When moms have to work outside the home, someone has to take care of the kids. These days many fathers decide to take on that role instead of paying for professional child care. Stay at home dads have their hands full managing home and family and a lot of them are really enjoying their new roles.
Stay at Home Dads Have Their Hands Full
Not only has it become more necessary for men to pitch in at home, but fathers have also become more available to do so. “It’s a combination of mothers going to work and fathers being out of work as a result of the recession,” said Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau.
Men were particularly hard hit by the steep job losses during that time, losing 4 million jobs since 2007, while women lost just over 2 million during the same time period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While men have since gained back a majority of those jobs during the recovery, their unemployment rate — at 8.3% in March — is still above the national average of 8.2%.
Many find that having one parent at home does have its advantages, especially as child care costs continue to climb.
Couples do the math and realize that it makes more financial sense for one spouse to stay home with the kids. And while it’s often the woman who decides to drop out of the workforce, more men are taking on the responsibility of child care as well.
A lot of that has to do with who makes the most money in the household. Even though the wage gap between the sexes persist, a growing number of women are out-earning their husbands. In 2008, 26% of women living in dual-income households had annual earnings that were at least 10 percentage points higher than their spouse, up from 15% in 1997, according to the Families and Work Institute’s latest data.
As a New York City school teacher, Somerfeld said he made a fraction of his wife’s salary. “She was probably making 80% of our household income and I was 20%,” he said. Her career as a corporate actuary for an insurance company “was on a really good track and it made more sense for me to stay home.”
Are you a stay at home dad because it makes good financial sense for your family? As a woman who is a stay at mother I’d like to say that I admire you. Parents who stay home with the kids are often not valued as much as ones who work. I’ve never understood this lack of respect since parenting is the most important job a person can have. Stay at home dads have their hands full raising their kids and being a support for their spouse or partner who works outside the home.