Why Become a Stay-at-Home Dad?
Less than a short generation ago, one would have assumed those hands to be female, mothering hands caring for their young and doing the zillion tasks that go into running a home and raising a family. Today, that assumption is not necessarily true.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 2.5 million fathers in the United States alone who are raising their children full-time, and those numbers are steadily growing as women climb higher on the corporate ladder. The latest figures show a three-percent jump over the last six years in the number of preschoolers (living with both parents) cared for by a stay-at-home dad.
So what's the big deal? People do what they have to do to make a living and take care of their children, right?
Well, not quite. A couple's childcare decisions affect their lifestyle and their children's well-being. Both parents need to feel comfortable with their choices or risk being catapulted into struggles with self-worth and social isolation issues.
There are a number of reasons why fathers become stay-at-home dads, ranging from economic reasons when the wife earns more money, to choosing who should be the one to sacrifice a career when having an at-home parent becomes a priority.
Patrick Hawley is a 33-year-old network administrator who quit his job to take care of his first child, Tallulah. His wife, Marcy, is art director for a national magazine. "When Lulu was born," Hawley says, "the plan was for my wife to work from home and watch her. It didn't work out that way; she had to go back to work. I enjoyed my work, but I knew I wouldn't miss my job as much as she'd miss hers; she loved it. We wanted one of us to be with Lulu, so for us that was the ultimate solution."