Stay At Home Dads on The Rise

I’ve discovered a new term, the “Mancession” – a reflection of how badly the recession affect employment for men.  One of the more pleasant, but unforeseen result of the recession is the number of men playing the role of stay-at-home dad.  Although women still earn less than men on average, Liza Mundy, author of the book, The Richer Sex claims that “almost 40 per cent of working wives out-earn their husbands” – and this number was rising.

As the main breadwinner in my family, I know that it can take a bit of a mental adjustment for men who are bring out-earned by their wives. My BF and I have already discussed that he would be the stay-at-home parent if we decide to get married and have kids.  It’s a role that we would both be comfortable with, and many couples share our view.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24% of kindergarteners were cared for primarily by their dads in 2006, up from 16% in 2005.

Below is a video on this rising trend.  Please watch the video and then tell me in the comments, would your family be comfortable with this reversal of the traditional parenting roles?

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17 thoughts on “Stay At Home Dads on The Rise

  • This is something my BF and I discuss a lot. In our situation, it is almost guaranteed that I will be making more than him in the future. I already did at one point until he switched jobs, but we talked about it and he’s okay with that. However, when it comes to staying at home with kids, he thinks we need someone to do so. I had my grandma take care of me as a child so I think it’s doable for both parents to be working, plus there is child care. He always mentions that he can be a stay at home dad, but that makes me really… I don’t know, jealous? I always tell him I want to do that too. But we can’t have it all can we?!

  • I don’t see anything wrong with it. We’ve already talked about it and he will most likely be a stay at home dad. Mainly because I will out earn him.

  • I think the stay-at-home-dad setup works for a lot of people. And everyone should do what’s best for their family. Personally, I prefer a more traditional arrangement where either we both work or I stay-at-home. I’d like to point out that I don’t consider stay-at-home to be synonymous with work-from-home.

  • I’ve made more than my husband for almost our entire relationship (13+ years now). Sometimes a lot more. He stayed home (working part time or working from home) for four years after our son was born – it worked well for all of us. It’s definitely becoming more normal.

  • At this point in our marriage and careers, if we had children, we would have to look at the numbers to see if we could afford a stay-at-home parent. If we could, it would be me. My wife currently makes twice as much as me. Of course, this is largely because I haven’t actually been able to start my career and have been working a series of unrelated temporary jobs. Once my career finally launches, I’ll probably be making more than her.

  • My hubby and I always thought he’d end up being the stay-at-home parent because I had a four year degree compared to his two year. We assumed I would make more money…but we found out that it completely depends on what your degree is in. In any case, we were happy to change our focus as we moved forward in life.

  • Well, I’m going to be the contrarian here. I think men are designed to work, and women are designed to support. I believe this from a theological point of view (Adam was tasked with keeping the earth, Eve with supporting him in that role), but backed by experience and biology.

    Men are better at single tasks: like a job.
    Women are better at multiple tasks: like running a household.
    Women get hormones (like oxytocin) to chemically bind them to their children, men don’t have this advantage.

    Statistically, men do better in their job when they have a wife supporting them at home. A survey of millionaires showed that most stated their #1 reason for success as their wife.

    My wife and I have always thought she would be a stay-at-home mom, and neither of us would have it any other way. In fact, we’d take a pay cut in order to keep this dynamic.

    • If it works for you I think that’s a great thing. I end up feeling, most of the time, that my BF is the better nurturer in the relationship. I’m definitely more driven and career oriented than he has even been. He does a great job of running the household and I do an equally great job of bringing home the bacon. But maybe we’ve both been drinking the kool-aid on being who we want to be. He wants to be a mom. I want to rule the world. 😉

  • I think we could handle this if necessary. I understand James Meyer’s point (excepting the religious aspect of it, as I’m an atheist).

    I certainly see that at my husband’s job, he’s at a slight disadvantage. We are in our early 40’s. Most of the men at his job have SAH wives, or wives who work much-reduced schedules. So the management and upper level engineering types are used to having people travel at the drop of a hat and do other last minute things like that.

    My husband is one of the few with a full time working wife. I’m an engineering manager in a semiconductor startup company. So…while I make less than he does (he’s got a PhD, I don’t, I’m at a startup), my job isn’t exactly a cake-walk. So school functions, sick kid, dr’s appointments, holidays, we split. However, it’s more common for the younger (30-something) men to have working wives. We’re just ahead of our time.

    Now what’s more “natural” and “biological”, well, that I’ll take issue with, because people vary. Sure, I am GREAT at multi-tasking, but that’s exactly what makes me so very successful at my management/ engineerng job. The ability to keep many pans in the fire at once. And the ability to make sure we have food in the house and on the table at the same time.

    We prefer the dual-working couple thing. I did cut my hours to 30/week when my son was younger and will do the same after this one is born. That is more for my own sanity and health. My type-A personality did not mix well with FT work, lack of sleep, and nursing/pumping for a year. I was sick as a DOG that first winter with my first son.

    Truly, my husband’s laid back personality is probably a bit more suited to being home with children than my type-A. But based on when we bought our house, we really need either his full time income or 1.5 of mine to swing the mortgage payment, so he’s unlikely to get the opportunity to test it out.

  • I read this book where men can’t be trusted and 50% of marriages end in divorce. It follows that I kill the pig and bring home the bacon. My husband is he stay at home dad he’s just a lot more trusting than I am I guess.

    At least I don’t have imaginary friends

  • I’d have no problem with it. I’d have no problem with the traditional way, either. Unfortunately I don’t think either one of us will ever be able to be a true sah parent. When I’m done with school it’s back to the work force with me.

  • My brother is a stay at home Dad with a two year old and another due in July. They are planning on having three kids. She is a professor at a major university. It works great for them. He’s a fantastic Dad, although he’s not happy with the title of the “Mommy and Me” classes.

    In addition, I have a close friend whose Dad started a small business about 25 years ago. The Dad got very sick and was hospitalized 6 months after opening the business. Mom had to take it over or it would have failed. She never gave it back. He became the stay-at-home Dad. They are now multi-millionaires. So whatever works for you James Mayer.

  • My husband and I have discussed this and honestly we feel he would be better at home than I am, so we are going to trial it. I think it can work, but in general feel women are better stay at home parents and in most cases it works best that way.

    Whatever works best for the family is the right thing to do in my opinion.

  • My husband prefers to be the stay at home Dad. He is patient and nurturing. If it was up to me I wouldn’t have a kid until 60… but my ovaries haven’t received the memo.

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