My Husband Is a Stay at Home Dad

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Daddy and his girls

Last Sunday, our local newspaper, ran an article titled Dad Versus Dad. The article talked about stay at home dads.

According to the 2010 US Census Bureau, there are an estimated 105,000 stay at home dads in the United States. As economic conditions worsen, the numbers of stay at home dads are increasing.

However even though numbers are increasing, many stay at home dads are made to feel as though they are doing an injustice to their families.

My husband is a stay at home dad.  When he lost his job two years ago and we made the decision to homeschool our daughters we decided I would continue working and he would stay home with the girls. This made sense to us because I have a degree and a job that allows me to work less hours and make more money than he could make by working more hours. Our ultimate goal is for both of us to be with our daughters as much as possible.

Not everyone, especially our parents generation and older, understands or agrees with this lifestyle and they don’t hesitate letting us know their true feelings on the issue.  We have had people tell us that I should be the one at home and he should be the one working. If that set up works for your family, great, but who says that’s the way it should be? Just because that’s the way it’s always been doesn’t mean it’s the solution for every family in America.

There are four main questions I get asked when people find out my husband is a stay at home dad:

  1. “So, he stays home and plays with the kids and watches tv while you’re at work, right? I mean that’s what my husband would do.” If that’s what your husband  would do, I’m sorry. But no, that’s not what he does at all. Does a stay at home mom just play with the kids and watch tv all day? No. She cooks, cleans, runs errands, takes care of the children, does laundry and kisses boo boos. That’s what my husband does too.
  2. “But he doesn’t do it (cook, clean, laundry, etc) like you would do it. When my husband tries to help, I have to go behind him and redo it.” Truthfully, most household-related chores Andrew does better than me.  There are some things that we don’t do exactly alike. He has his methods and does it his way. I am just thankful he jumps in and does it.
  3. “Doesn’t it make you mad that you have to go to work and he gets to stay home with the kids?” I won’t lie. There are times I wish our circumstances were different. But right now, the best solution for our family is for me to provide an income and I’m just thankful that I am able to contribute to the needs of our family. Does it make me mad that he is at home while I’m at work? No. It makes me thankful that I have a husband who is willing to do what’s best for our family despite what others may think.
  4. This is the most frequently asked question: “He’s looking for a job, right?” No! He’s not. When the Sunday paper comes, he’s browsing the coupons and sales ads instead of the classifieds. This season of our life indicates a need for Andrew to be at home. He’s okay with that. I’m okay with that. Our family is thriving. Why make changes?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post in which my husband tells what it’s like to be a stay at home dad and how we make it work for our family.

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Heather Bowen

Heather is the founder and owner of Upside Down Homeschooling. She is a homeschooling mom of two little girls. Heather and her husband, Andrew- author and founder of Project Conversion, have been married for nine years. They reside in southeastern NC and have recently joined the Catholic Church. Heather is a nurse by trade, but left her nursing scrubs behind in October 2012, to become a full-time work at home mom. She is a professional blogger and speaker. You can also find her blogging at FrugalHomeschoolFamily.com. She and her husband will also be launching CatholicFamilyResources.com later this year.

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Comments

  1. says

    My situation is very similar to yours. My husband had to give up work 11 years ago, when our children were 4 and 7, and he has been a house husband ever since, whereas I continued working (in the health service).

    Now the children are older, he has turned his attention to volunteer working and growing fruit and vegetables for us – which we benefit from enormously.

    However, if I am REALLY honest with myself, I carry some regrets and even a bit of resentment. I never planned to carry the burden of being a breadwinner! I accept that this is how things worked out for us … but it never did so by choice.

    Good luck to you and your lovely family. x

    • Heather Bowen says

      Glo- I understand your sentiments. There are definitely days when I would rather stay home with my babies. I know one day, God will bring me home full-time, until that day, I will keep on this path He has led me to. :)

  2. says

    Love it. Some of the very best stay-at-home parents I know are fathers. It really doesn’t matter whether you are a man or woman and I find it so offensive when people suggest that it does. There is no such thing as “woman’s work” or “man’s work.” There is work, and we all hope to find what suits us as an individual and the needs of our family the best. Cheers to yours for finding a great fit; I’ve heard you talk about (well, read you write about) how much you enjoy your job in L&D. Your family is very blessed!

    • Heather Bowen says

      Jessica- I agree it doesn’t matter if it’s done by a mother or a father, what matters is the fact that it’s done with love.

  3. says

    The hubs and I have already discussed if in the future it is better for our family for him to be part-time or full-time stay at home dad, we will do it. Its a sacrifice we, as parents, are willing to make to homeschool our child. My husband already can’t understand the dads that don’t want to spend free time with their kids, he has the mind set in place I guess. :-) Plus, he is already involved in helping to educate our daughter….. :-)

    It might not be the perfect solution, it might be a solution telling of the times we are in, but it is a good solution, KWIM? The important thing is the kiddos being loved and cared for; who does that caring and who works doesn’t matter.

    In my experience though, dads might have a hard time fitting in with the play groups and homeschool groups which really cater to moms. While they may not tell a dad he can’t come, he might not be made welcome or feel comfortable as the only male over 12. Hopefully this will change for dads.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Kim- Good for you guys for having already discussed the possibilities of your husband staying home. We never really had a discussion about it. We just moved into it as circumstances dictated. Surprisingly, things have gone very smoothly.

      I don’t think there is a “perfect” solultion. Actually, yes there is. The perfect solution is Jesus returning! :) But until that day, we have to do what works for our families.

      You are exactly right. Many times dads are made to feel uncomfortable in situations that are primarily women-based. Luckily, my husband doesn’t seem to notice, or if he does, maybe he just doesn’t care? LOL.

      As always, thanks for reading and commenting my friend! :)

  4. says

    Great answers to the common questions about at-home dads! I hope more people read your post because maybe they’ll realize how stupid they are instead of how wrong they think you are.

    I’ve been an at-home dad for nearly 10 years and I’ve heard it all. I’ve even had moms pack up their kids and leave the park when I and a few of my dad friends arrived with our kids. Crazy.

    It’s awesome that you are doing what is best for your family and not let others try to tell you differently.

    If your husband is interested, there is a national organization for at-home dads called “The National At-Home Dad Network” which puts on an annual convention for at-home dads every year. This October it will be in Washington DC and next year it will be in Denver. Have him visit http://www.athomedadconvention.com for more details. And, if he’s interested in joining a local group of at-home dads, he can find one on http://www.daddyshome.org.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Hi Al! Thank you for commenting! The numbers of stay at home dads are on the rise, maybe soon the stigma associated with being a stay at home dad will soon phase out. I’m so sorry you have basically been discriminated against for being a stay at home dad, but good for you for not letting it sway what you know is right for your family. I will pass along the info you’ve given me to my husband. I’m sure he will be interested. Check out the my blog tomorrow, he will be guest posting. :)

  5. says

    My hubby is a stay-at-home dad as well! He was injured at work 3 years ago, and I have a part-time ministry position. We made the decision to home school for the sake of our whole family and we have LOVED it. We get a ton of those same questions, but as of right now, my hubby is not planning on returning to work because of his back injury.

  6. says

    Wow, my husband stayed home with our kids for 5 years. Now he did work as a Realtor and had a part time job he worked 2 overnights a week, but he was home with the kiddies. He was rather lonely at that time since there were no other guys doing what he was doing and the women teased him a bit. However it worked out well for our family.
    http://www.thehomeschoollounge.com/

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