The rising trend of the stay-at-home dad
As the world becomes more connected and we become aware of the different kinds of lives people lead in various parts of the globe, it is interesting to note how the role of parents can vary from place to place, with many families looking to break from tradition.
Changes in the way we expect parental tasks to be addressed mean that the tasks traditionally assigned to men and women are no longer necessarily valid, with many men now opting to stay at home and raise their kids.
There are many reasons why this may be the case, and the greater opportunities afforded to women as part of a more equal society allows a family to make the decision on who is best placed to raise their children, based on more than just gender assignment. Essentially, the one with the most flexibility at work, or the career that can be most easily paused will find themselves staying at home to watch the little ones grow up.
Indeed, such talk is no longer mere speculation. Compared to figures from 1970, only a quarter of families with children under 18 find themselves with just the father as the sole wage earner. The number of stay-at-home dads has risen into the millions in the last few decades, as wider opportunities become available to all.
Back in 1970, the number of fathers being the sole breadwinner for their families stood at half of all families, which shows the big shift that has occurred in society over the last 50 years, as we eschew more traditional family methods.
This trend is also seen locally across Central Virginia, and networks are popping up across the US so stay-at-home dads can connect, share their stories and help bring together resources to put any prospective new dads at ease.
So why is this happening? Statistics also indicate the intentions of the father to be more involved in the family home in general, taking on a lot more work around the house, as well as childcare. This is exemplified as it is shown that dads currently spend double the time on household chores, compared to data assessed in 1965.
All of this time at home means something awesome for those that follow that course, as fathers now get to spend more time with their children. Figures have tripled since 1965, which shows clearly how great a shift has taken place in the last half-century. Particularly interestingly, this does not appear to have gotten in the way of maternal instincts, with mothers also spending more time with their children compared to the same period, indicating how much more seriously childcare is now taken.
Such an assertion is vindicated by the fact that so many dads have come to view parenting as key to their identity, with some 57% of those surveyed displaying their feelings towards the benefits of being so involved with the upbringing of their children.
This would go some way towards explaining the noticeable increase in the dad being the one who stays at home and looks after the kids since 1989, and indeed the reasons for choosing to do so are also changing: 21% of those involved with the research now confirm that the main reason they do so is to look after the family, a statistic that has increased fourfold in just a few decades.
As so often when a major change happens across a society, the society tends to make alterations to reflect the new dynamic. This means that caring for the baby is no longer just directed at mothers staying home to look after the kids, and current available produce reflects this with even the most basic needs – an easy example is to consider the variation in styles to choose from for an everyday essential such as diaper bags.
With this kind of break away from tradition unlikely to stop any time soon, and many more families looking to assess their family roles based on best assets and working towards more flexible options for child-rearing, such a transition is likely to bring many more ways to help both the mums and dads to raise their kids.
Such a dramatic reassessment of gender roles is a continuing world theme at present, and as we allow individuals greater control over what we wish to do with our lives, the reduced pressure to present ourselves in a specific role will hopefully help to create a generation of less stressed-out, stay-at-home dads.