August 12, 2012

Lots more men are the stay-at-home parent in marriages these days.

"But no one really talks about what that means for their identity as men."

In fact, the linked article, doesn't really talk about it!

52 comments:

campy said...

the linked article, doesn't really talk about it!

Given that it's the Times. that's a Good Thing.

Synova said...

The male stay-at-home parents I've known were homeschoolers and I don't think they EVER talked about what it meant to their identity as men. (My guess has always been that babies are a "Look at that! Fruit of my loins! AAARGGHHH! Cave Man!" sort of thing... and diaper avoidance is merely opportunism.)

What they did talk about was the stink-eye they'd get at Moms-and-Tots events.

campy said...

Anyone who needs to talk about his Identity As A Man doesn't have one.

(Speaking as one who was a stay-at-home dad from 1981 to ... well, I never did go back to work.)

edutcher said...

That may be evening out since the Man-Cession has gone equal opportunity.

A good man won't mind, although nurses seem to marry the ones who "like" being Mr Mom and let the wife work. Nurses are big into reclamation projects - at least on their first marriage.

Icepick said...

What they did talk about was the stink-eye they'd get at Moms-and-Tots events.

That's the truth. I take my daughter to the park and I get looked at like I'm a child molester by half the mothers there.

For the record, I have changed far more diapers than my wife. It's not a pleasant duty, but it's also not a big deal. I do not get what the fuss is about....

Anga2010 said...

Haven't you seen "Mr. Mom?" That pretty much sums it up.

Synova said...

What I figure about diapers is... if you can get out of it, who wouldn't?

They're gross, even if they didn't interrupt whatever you're in the middle of.

40 years ago my BFF's dad brought the baby to JCPenny so his wife could change the poopy at work.

20 years ago I explained to my husband that nothing about female chromosomes made poop less stinky. And he was a good sport, and I can't blame him for trying.

I think that by now we must be completely over the diaper thing, aren't we?

Chip Ahoy said...

I do not know about that. You see, I cannot talk about it. But that picture down there of the Big Horney National Forest just now blew me away all over the place again. I think that is your most awesome picture.

It's like that scene was happy to be photographed by you.

AllieOop said...

Arrrggg, there he goes again making nurse generalizations, as if they are all churned out of nursing school with a mind meld. Marry loser, marry loser, marry loser......

edutcher said...

One of us knows more nurses than the other, it would seem...

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

It's only relevant if it is about gay men...or maybe minority men. Other than that, it's about the woman.

AllieOop said...

Right edutcher, you married one, I worked in the field for 35 years. Yep you know more about nurses, mmmm hmmmm.

kentuckyliz said...

Nurses are hot and ready to party
Duke Tumatoe
http://duketumatoe.bandcamp.com/track/nurses-are-hot-and-ready-to-party

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

She's been a nurse for 43 and I hear all the stories. Then there's my sister, my sisters-in-law, etc.

As I said, I never heard anyone who was a nurse wish anyone ill.

Then there's Oop.

Icepick said...

What I figure about diapers is... if you can get out of it, who wouldn't?

I agree with that to an extent, but the scenarios you described are simple foolishness!

Also, sometimes I will change the diaper if I'm in a hurry, even if my wife would do it otherwise. I'm MUCH faster than she is, thanks to all the practice.

And to all the potential first time fathers out there. For the first few days after your child is born, change ALL the diapers. The poop (meconium) the first few days is a nasty substance similar to tar, but worse. The mother of your child has done all the hardest work, so do her a favor and clean that stuff up. Heck, don't even let her see that stuff! It is NASTY.

AllieOop said...

I wish people ill? You know a few nurses so that makes you know more about nurses than I? I know a few lawyers , so I know all about those who lawyers marry, right? Did you get all your superior knowledge by staying overnight at a Motel 6 ?

Eddy, it just keeps getting weirder and weider, hey do you still think I'm Shiloh, or Ritmo? How about Jay Retread, Harrowgate, shhhhh I'll tell you the truth, I'm Garage Mahal, in drag.

