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The belief that men are not capable of taking care of a child is now being challenged. Fathers are now taking on a more active role in their child’s life by allowing their wives to peruse her career goals while they stay at home with the children. Women are now left with the task of being the family’s primary breadwinners. As both step outside their expected gender roles the challenge of gender stereotypes found in families have been questioned.
The option of becoming a stay-at-home dad normally come up when a couple decides to have children.
While most men choose not to submit themselves to become a stay-at-home dad simply because it has always been a man’s job to be the provider and a woman’s job to be the primary caretaker. This have been instilled within us from a very tender age so it is no surprise when a man chooses to work rather than willingly submit to becoming a stay at home dad.
Men tend to have a natural instinct in them to provide and protect their family. Anything else would immediately makes them feel less of a man or even worthless in the eyes of some stereotypes.
As quoted by Glenn Sacks in the short story Stay-at-home Dads page 279, “SAHDs (stay-at-home dads) also have to contend with the societal perception that being a househusband is unmanly. The idea is so pervasive that even I still tend to think “wimp” when I first hear about a SAHD”.
This quote shed light on a point in which it was stated that there are still stereotyped individuals who still believe that being a stay-at-home dad makes one less of a man.
This is however not true, in fact, the author went on to state that “men need not fear a loss of power when they become a SAHD. While SAHDs are sometimes stereotyped as being at the mercy of their stronger wives’ commands, in reality, I have more power in the family now than I ever did when I was the family breadwinner” (Sacks 278). This quote explains that men fear the fact that being the primary caregiver rather than the bread winner would take away their power. The author quickly addresses the matter by explaining that this is not so, but more the opposite.
There are numerous advantages to being a stay-at-home dad. “for men, it is an opportunity to witness the countless magical, irreplaceable moments of a young child’s life, and to enjoy some of the subtle pleasures our fathers never knew, like making dinner with a three year-Old’s help”, or putting the baby down for a mid-day nap in a hammock”. (Sacks 278). This quote gives evidence to one of the many joys of being a stay-at-home dad where the writer tell us about one of the many opportunities a man would normally miss out on.
Another advantage of stay-at-home dads is that women are now given the chance to peruse her career goals instead of past traditions where women had to stay home and take care of the children. Another remarkable advantage to having a stay-at-home dad is the thought of knowing that your child is being cared for in the best way possible. You can rest assured that your child is in good hands, your hands. The biggest advantage of becoming a stay-at-home dad is that there is more money inflow than if the wife had stayed home. Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages as it relates to being a stay-at-home dad.
For the women there is the loss of their primary status with their young children as quoted by Sacks (pg. 278). Mom was always known as the most important person to the child, but now that dad spends more time taking care of the child it is only natural that the child will in return wants daddy to comfort them when something goes wrong. This may be a difficult for women to accept given the fact that mommy has always been number one in the eyes of the world. However, mothers will tend to make up for time spent away from child when she gets home.
Another disadvantages for women is having to take on the role has the primary breadwinner for the family. This not only reduce a woman’s ability to cut back on work schedule, but also prohibit her from changing careers if it simply does not suit her. There are disadvantages as it relates to men as well. “for one, they will have to endure the unconscious hypocrisy of a society which often wrings its hands over the lot of the housewife yet at the same time views SAHDs as freeloaders who have left their working wives holding the bag” Sacks (pg278).
This quote is simply explains one of the biggest disadvantage men face as being a stay-at-home dad as they are constantly ridicule for their choices. They are constantly being criticized by society and their manhood is constantly being questioned for having their wives work and provide for the family while they stay home and take care of the children. This may sound unmanly to most stereotyped men. Another disappointing factor as it relates to being a stay-at-home parent is the feeling of boredom and isolation. Moms and dads who weren’t too happy about leaving the work place can feel even more alienated.
This is explained in a quote by Glen Sacks from the short story Stay-at-home-dads, “In addition, while many stay-at-home parents face boredom and social isolation, it can be particularly acute for SAHDs, since there are few other men at home, and connections with stay-at-home moms can be difficult to cultivate”. Sacks (pg. 279). This quote explains that while there are less men involved in being at home with their children the few who actually do can feel isolated when they can find no one to talk and share common interest with.
If one’s career was an important contribution to one’s self-esteem then one may experience a loss in one’s identity, and given the fact that men are often shown little or no acknowledge for their hard work in being a stay-at-home dad, their self-esteem may be shattered. With no appreciation of a boss or co-workers one might feel frustrated. After all being at home all day with a sick screaming toddler is not necessarily the sense of accomplishment one strive for. Form changing dirty diapers to doing loads of laundry day in and day out one have little or no time for one’s self.
It is nearly impossible to get some private alone time with an attention-seeking baby or toddler. Society is still coming to terms with the idea of a stay-at-home dad. Though it affects both the man as well as the woman for both are being challenged for are stepping outside one’s expected gender roles the idea of becoming a stay-at-home dad can said to be a very logical and rational one. Many people are still finding it difficult to accept this change in lifestyles, however this is slowly being changed mentally as people are now starting to realize that stay-at-home dads do benefit the family in a very positive way.
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