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Stay-at-home dads: More men choosing kids over career

Posted by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM
  • 47 Replies

I know there is a lot of talk of SAHM's here (obviously) but how many of you have husbands or significant others that stay home with the kids while you work?

Stay-at-home dads: More men choosing kids over career

By Jessica Dickler @CNNMoney April 30, 2012: 10:58 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Before Jessica and Lance Somerfeld had their baby, they decided it would make the most financial sense for one of them to stay home to raise him. Since Lance made a fraction of Jessica's earnings, he was the obvious choice.

With wages at a standstill and child care costs skyrocketing, Somerfeld is just one of a growing number of dads who are staying home with the kids.

Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32% took care of their kids at least one day a week in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which looked at families with children under 15 years old. That's up from 26% in 2002.

Of those with kids under the age of 5, 20% of dads in 2010 were the primary caretaker.

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."

But the decision they made wasn't strictly a financial one. "Too often, we hear that it's the economy that forces dads into these roles and that's certainly a part of it, but I would love to shatter that stereotype," Somerfeld said. "Being my son's primary caregiver is something I have truly cherished and embraced and never looked back."

Three years ago, Somerfeld started the NYC Dads group to connect with other fathers in a similar position. The group now has over 550 members.

"There are a lot of guys out there that had remote relationships with their own fathers and they don't want that with their kids," added Jeremy Adam Smith, a one-time stay-at-home dad and author of The Daddy Shift. "It's not just stay-at-home dads -- fathers in general are participating more in their children's lives."

Regardless of their employment status, nearly half of the men surveyed by Families and Work Institute said they take most or an equal share of child care responsibilities, up from 41% 20 years ago.

Just don't call them "Mr. Moms," said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute. "Like it's a female task, I've never understood that."

http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/30/pf/stay-at-home-dad/index.htm?hpt=hp_c1

by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM
2 moms liked this
I love that men see the benefit of being there for their kids.

My husband told me that if I asked him to stay home I would come home to both of my kids swinging from the ceiling fan by their belt loops.
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Peanutx3
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM
3 moms liked this

My husband had the best of both worlds.  He worked full time as a firefighter, he worked 48 hours straight and then off for 96 hours, and was a stay at home dad on his days off and I was at work.  He loved it.  He helped out at the kids school, went on field trips.  He did laundry sometimes and cleaned the kitchen occassionally while he wasn't working on project on the house.

mandaday
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM
2 moms liked this

When my husband and I met, I was a single mom who was finishing college. He had just hit 30, and had decided he was never getting married or having kids, so financial stability wasn't a huge priority for him. Obviously he had a change of heart regarding kids and marriage. But I was still the one with more earning potential. He's been a SAHD since early 2007, when I was pregnant with our second son.

mommaofemma
by Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:35 PM
1 mom liked this
I guess this is going to make.me seem like an ass. I am almost positive that some husbands including mine would love to be sahd for the mere reason of playing videogames all day and watching tv and then like an hr or so before we got home feed the kids and clean up and it would make him look like he worked all day to keep the kids happy and fed. Ugh lol
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ChancesMommy07
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM

My husband has said he could do it if it wasn't for the whole housekeeping part that comes with it. And I know for sure he wouldn't be good at shopping, he is an impulse shopper of the worst kind. He goes in for milk and comes back out with $100 worth of stuff and no milk! He is a fantastic hands on dad but he's not cut out for the rest,lol.

mandaday
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Sure, I bet there are some. But not most. Being a stay at home parent is just as much as job for a man as it is a woman.

Quoting mommaofemma:

I guess this is going to make.me seem like an ass. I am almost positive that some husbands including mine would love to be sahd for the mere reason of playing videogames all day and watching tv and then like an hr or so before we got home feed the kids and clean up and it would make him look like he worked all day to keep the kids happy and fed. Ugh lol


pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Our childcare fell through right as I returned to work after the twins were born.  We found a daycare we loved, but they had a 3 month waiting list.  So since I had exhausted my time off and family leave, DH decided to take his family leave, and be a SAHD for those 3 months.  He said he was the most rewarding time he's had!  I'm sure part of it was knowing that it would come to an end soon ... but he really enjoyed that bonding time with the kids.  DH and I are in a situation where we both make almost the same amount of money.  One of us not working would truly cut our family income in half, and neither of us are prepared to do that ... so we are happily both working.  But if we decided one of us would stay home ... I think we would have flipped a coin.  Both of us are equally capable, and both of us would be willing to do it. 

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:43 PM

 My husband was a SAHD for 9 months last year while he was unemployed.  He loved spending time with our little guy, but he was quite bored.  I don't see him wanting to be one permanently. 

rfurlongg
by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:54 PM
We have 3 neighbors that are stay at home dads. They seem to relish in their roles and seem quite successful in their chosen career paths.
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Tanya93
by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:56 PM
1 mom liked this

Good for them.   They are doing what is best for their family and social expectations be damned.


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