Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dad in Charge

Dads at Home

Historically, women have been the ones to stay home and raise children while fathers work. However, women’s increasing independence and power in the workforce means they’re now frequently out-earning their spouses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2009 nearly 40% of working women earn more than their husbands. In trying economic times, it especially makes sense for women to keep their jobs once they have babies while Dads leave the workforce to stay home with the kids.

Reasons Dads Stay Home

Dads become stay-at-home-dads for more than one reason. Some dads just love spending time with their kids and want to become the primary care giver. Other dads stay home because their kids require special attention or have disabilities. Also, childcare costs are higher than ever. To save money and gain time with their little ones, many fathers decide childcare isn’t worth it and become stay-home-dads.  Sure, some dads face stereotypes from people who aren’t aware of how normal a dad staying at home really is. However, doing what’s best for their families trumps all for stay-at-home dads.

With the growth of telecommuting, many men are also able to work from home. In this regard, he is contributing financially to the family while also acting as the primary caregiver of the family's children. Differences in parent's schedules can also account for some of the stay-at-home dads. Sometimes the father works odd work shifts while the mother has a typical nine-to-five work schedule.

History of a stay at home Dad

In colonial American families, the family worked together as a unit and was self-sufficient.  Because of the Industrial Revolution, large-scale production replaced home manufacturing; this shift, coupled with then-prevailing norms governing sex or gender roles, dictated that the father become the breadwinner and the mother the caregiver. When affection-based marriages emerged in the 1830s, parents began devoting more attention to children and family relationships became more open. World War II found many women entering the workforce out of necessity; women reassured the caregiver position after the war, but, together with cultural shifts leading to the feminist movement and advances in birth control, their new-found sense of independence changed the traditional family structure. Some women opted to return to the care giver role. Others chose to pursue careers. When women chose to work outside of the home, alternative childcare became a necessity. If childcare options were too costly, unavailable, or undesirable, the stay-at-home dad became a viable option.

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