Stay at Home Dad: Guest Post From My Husband

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This week’s What Works Wednesday post is written by my husband.

My name is Andrew Bowen, and I’m a stay-at-home dad.

Eric Hoffer once said that “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.”

Heather launched the Upside Down Homeschooling blog because little of our family dynamic fits within traditional norms. This includes my role as a stay-at-home dad.

My wife invited me to offer my point of view on what it means to be a stay-at-home dad and so, because I am a storyteller by trade, let me start at the beginning of what made us the mold-breaking family we are today.

Once Upon a Time…

When Heather and I attended college at East Carolina University, we both took a class called “Intro to Marriage”, although we did not take the class together. She joined the class with her roommate, ostensibly (and seasoned liberally with jest) in hopes of meeting their future husbands. I was going for an easy A.

One day my class broached the topic of roles in marriage and how they corresponded with gender. The instructor prompted the class to write down various chores and responsibilities common in most households and asked us to assign either their future husband or wife to each. The answers were typical. Wife does most of the housework and child care while husband brings home the bacon and handles home repairs.

I refused to complete the assignment.

“Mr. Bowen,” the instructor said with my blank paper in hand. “Why didn’t you complete the assignment?”

“Because the premise is faulty,” I said. “Why should we equate tasks with gender? If there’s a dirty diaper nearby, a sink full of dishes, or the oil in the car needs to be changed, why should what hangs between your legs or the lack thereof qualify whom the task belongs to?”

Heather in fact met her future husband via another student in her marriage class. And I walked away with the first F of my college career.

Making Our Family, Our Way

The girls and me observing Pesach (Passover)

As homeschooling parents, you’re already breaking conventions and declaring independence for your family. You also understand the social pressure of such lifestyles. We’ve heard the insults and dealt with the stereotypes, but what happens when the subject of stereotypes transforms into the propagator of one?

Heather tossed around some interesting numbers and sentiments in her last post regarding stay-at-home dads. Interestingly enough, it’s usually the folks who fight against homeschool stereotypes that in turn propagate negative views and stereotypes against the growing population of stay-at-home dads.

“Dad goes to work, Mom stays home and takes care of children and housework.”

Of course, popular media doesn’t help. Give me a movie, television show, or commercial with a stay-at-home dad or at least one temporarily assigned “Mom’s” duties, and I’ll give you a mindless drone, cast as the standard, clueless male for everyone’s comic relief.

Convention tells us that males are messy, would rather spend their time playing video games or watching sports, and we have no clue about teaching/raising children.

Like I said earlier, my family has a knack for breaking convention.

In our home, I take care of all the housework. Dishes (washing dishes is actually one of my favorite meditations), laundry, cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, etc., mopping floors–often on my hands and knees–, mowing the lawn, coaching soccer, cooking meals, vehicle maintenance, all the domestic territories once held by America’s standard mom, I not only take care of, but relish.

Bringing it Home

Speaking at an interfaith event in Iowa

What many folks don’t realize is that many stay-at-dads are also work-from-home dads. We homeschool families ask why our kids need to be educated away from home, so why can’t we (Mom and Dad) work from home? Isn’t the whole idea behind the homeschool movement to spend more time with our families? I’m a blogger and authorwho writes about interfaith/religion issues, and so while I’m helping care for my family, I’m also building a career. Dads want to be around Mom and the kids too, and I (along with thousands others) feel the same way.

So, what does a typical stay-at-home dad look and act like? That’s about as silly as asking what a typical homeschool family looks like. We live in a place where we are free, free to go against convention and teach our children in our homes. Sure, you could use your freedom and imitate every other family, but around here we do things like we always have, Upside Down, and there’s no place like your home.

What works for your family?


1. Living a Legacy

2. Stay at Home Dad

3. Dare to be Different-Cook Family Chronicles

4. Have your kiddos loving Veggies!

5. 10 Ways to Save at a Restaurant!

6. Garden Tenders: Tending to me

7. Indoor Fun when its HOT outside!

8. What If?

9. Homeschooling: The Big Picture
This linky list is now closed.

 

 

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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.

Comments

  1. says

    My favorite line: “As homeschooling parents, you’re already breaking conventions and declaring independence for your family. You also understand the social pressure of such lifestyles. We’ve heard the insults and dealt with the stereotypes, but what happens when the subject of stereotypes transforms into the propagator of one?”

    The most important life lesson of my adulthood has been that there is NO single right way in any case for any one. Each family needs to forge their own path and refrain from judging those whose path takes a different course. This came from realizing that we did not fit into the mold of what is expected and I was harshly judging US.

    We are a non-traditional family with a traditional facade at our house. We run a family farm and homeschool. My husband does the bulk of the farming work, I manage the records and money, we make decisions together and are all-for-one. I homeschool the children and obsess over what we eat. I’m not sure who takes care of the yard and it shows. Thanks goodness we live in the country.

    • Heather Bowen says

      Thank you Jessica! You’re right, many times we as homeschoolers are judging ourselves. It all comes back to the evil comparison trap. As long as our systems work for us and are glorifying God, who cares what anyone else thinks. :)

  2. says

    Andrew, you are so right! I’ve been an at-home dad for nearly 10 years and I’ve had many of the same experiences. I couldn’t do the homeschooling thing though… that is a skill I would fail at!

    I do know a lot of at-home dads who do homeschool, though. I’ve met many at our annual conventions. I hope you’ll consider coming this year to the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention on Oct. 6 in Washington DC. You can find details at http://www.athomedadconvention.com.

    If you’re interested in leading a session on homeschooling at our convention, let us know (convention@daddyshome.org). I know there will be several dads who homeschool at our convention and many more who are considering it for their kids. It’d be a good session for us!

  3. Brett Daniels says

    This is great! I’m a stay at home/work from home dad and I’m really glad that you put in to perspective that a lot of us do work from home. It seems like there is a new revolution of what being a stay at home parent is or means, but there’s still that stigma of “if you’re a stay at home mom, you watch soap operas all day”, or “if you’re a stay at home dad, your wife is more successful than you are.” Family is about teamwork, no matter what the roles are. I just read a great book you might like called “The Barefoot Executive” by Carrie Wilkerson. You can get it right off of the author’s website, barefootexecutivebook.com. I highly recommend it to who’s a stay at home/work from home parent. Again, great post!

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