The term “stay at home Dad” still has some stigma around it. I bet your ears perked up. It’s still uncommon with only four percent of stay at home parents being men. Now, that’s an official number but actual stay at home dad’s say that number is much higher.
Stay at home dad’s talk a lot about how they seem to be a novelty. People in grocery stores stop and stare at a man with a baby strapped to him grocery shopping during the day. Thinking it’s probably his day off—not his daily routine. People smile and point at the dad at the park but pay no mind to the mom’s around him. That’s the mom’s role, right?
The story of one stay at home dad in particular is all too common. They didn’t start out this way—dad lost his job and to save money on childcare he stayed home. That’s when they noticed that their son was less tense, happier, listened better, less fighting and yelling in the home—clearly this was a winning formula. This particular stay at home dad also said he was stopped one day while walking with his boys. A car pulled up and rolled down it’s window to reveal a college kid. He smiled and said, “You know, I wish my dad played with me as much as you play with your kids.”
Dad’s always seem to be this untouchable, authoritative figure. “Wait till your father hears about this!” That phrase strikes fear in the hearts of millions. Dad is the disciplinary—the worker, the guy that gets the big piece of chicken—he doesn’t make the chicken…until now
Kids benefit from having a parent home. This we know. I wonder if it makes a difference that the one that’s home is the one that is the rough and tumble one? They think, you can always pull one over on mom—just bat your eyes at her and she’ll swoon on your charms. I remember my nephew throwing a fit over some snack he wanted that my mother had refused him. You would’ve thought that this kid was being tortured at Gitmo the way he screamed. She gave in and as he walked past me he very calmly stated “works every time”.
My nephew doesn’t pull that stunt with me—mainly because I’m one of the father figures in his world. He grew up with my parents and me. My dad and I are the only masculine figures my nephew knows. Whenever he draws his family I am the only girl in pants and I always stand with my dad while his mother and my mother are in pinks and oranges in pretty dresses to the left. My dad and I are in blues and greens to the right. That’s fine, I’m more of a guy’s girl anyway—but it got me thinking—how different my nephew would behave if I was his stay at home parent.
The four percent figure I stated earlier is double what it was a decade ago. This trend is growing and all I can say is: “GROW BABY GROW!” We need more dad’s at home. We need more families to see that it doesn’t matter who “brings home the bacon”. People are people and families are families no matter the dynamic.