The number of stay-at-home dads is growing.
Is it because moms like to go out working now? Or is it because the gender pay gap is coming down (as it should), and it increases the options when it comes to childcare?
Whatever the reason… it is happening. Stay at home dads (SAHD’s) are on the rise, and I think that is great news!
Unfortunately, a stigma remains for stay-at-home fathers, and some people just can’t let go of the stereotypes. I will run you through 10 of the most common stereotypes that dads face if they are the primary caregivers.
Let’s take a look…
Stay At Home Dads and the 10 Stereotypes They Have To Face
1. He Is Babysitting
This is one of the most frustrating for me (PS I am not a stay-at-home dad)!
Dad is dad… not a babysitter. He is a parent, and it therefore at home with his baby or kids.
This even frustrates my wife when she is out with her mom’s friends. she will hear those words, ‘I’ve left dad babysitting the kids.’ She always corrects them, which I certainly appreciate.
Stay at home dads are not babysitters!
2. He Can’t Get a Job
While some dads stay at home because they have recently been made redundant, it is not because they cannot get a job.
In fact, if a dad is between jobs, surely he cannot be classed as a stay-at-home dad, can he? I don’t think so… because that can change as soon as a job is found. It is too erratic to be considered a full-time position, right?
The vast majority of stay-at-home dads have collectively decided with mom that he will be staying at home.
3. He is Watching TV All Day
Sure, the TV will probably be on at some point, but dad knows the importance of interacting with the kids more than interacting with the TV remote!
It is unfair to suggest that dad is sitting watching the TV all day. The decision to stay at home was probably agreed upon because you can trust dad NOT to do this.
4. He is Playing Console Games All Day
This is the same as above; only we are throwing in a console here.
Sure, there are more male console players than female, but that doesn’t mean that dad is one of them!
Being a stay-at-home dad is a huge responsibility, and it will be clear if he does spend all of his time playing on the console… he knows that, but he is responsible.
5. Doesn’t Want to Be There
‘It’s a women’s job to bring up the kids’.. surely he doesn’t want to be there!
Surely he wants to be the breadwinner. He wants to be in the office, on-site, or wherever. Anywhere except being at home.
This cannot be further from the truth! I would love to be a stay-at-home dad. In fact, when I am not at home, I would rather be at home unless my family is with me, of course!
You know, as well as I do, bringing up a child correctly is not for the lazy!
You cannot be a good parent AND lazy. It is not possible.
That doesn’t stop this being a stereotype commonly associated with a stay-at-home father.
7. Lacking Masculinity
The man is the hunter. The woman stays at home looking after the kids and keeping the house in order, doesn’t she?
Nope – not anymore. These important life tasks are split between mom and dad these days.
Stay at home dads do not lack masculinity. After all, what is masculinity if it is not spending time being a teacher for his kids, the next generation?
Staying at home whilst mom goes out to work is not indicative of a lack of masculinity. Stay at home dads do not lack masculinity.
8. Making Mom Work
In reality, the conversation is unlikely to have gone this way:
Dad ‘I don’t want to work, but the bills need paying. You need to work. I’ll chill here with this kids’
It is much more likely to have gone something like this:
Dad ‘One of us needs to be at home with the kids. If you are happy to discuss it, we should sit down and do the math to see who is best placed to stay at home and who is best placed to go out to work?’
Stay at home dads will have worked closely with mom to decide what is best for family finances.
9. Can’t Bring up a Child as Well as Mom Can
This irks me. We dads are just as capable of bringing up a child as well as a mom can!
Sure, there are differences between men and women; there is no doubting that. But, we both have the future of our child to work on, and we will both put in a great deal of effort to give them the best future we can.
Anyway, parenting is a job for both mom and dad, and the best parents share the responsibility.
Ultimately, a dad can do the job just as well as a mom can.
10. Too Much Fun, Not Much Discipline
The rumor is that when you are a stay home dad, you will be having tremendous fun, and you will lack the important aspects of the discipline needed to bring up a child well.
Discipline is a vital part of being a parent… mom or dad. It needs to happen.
The danger is that if one parenting style undermines the other, then you will have a problem child on your hands!
Discipline is needed, and positive discipline works better. Dad knows this, and he understands it too.
What is Behind the Rise of Stay At Home Dads?
I mentioned briefly in the intro to the article that the number of stay-at-home dads has increased, and I think the rise is related to a global focus on reducing the gender pay gap.
The Gender Pay Gap Statistics measures the money earned by women compared to the money earned by men by using a median against the dollar. These statistics show an increase from $0.71 since 2015, which means moving in the right direction.
By closing the gender pay gap, it increases the opportunity for men to be a stay at home parent to their child.
There are other factors to consider, such as the unemployment rate; however, this will not directly impact the stay at home man v stay at home woman debate.
How Can I Help My Stay At Home Dad?
By supporting him in creating a schedule and routine that works well for him and the child (or children).
If you are a mom, try not to force your routine onto him because it may not work for him.
Understanding is a significant thing too. He is going to make mistakes, just as a stay-at-home mom will do. Just as all humans do! Mistakes happen; work together to correct them.
Stay with it and help each other out. Remember, communication is vital.
Whilst studies have shown that it is more difficult for males to move from workers to stay-at-home dads, it doesn’t mean that they should be the target of these common stereotypes.
Stay at home dads are awesome too!
As I mentioned right at the start of this post, being a stay-at-home dad is on the rise. There is a lot of information available for stay-at-home moms, but there is a lack of info for dads in the same position.
Stay home dads can bring a child up just as well as a stay home mom can.
Good luck, and if you are a stay-at-home dad, let’s work to stop these stereotypes!