The Stay-At-Home Stigma

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 26 2012 @ 5:08pm

Male homemakers face it most of all:

Screen shot 2012-04-25 at 7.48.27 PMAlong with the assumption of male domestic ineptitude, [stay-at-home dads (SAHDs)] deal with the persistent equation of masculinity with income and career achievement. Stay-at-home dad Christopher admits, "You hear from a wide variety of sources that it’s a man’s duty to provide for his family, and it stings when I hear it. I get teased in my own family about it sometimes." But, he adds, "When I’m with my daughter and watching her grow up and not missing it, it’s then that I really don’t give a flip what anyone might think of me."

And Russ, a Minnesota stay-at-home father of two young daughters, thinks that "When you overlay the gender role a man is supposed to have in our society with the notion of being a stay-at-home parent, there’s a lot that’s very hard for people to understand." He says that one of the first misconceptions is that a man at home is a man who has it easy. "It’s really hard," he says. "It’s really, really hard to be a man in a traditional women’s role. Nurturing children is an extremely difficult job. I have guys say to me, ‘How did you get this gig?’ My response is that if more men stayed home with their children, they’d be getting their wives a lot less pregnant."

The above cartoon is from the cleverly titled "The Stay At Homer," a blog recently recommended by a Dish reader. A sample:

[My son] Noble has taken an interest in science.  This is great because there are a vast array of science questions that I, myself, need answered.  Questions that would have me put in the category of "total moron" if I were to express my ignorance in public.  For instance, what is density? What fool doesn’t know that? I didn’t. Or what the hell is an amp or an ohm?  Or how do you trap a quantum particle in a box?  You know, questions that anyone using a measly 11% of their brain could tell you.

But I am picking it all up now.  I can use my 5 year old to get the answers I need!  I disguise it as a “science experiment” and little does he know that I’m not just explaining something that his amazingly smart dad already knows, but I’m actually learning it as well!