AllieOop said...

Wow, Icepick, what a great bit of advice!

virgil xenophon said...

George Guilder once wrote about the sociocultural aspects of differing sociatal standards/attitudes/views held regarding men and women about work by saying: "Women have three socially acceptable choices. They can work; they can stay-at-home; or they can work part-time and stay at home part time. Men have three (socially acceptable) choices also: They can work; they can work; and they can work." How does society regard men who permanently stay at home to tend roses, etc? Guilder further opined. Ans: "As Ne'er do-wells." A label which, needless to say, is NEVER applied to stay-at-home women.

campy said...

Did you get all your superior knowledge by staying overnight at a Motel 6 ?

That's Holiday Inn Express. Motel 6 is the one that leaves the light on for you.

edutcher said...

All the byplay is starting to sound like someone who doth protest too much.

A simple observation about some nurses and Oop goes off.

AllieOop said...

Edutcher you continue to make the same stupid generalization about nurses, I've heard it several times now, it's quite irritating, because you do not know what the hell you are talking about.

bagoh20 said...

The only men I have ever known who have ever done this even short term have only done it by force of being unemployed. Even then it was only for a short time and ended as soon as work was found. I never met anyone who decided to make this choice. I live in a huge progressive city, and I'm not a shut in. Is this really common?

AllieOop said...

And Edutcher, next time try saying, "some nurses", not simply "nurses". Nurses have a tough enough job, without being painted by you as dumbasses who marry losers.

Peter Hoh said...

Wonder what it was like the last time that the New York Times set out to write about the new phenomenon of dads who stay home? Check out this article from 12 years ago: At-Home Fathers Step Out to Find They Are Not Alone.

And there's a special treat in there for Edutcher and AllieOop.

Rich B said...

The number is 176k. Even with an expanded definition, 626k. Minuscule.

Icepick said...

The only men I have ever known who have ever done this even short term have only done it by force of being unemployed. Even then it was only for a short time and ended as soon as work was found. I never met anyone who decided to make this choice. I live in a huge progressive city, and I'm not a shut in. Is this really common?

You've nailed it. If I hadn't lost my job, my career, and any prospect of ever being employed again, I wouldn't be doing this. That said, it's a helluva lot of fun, which leavens the hard work immensely. I will probably feel differently when my daughter (now 2) gets older. But we're also planning on homeschooling (because the schools suck and between the two of us we can cover most topics better than any damned education major, not because of some religious conviction) so I'll probably be very involved for some time.

Peter Hoh said...

Bagoh20, I knew quite a few men who left their jobs to stay home. Yes, there were some for whom this was an easy choice. They were underemployed, or dissatisfied with their jobs. But there were others who left decent jobs -- teacher, pastor, carpenter -- because their wives were on a more lucrative career track.

In my experience, most of us stayed out of the full-time workforce a lot longer than we expected. I can't speak for everyone, but I think that was a choice for some. For others, a child's disability seemed to drive the decision.

Synova said...

I don't think it's a progressive thing Bagoh.

The stay at home dads I knew were religious.

Heck, maybe the men who decide to stay at home with babies don't talk about what it means to their manliness because the ones who have manliness issues would never do it.

bagoh20 said...

Personally, I would love to do it, and I couldn't care less if anybody thinks it's not manly. I also don't care if people think I'm stupid, racist, homophobic, greedy, uncouth, style challenged, old fashioned, or crazy. Just don't call me "sensitive" or I can lose my composure and break into tears.

edutcher said...

Oop wants to pick a fight, but I stand by what I said because it's a lot of nurses.

I know because I've made the same observation to The Blonde and she pretty much agrees.

As I say, Oop doth protest too much.

AllieOop said...

I worked with a nurse who used to be an attorney, he had just graduated nursing school after staying at home for many years with his young children, his wife was a doctor. Big burly, sensitive guy, made a great nurse.

bagoh20 said...

The couples I know don't do this mainly because the women won't have it. They want him out making money, and not at home. The job at home is the one they want for themselves. They love having the excuse of a child to get to stay home. I would too.

