Stay at Home Fathers
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Traditionally families were defined by their faithfulness and conventional sex roles. The roles of men and women were structured according to the traditional family roles. It was believed that the father’s role was to work in the office the whole day as the mother stays at home to attend to house hold chores. For many years traditional marriage was the cornerstone of almost all societies, an important institution for the passing on of values and taking care of children. That was then, the present is experiencing changing roles, and fathers opt for staying at home as mothers pursue their careers. Introduction
The stereotype that men work better than women is out-dated and the good thing about it is that, it is now laughed at than believed. Recent research shows that stay-at-home dads are more popular than it has ever been imagined; they now have their own groups, websites and how-to books. But the question remains, are they being acknowledged in the same as way as wives were? A stay-at-home dad is simply a married man who chooses to either not to hold a career and assume all responsibilities at home such as cleaning, cooking, paying bills, child care, and other home duties in the absence of his working wife. It can also be who holds a career but decides to have a second shift where by he comes home and assumes household responsibilities. In fact they should not be called stay at home dads or house husbands, but people who are just carrying out their parenting roles. Thesis statement
This is an argumentative aiming at proving that stay at home dad is becoming normal practice and as such it is reversing what has been considered a stereotype that dads have to go out and work while mums remain at home to take care of children. To accomplish this task the following thesis statement is adopted: stay at home dads are effectively reversing stereotypes. A sentence outline on how this will be achieved is as follows; the general trend of statistics is examined and the views of the society in reference to stay at home dads explored; in a brief way the paper examines what it takes to be a stay at home dad and goes on to describe the common excuses which are forward against stay at home dads; the essay then gives details of the challenges that stay at home dad encounter and finally the conclusion is drawn making it clear the practice of stay at home dads is really reversing the traditional stereotype beliefs that men can not perform better at home and that they are limited to work outside the home setting and provide for their families. The essay argues by basing it opinions on credible literature. The Trend
Comparisons between mothers and fathers are very much flawed, if we define fatherhood through a split of labor where men do strength based work, then it will be wrong to compare mothering to fathering. Another misconception that needs to be corrected is that parenting is about work. This prompts us to ask the questions: What will be wrong if we treat parenting not as work, but as a relational construct? What does a father do? And how does society value them? By taking parenting to be a relational construction in the family context of mutual selves, the stereotypes of the stay at home father can be used to construct him as an agent who is actively involved in relational parenting. It is shown that 15% of married men in the US decided to become house husbands at the end of 1987. According to the US Census Bureau statistics, there were about 143,000 full time dads staying at home in 2006 (McKay 4). This is an increase from the 2003 statistics that showed that there were 98,000 stay at home dads in the US. But still this is disputed by the dads who claim that this is an estimate based on results of too-restrictive criteria, saying that the number is about 2 million. Many will not see this as a tremendous leap, but it should be wise to consider the growth in the standards of living over the years and also many people still see women as the sole care takers of the home and therefore it seems unacceptable and odd for a man to assume this job. What involves staying at
The decision for one to become a stay-at-home dad may encompass a lot than what meets the eye. A father considering remaining at home may look at many factors including his earning power as compared to that of the spouse. Work attire, commuting costs, daycare costs and other working expenses. A slight repetitive flaw is rooted along with the idea of house husbands (McKay 4).
Regardless of whether the decision of men to become primary care givers is by choice or by force, the fact is that these men take on the care giver role and perform it with a sense of commitment to the well being and health of their families. However, the sad thing is that as they go about their duties, they are met with quizzical looks and criticized for taking on the role of fathers who are responsible and take good care of their children and keep their families home running smoothly. This does not mean that all stay at home parents including mothers are ideal parents, it only suggests that men also can be effective as women in taking care of their families despite the way the society views what is normal and acceptable gender role performance. According to Frank, in his book, The Involved Father, he argues that fathers are just doing what mothers have been doing all along and that is domestic house work. The only difference is that in the present day, mothers take up their duties in the evenings and many still hold on to their traditional duties like mowing and taking the driver’s seat during family outings (Kinnon 92).
It is therefore right to say that the duties of a stay at home dad are less demanding as those of a stay at home mom. Statistically women make less as compared to their male counterparts even if they are in the same job or profession. This therefore calls for the men who would like to stay at home dads to consider security and be more positive about. Excuses given against stay home dads
There are many reasons and stereotypes that are given on why men are not seen as better house care takers: That women are more nurturing to the kids and naturally clean than men. This is not true; men can be equally clean and
also nurturing. I know that many people will tell you that they don’t like cleaning but it is something necessary and therefore many can just do it suitably like women. The term Mr. Mom hurts many modern day fathers who are very much capable and interested in caring for their children. The notion that men can not love or nurture children just like women is subject to debate, they might lack know-how or the drive, but surely, the kind of love they have for them is unending.
