It isn’t new but society has created a new breed of man. He’s called, “Stay-at-home-Dad.” Many factors led to the creation of this phenomenon. But like everything, it has a starting point. Let’s examine what many consider to be the beginning in our culture.
Historically the father was the main breadwinner of the family and the mother served as primary caregiver. When the United States entered World War II, men were drafted into military service or volunteered. With the men off to war, many needed positions were unfilled such as depicted on the TV series, “Bomb Girls.” Therefore women entered the workforce out of necessity. Unlike men, women were now faced with the unenviable dual task of becoming breadwinner and caregiver. No catch phrase, but women were truly doing it on their own.
Needless to say, the strength of character of any woman that lived during those times was surely tested on a daily basis. With that newfound courage and ability to perform both tasks, it created a new sense of independence in women.
By the end of the war, the traditional family structure had changed. Cultural shifts began to take shape and the feminist movement began to grow stronger in appeal.
However women weren’t attempting to take the place of any man. They merely wanted to share in the opportunities that existed. Furthermore many men returned from war unable to gain employment or disabled—mentally or physically. In many cases women were left without a choice, they had to continue to support their family.
With women working outside of the home, alternative childcare became an issue. If the options that existed were too expensive, unavailable or undesirable, the stay-at-home dad became a viable option.
In the late 20th century the number of men performing this task has gradually increased, especially in developed Western nations. Those that choose to perform this role aren’t always given a pat on the back. It has become more socially acceptable during the 2000s. Even with the many changes in society there are some regions of the world where the practice remains culturally unacceptable.
It’s been reported that in today’s times the decline of white-collar jobs, commonly held by men and other economic reasons are the main factors for a family when they decide the father should take on the role of primary caregiver.
Not all stay-at-home dads are unemployed. Many of them work from home which allows them to provide for their families financially while serving as caregiver.
Not to mention the fact many women have progressed into higher paying jobs as they pursue their own career goals and aspirations.
Having to choose between being an at-home mom or a working mom is an issue millions of women have dealt with over the past 70 plus years. It is not an easy choice! Nor is it one that should be made or taken lightly.
A line from a song goes, “It takes two to make a thing go right.” That’s very apt with this issue. The final decision on whether a father should stay at home and be the primary caregiver is entirely up to the parties involved.
My grandmother once said to a nosey neighbor, “When you put food on my table, clothes on my children’s back and a roof over our heads, then you can have a say in my life. Until then…”