AllieOop said...

Bagoh, really? You don't think there is a biological drive to care for ones own children they gave birth to for females? Women have kids just so thy can stay home? You're not serious are you?

bagoh20 said...

With modern technology, I think I could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan, and still never forget I'm a man.

My house would be full of Rube Goldberg devices to make it possible. Has anyone ever tried raising young children in a chicken coupe. I think that eliminate half the problems.

I know what you ladies are thinking, but I'm sorry, no, I'm not looking for a wife, so just delete that email right now.

Peter Hoh said...

Edutcher -- I married a nurse. When kid number one came along, we did the tag team thing for a while, but when kid two was on the way, we made the switch to me staying at home.

EDH said...

These "creative class" types the NYT likes to profile all sound like trust-funders.

edutcher said...

Peter, you're a very fortunate man.

The Blonde's son died at 6 months (before I came along). The best I can say is that I helped her take care of her mom when she had Alzheimer's (I'd already taken care of mine with the same problem).

It's a tough job, but it does bring you closer.

bagoh20 said...

" You don't think there is a biological drive to care for ones own children they gave birth to for females?"

Absolutely, but I'm saying they also think it's the better job too from a working conditions standpoint, and I agree. I would have no problem letting my wife go make us some money, especially if she was well paid. I would take that home job in second.

I imagine being in the garage working on stuff with the kids tied to post nearby. I'm a catch, no doubt, but I'm not the only one.

DADvocate said...

I spent several years as a stay at home father. You don't get much respect. At least, you didn't 20 years ago.

Icepick said...

For the record, I never bothered thinking about my manliness*, not over taking care of the daughter-unit. Being LTUE was an ego-crusher, however. Even that had nothing to do with manliness, though, just the feeling that comes from having a 50 trillion dollar world economy tell you you aren't needed anymore.

* I remember a lesbian friend in college telling me I was aggressively hetero. I didn't know what the hell THAT meant either. (I was already married by the time I knew her, so it wasn't like I was hitting on her.) Do people really think about these things?

Peter said...

Wonder what it was like the last time that the New York Times set out to write about the new phenomenon of dads who stay home? Check out this article from 12 years ago: At-Home Fathers Step Out to Find They Are Not Alone.

It's a known fact that the bodybuilding magazines recycle the same articles with minimal cosmetic changes every few years. Doing so works in that publishing niche because there are only so many article topics ("Giant quads in 30 days!!") and also because the readership tends to be transitory ... and not always with the longest of attention spans.

It looks as if the Times is doing the same recycling with its thumbsuckers, albeit with somewhat longer cycles.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Nobody gives a damn about what happens to men.

The feminists are mad to discover a way to make babies without men. When the book, "The Dangerous Book for Boys" came out a couple of years ago, the feminists and usual folks clucked their tongues. When men are involved in a divorce...they are presumed no good.

I could go on...

alan markus said...

Ten years ago I walked away from a job that I had for 20 years to be a stay-at-home dad. Was in a relatively low paid salaried job, on call 24/7, at the office one or two evenings a week and the occasional Saturday or Sunday (besides the regular 40 hours). My wife was making more than I did, and you could set your watch to the time she pulled in the driveway every afternoon. So, when it came time for one of us to quit, it was an easy choice.

Didn't do the homeschooling thing though - wouldn't have the patience for it. I am quite the active volunteer at the schools - in this past year I had several weeks where I put in at least 10 hours, most other weeks at least 2-4. At times I have also been a "daddy daycare provider" to other kids & shuttled kids to and from school.

It is hard to answer when guys ask "what are you doing now?" I find myself kind of fumbling for an answer that doesn't take a lengthy explanation. Now I'm at the age where I have peers that have taken early retirement, so although I'm not drawing my pension or IRAs, I'm starting to say "semi-retired", although technically I should have a job (or be in the market) to say that.

About the time I became stay-at-home dad, my neighbor became a "stay-at-home" grandpa - their daughter became pregnant before she graduated high school and he quit his full-time job so that she could go to college. He has returned to his former employer on a part-time basis when there are night hours available, as he takes car of the grandchild before and after school when the mother is working.

