Attitudes Toward Stay at Home Dads

So in an article on the Time Magazine website, called “When Stay-at-Home Husbands Are Embarrassing to Their Wives” a writer decides that maybe society isn’t ready for stay at home dads who raise the kids while their wives work. (I won’t link to it, because that is really the only reason they published this piece, but you can Google it if you care enough.) I always find it funny when someone thinks that “society” is represented by the folks between certain numbered streets in Manhattan, but even if we allow for that, the article is still blindingly stupid.

The premise is based upon the fact that some women who are partners at Wall Street firms are embarrassed because their husbands stay at home to raise their children while the wife, presumably, works way more than 40 hours per week.

I don’t even know where to begin.

So essentially, what these women are saying, or more likely, what this writer is putting in their mouths, is that it is better to have a nanny raising your kids while you both work 40 hours (actually at least 60, otherwise you probably don’t have a “real” job) than to have their own father do it. If this makes sense to you, then I am very sorry for you and your children.

The world is full of choices. I try not to judge others for the choices they make, but this attitude toward the concept of a stay at home dad is offensive for so many reasons. First, of course, is the idea that it is perfectly fine for the little woman to stay at home and do the same thing without any embarrassment. Take your sexist pick for why that is OK, but the reverse is not. Second, is the idea that virtually anything else is more important and respectable than raising your children.

Make no mistake, that is exactly what this article says. Taking care of your children is a second rate job, the kind of thing a bum would do. A successful person would never choose to do such a thing. Of course, I doubt either the author, or any of the people she supposedly talked to feel that way at all. This kind of deliberately jerkish article is always a pitiful cry for pageviews. “I know the internet is really big, but we really need more pageviews to generate more advertising dollars, and what we just published is super outrageous. Come see!”

For your powerful Wall Street types, or for those of you who just really care about what society thinks about your choices, let me explain what me and my wife value. We work our jobs to earn money so that we can enjoy our life with our family. We don’t work for our self worth, we already have that. I stayed at home with my kids before they started going to school. I felt guilty about it every single day, not because I was ashamed of what I did, but because my wife couldn’t do it too. If for any moment you think your life would be better if someone you hired watched your kids while you worked in an office, please go ahead and set that up. Maybe your kids will get better care from someone who can see the value in spending time with them, even if it is just for a paycheck.

 

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