Did you notice more of your friends breaking out of the gender norms, with their husbands choosing to be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) while mum becomes a career woman?
SAHD is an increasing trend in our society and on many levels, it is a good thing for everyone in the family. Let’s explore this trend and how it can help in our parenting and family!
More Dads Stay at Home
There are many reasons for the rise in stay-at-home dads, the common ones are:
1. Financial Decision
Some couples take the decision for dads to stay home as it may make more financial sense for their situation, considering (i) wives are earning higher income given better job opportunities, (ii) husbands’ jobs may be displaced given the rapidly changing job structure or (iii) quality childcare and full-day preschool is getting more expensive.
Some studies show that the age of stay-at-home dads is older and thus the decision to be SAHD may be due to health or dads wanting to slow down in their career.
3. Increased Dad Parenting
As men take an increasing role in parenting, some may enjoy it and want to spend more time doing so. Dads can bond equally well with children and some dads may weigh the adequacy of finances, ability to remain employable should he decide to return to work or to work part-time and decide that it is the right stage in life to enjoy more time with his children.
How Children Benefit from SAHDs
Fathers play an important role in the emotional health of children, with numerous studies linking increased dads’ involvement with a more emotionally stable child. This is reflected in lower rate of teen violence, delinquency and higher emotional intelligence with increased fathers’ involvement. Children see their dads as role model and the increased time spent with dads lead to a lifelong friendship. Some studies pointed to higher scores in cognitive tests and higher education levels of children when their fathers are involved in parenting. As working mothers tend to stay involved in parenting, children actually get more time with both parents.
How Marriage Benefit from SAHDs
Not all marriages turn out better with SAHDs, just as there is no guarantee that stay-at-home moms will improve marriage. Physically, studies have linked that SAHDs’ health improved – it may be due to healthier lifestyle being with the child. Apparently, men’s emotional health also improve with staying at home as SAHDs are associated with lower reported depression. However, boredom and isolation are also faced by SAHDs.
There are other issues such as difficulties to balance housework, career/ambition and children, for instance are SAHDs expected to do all the house work? The other major potential issue is finances – where men may not be used to asking for money to run the household. The other area of struggle is when the SAHD is also concentrating on a career change, to one that is home-based and thus, fall below what the wife expects to be done while she’s in the office.
On the other hand, having one parent stay at home with the child means that it will eliminate the stress and worry of leaving the child with someone you don’t trust.
Most importantly, in deciding whether to have a stay-at-home parent, or any major decision in marriage, both spouses must discuss and agree instead of going in with different expectations.
Are you a stay-at-home parent, what’s your experience? Share it with us.