Peter Hoh said...

I've been reading James Griffeon, the blogger/dad featured in the story, for a few years.

It may strike some of you as a tad twee, but here's a recent post in which he details the pirate treasure hunt he arranged for his kids and a couple of their friends.

Link

tim in vermont said...

"Anyone who needs to talk about his Identity As A Man doesn't have one"

campy says it all right there.

tim said...

I never envisioned myself as a stay at home dad but then I didn't really see myself as a Nuke on a submarine or working as a chemist or consulting for cities to fix their sewer systems or selling yachts. Being at home is far more gratifying and fun than any adventurous or wild things that I have done (and I was very wild right up to 40). I might be lucky because I have a lot of skills that people value and will pay for without me having an official job or business or maybe it turns out I did actually make good choices in accruing these skills but one thing is certain, I have not considered one second what raising my son means to my "male identity." I don't even know what the hell that is.

Raising a child is work, just like any other, it might be more fun and rewarding than any other but I feel it is more important than anything else and I damned sure don't want to outsource that work to low educated, little motivated day care workers and government school teachers. Not that I have anything against them, they are just not for me.

AllieOop said...

Such anti woman sentiment the last few weeks around here by the male of the species. Talk of women having an advantage because they can choose to either stay home or work, or talk of women having children only to secure a cushy job as a stay at home mom, or Even comments by one commenter saying boomer women are unhappy bitter bitches who don't love their children. Now Pogo being envious of abused women because there are such things as women's shelters, really Pogo, sre you serious?

I never knew there was such anti women sentiment, maybe it's just because I've been hanging around this blog and reading the deepest darkest feelings of resentment and envy of and for women, by conservatives men. I'm shocked, actually.

Do liberal men resent women in the same way, I wonder? Or do they resent women at all? Or is this more prevalent on the right?


AllieOop said...

Pogo's comment in latest Cafe thread, the one with the Black Sheep leather biker jacket pic.

MadisonMan said...

Dad subscribes, so I saw that article yesterday in print, and all I could think was: Needs a Men in Shorts tag.

ron st.amant said...

I was a stay-at-home Dad for five years (from '05 to '10). There was definitely something of a solitary feeling when I'd be out in the general 'child environment': parks, learning centres etc. I "think" that's a 2-fold reaction: the obvious difference of 1 male in an entirely female environment, but also the perception of men as predators- a sad commentary on our society. Oddly I found the institutional bias far less prevalent- they were ahead of the curve considerably, offering information to help the Dad-caregiver specifically. Where I found my biggest encouragement was from my online parenting friends- my social network really came through, perhaps because I have a large female social network I had more resources and a comfort level that others might not have. The only really difficult part for me was as I approached getting back into the job market- not only was it a difficult time because of the global financial crisis, but there was a stigma to having been 'unemployed' for 5 years- even though it was a choice and being a full-time parent is anything but being 'unemployed'. Eventually, my current position came BECAUSE I was a Stay-at-home Dad. The woman who interviewed me was impressed that I had left the workforce to become the full-time caregiver (it didn't hurt that when she called me for a phone interview I was doing dishes!) With all the difficulty I had to get back to work, and it was a steady 12 months of serious searching before I was finally hired somewhere, I would never exchange a second of the time I spent with my two daughters in their infant years- I'll never do anything as rewarding as that.

Crunchy Frog said...

Was a stay-at-home dad from late '94 to early '96. (Wife made more than me, so I quit.) After 6 months of no life other than that of "Gerry's dad" (and being in serious need of adult conversation) I went back to school in the evenings. Ended up parlaying that into a paid internship and it was back into the workforce for me after a year and a half.

Some observations: I got respect from basically nobody. My guy friends all evaporated, and I was looked at with horror if I wanted to be involved with any "mommy and baby" activities (which didn't really appeal to me anyways). The one saving grace was that my wife still treated me as her hero, even if I wasn't feeling very heroic at the time.