careful around a man suddenly showing up, small child in tow, and being a bit more friendly then moms want. Proving that you are not that guy is never easy, but it can be done. It takes time and patience to be accepted. The change is that it is possible, in the long run. And a lot of that is because there are more stay at home dads today then there were ten or fifteen years ago.

Stay at Home Dads Unite!

Luckily, for many dads who have chosen to create lives that include staying at home with the kids, there are support organizations to help. One of them, the National Stay at Home Dads Network, has been instrumental in helping many men make the leap. While most of the men that I know that have chosen this path are writers or artists, that isn’t the only reason more men are staying with the kids while their partner brings home the bacon. The old model of Dad taking off to work while Mom stays home and cleans, cooks and cares for the kids has been kicked to the curb for many families. Single parents, co-parents and every type of parenting situation is now being explored in earnest. It is encouraging to see that many men who might have only considered the exhausting climb up the corporate ladder are seeing other options. These other options may, in the end, also give those men a longer healthier life to enjoy those same kids as they grow and have kids of their own. Now isn’t that a win-win change?

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