According to Dr. Frank, stay at home dads add a lot of nurturing to their view of fatherhood as the wives brings in financial support to their concept of motherhood. Another reason is that men who decide to remain at home and look after children seem not to receive the same level of support from family, peers, and friends as house wives do. The main care giver as expected by society should be a woman, and therefore many stay at home dads can be extremely lonely, they become guilty of underachieving in their duties (Osborn 69). Challenges for stay at home dads Many men who opt for staying at home think that being a house husband is simple. Many of them are disappointed when they encounter multi-tasking responsibilities that they have never met even at their work place. They don’t recognize that the work that women do as being hard or deserving praise or thanks. But research has shown that house husbands greatly benefit their homes.
Staying at home does not mean he is not working, she works, he works, and the only difference is that he does not get a paycheck. The work that house husbands put into raising kids and maintaining a home is equal to that the women do at their work place, in fact they should not be called house husbands or stay at home dads but full time fathers. They also have daily tasks, schedule routines and daily surprises just any other job. These factors have contributed to a reduction in stigma, polls show that fathers are taken paternity leaves, for those who are working, to look after new born. The mentality that stay-at-home dads are less masculine is unfounded. There are many masculine jobs that men can do in the house. They can teach kids the basics of the sports they enjoy and also get them help in picking up or work on their bulging biceps as they scrub clean the tub (Balter 234; Doucet 14). Why the practice should be encouraged
There is no doubt many men feel a completeness over them being a stay at home dad. They are generally a great help to the family in that the children bond with their parents equally. Usually kids go to their mothers 80% of the time and only 20% to their fathers, but in a stay at home dad family this is a 50-50 percentage. This becomes advantageous to the child to have a significant attachment to both parents. And to the wives it gives them time to focus on their jobs; therefore as they take care of kids, men are also taking care of their wives. Children do not make an issue with gender the way adults do, they are happy to at least have one parent at home to look after them. They grow up knowing that dads can also be as loving as mothers without losing their masculinity and that is alright to see their moms go to work and dads stay at home to look after them.
According to Dr. Green, more men in America are becoming house husbands than ever before, they are breaking from the stereotype that it is wrong for wives to be sole providers of the family. As Dr. Frank puts it, families with stay at home dads are people whose main concern is to bring up their children well, they are willing to forego many things to see that their children and families are fine. Having a shared goal to take them a long, wives and husbands in stay at home dad families improve in their roles as moms and dads in ways they never thought of and end up deepening and strengthening their marital relationship (Polinski 4).
It is worth to note that we are in the post modernity and as such stereotypes such as fathers should not be confined to the homesteads ought to be done away with. The current society ought to take affirmative actions towards addressing the girl child who has been sidelined for a long in history and by encouraging dads to actively participate in taking care of homes the moms have a chance of proceeding with their careers. Conclusion
There is no doubt that change in the world does not occur overnight and therefore change in parental roles will not occur just at ones but it is happening although slowly. One group through which these dominant discourses are being redefined is the stay at home dads. It is important for parents to invest time in the ordinary aspects of their kid’s lives, and having two parents who are both involved shows equity among gender. What is important though is that men and women should given the freedom to decide how they will structure their families and should not be judged basing on who is providing financially for the family. It has been confirmed that a father’s love on a child’s development is as great as the mother’s. Moreover the father’s love helps a child develop a sense of his or her place in this world and this in their social, cognitive and emotional development and functioning. Also kids who get more love from their fathers have few chances of struggling with substance abuse or behavioral problems. Therefore it should be appreciated that stay at home dads is a practice which is mutually beneficial to the whole family and as such should be encouraged by the society instead of scorning at it and discouraging those who are already into it.
Balter, Lawrence. “Parenthood in America: an encyclopedia. N-Z, Volume 2.” New York, NY: ABC-CLIOISBN, 2006. Print. Boulding, Elise. “Cultures of peace: the hidden side of history”. Syracuse: Syracuse University. Print. Doucet, Andrea. “Do men mother? Fathering, care, and domestic responsibility.” Toronto: University of Toronto, 2006. Print. Kinnon, B. “Stay-at-home dad turns the tables on tradition,” Ebony Magazine, 58.10(2003); 90-100. McKay, Rick. “Stay-at-home Dads” retrieved from: http://careerplanning.about.com/cs/altoptgenl/a/stay_home_dads.htm, 2010, Osborn, Kevin. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fatherhood” New York, NY: Alpha Books, 1999, Print. Polinski Michael. “Stay-at-home Dad Families” retrieved from: http://www.babiestoday.com/articles/family-life/stay-at-home-dad-families-2872/4/.