Women have typically been expected to be responsible for childcare and the household chores. The ratio of wife-to-husband childcare responsibilities in the US is approximately five-to-one. Couples who have agreed to equal childcare and housework sometimes hit stumbling blocks. Societal norms, schedule flexibility, and media projections may affect equality.
All things being equal is an ideal. Couples need to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. Negotiation should always be an option. Open communication is the number one factor needed in a marriage to arrive at a fair division of housework and the responsibility of childcare.
Women’s participation in the labor force is significantly higher today than it was in the 70’s. Prior to that time, women working outside the home or marriage were accepted for a limited number of occupations. Teaching, farm work, factory work, or domestic services were positions filled by women. Telecommuting was an unheard of concept.
Experience and higher education has increased the proportion of women holding professional jobs traditionally held by men. After the 2010 census, the United States Department of Labor reported 123 million women were 16 years of age or older. Of these women, 58.6 percent of them were participating in the labor force by working or seeking jobs.
Reasons for Dads to Stay at Home
There are so many single parent homes today. Often parenting and support are left to the mother of the household. A loss of respect for fatherhood, and perhaps manhood, is being lost. A father who chooses to stay home with the children, over a career, has a real opportunity to instill the values of fatherhood in the family. A family bond is developed and hands-on life experiences will occur naturally.
The Minnesota Department of Family and Children’s Services conducted a survey of 600 dads, asking what they considered their most important parenting role. Showing love and affection, safety and protection, moral guidance, play time, and teaching and encouragement were the top answers. Financial responsibility was last on the list.
The primary reason a person, whether it is the mom or dad, chooses to become a stay at home parent is the children. Parents who rely on daycare services often change caregivers frequently. The average time a child spends with a caregiver is four to five months. The practice of frequent changes can be emotionally devastating to children and have long-term negative effects. The ability to abide by rules and develop an approach to life that is optimistic is affected. Learning disabilities and relating to others can become problematic.
Benefits for Children
Feelings of happiness, security, and being cherished are nurtured when children have easy and quick access to parents. Children learn faster and better in a positive environment. They are better adjusted and behave better in social settings.
The eating schedule is monitored by a stay at home parent. There is more time for nutritious meals to be prepared. Immune systems are boosted when diligence to vitamins and supplements get the proper attention. If children do fall ill, recovery is likely to be faster with a parent at home.
Benefits for Mom
Besides advantages for the child and father, women realize some advantages when dad is the stay at home parent. Wives get to enjoy the opportunity of advancing in their professional career. If roles have been switched, she has a partner who will empathetic in his support of travel, last-minute assignments and late nights.
Stay at home parents have the flexibility to plan outings and activities. The pressure of work and deadlines does not interfere. There is no better gift that anyone can give to another than their time. Treasured times are those outings and activities that parents and kids enjoy together.
Children’s milestones are not missed by parents who stay home with kids. Children grow so fast. There is never an opportunity to retrieve a first that is missed. First steps and first words are witnessed first- hand. The media resources of today allow those firsts to be recorded and shared with the other spouse or family members. Telecommuting is possible. Conversations during the day are possible between parents so that the feeling of going it alone can vanish