Same Issues as Stay-at-Home Moms
Hawley raises an interesting viewpoint, because many of the self-worth and identity issues SAHDs grapple with are comparable to those women face when deciding to become stay-at-home moms. Comments such as, "When are you going to go back to work?" are frequently addressed to both moms and dads, (not-so-subtly!) implying that staying home to raise a child isn't really work.
Today both genders often work before a baby's arrival, and this struggle applies to whomever gets to stay home; however, as more men embrace the SAHD role, they find that people's reactions compound those feelings by pitting them against social norms.
Hawley says, "When I first started staying home, I'd get comments like 'How's work going?' to which I'd respond, 'I don't work anymore. I'm a stay-at-home-dad.' Then the inevitable, 'Oh, really?' would follow. Instead of saying, 'Yup' (I mean, who cares!) I'd launch into these explanations that weren't really necessary. But me trying to explain 'why' meant I wasn't comfortable with it. Maybe I was just worrying about people's reaction. Now I see that a lot of it is the silence and the need some people have to fill that silence with the sound of their own voice."