The Sexist

How Stay-at-Home Dads Can Keep Women In Their Place

[youtube:v=HqTjGCGicC4]

In this week's YouTube video chat, Dr. Laura Schlessinger addresses an unnatural new development of modern life: stay-at-home dads. What are the possible psychological effects of this strange permutation of the traditional child-rearing arrangement? A listener writes in Thinking of the Children:

If a mom works, and the dad stays home with the children, does this have any psychological effect on the kids, with respect to their relationships later in life? You talk a lot about stay-at-home-moms, but I don't recall hearing much about what happens when the roles are reversed. Is it better for boys if the dad stays home or does it matter?

Dr. Laura, for her part, is far more concerned with Thinking Of the Wives:

This is one which gets very sensitive, because in general—that means there are exceptions everywhere, OK—when the moms are working, and the dads are at home, the moms, the women, the wives, tend to change their feelings somewhat about their husbands. They tend not to see them as the heroes. The warrior. The man. The caretaker. The provider. The protector. And those feelings are really very significant. And I have found over the years that there often is more marital strife when the roles are reserved. Whether you're a feminist or not, whether you like it or not, them's just the facts.

You see, when a woman wanders outside her natural role as child-rearer and housekeeper and enters into the dangerous world of the male warrior heroes, she's liable to start getting some Ideas. Ideas like, "Despite what I've been told, my feeble female brain can perform tasks outside of raising babies." Ideas like, "This is the 'work' my husband has been self-importantly occupying himself with for all these years? All these people do is dick around and watch YouTube videos." Ideas like, "Now that I'm getting paid for all the work I do, perhaps I shouldn't have settled for that loveless marriage after all."

But never fear: As long as women agree to leave the home without applying their critical thinking skills, the kids will be all right:

Now: it often works very well. And when it works very well—OK, when it works very well it's good for the kids, when it doesn't work very well, it's not good for the kids. The point is not, are the rolls reversed and is that good for the children? The point is, are the parents RHHHHGGG about it? Is dad being treated with less respect? Is mom coming home sort of bitter that she's not with the kids, and feeling like since she earns the money, she's the boss? If there is this kind of negativity and dissention, that hurts the kids.

In other words, are you still treating mom like a woman (with less respect), and dad like a man (the boss)? You're good to go. But once mom starts to get empowered by her new position—or dad starts feeling emasculated—it's back to the kitchen with her.

  • tshirtman

    very useful advices :).

  • http://moderateleft.com Jeff Fecke

    Actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but the "doctor" has a point. Housework is valuable. A woman seeing her husband as inadequate, secondary, or lesser for being a homemaker is no more right than a man viewing his stay-at-home wife as subordinate. Where Schlessinger makes her mistake is in seeing this as a one-way problem. It's okay, implicitly, for the husband to be the "boss." It's only bad when the wife acts the same way.

    That's ludicrous, and it's why, even when Schlessinger trips across a reasonable idea -- men can stay home and raise the kids and even do a good job of it -- she's still a force for evil.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    @Jeff Fecke completely agree with you. Notice that the only bad behaviors Schlessinger lists are the woman's: Is mom treating dad with less respect? Is mom bitter? Does mom think she's the boss? The implication is that when roles were reversed, dad treating mom without respect and thinking he was the boss because he made money didn't raise a problem.

  • http://jaded16.wordpress.com Jaded16

    All I can think of is this doctor has definitely read Judy Syfer's essay "Why I want a wife" (http://www.cwluherstory.org/why-i-want-a-wife.html). Only she entirely missed the irony. Crackhead.

    Why are stay-at-home dads made such a big deal about? No one mentions anything "ground-breaking" or "socially interesting phenomenon" about stay at home mums.

  • http://myblackbrick.com DoctorJay

    I didn't realize that when I had a job my wife saw me as a "hero" and "protector". Now that I work from home and share child-rearing responsibility I'm no longer "the boss". Thems just the facts!

    If I hear another person tell me that all our gender roles were defined when cro-magnon man walked the earth I'm gonna puke. As if there had been no cultural changes over the past thousands of years and our contemporary culture all of a sudden went against human nature.

    Laura, I am not, nor have I ever been, a caveman warrior.

  • John Dias

    In 2006, sociologist John Archer of the University of Central Lankershire published a paper entitled, "Cross-Cultural Differences in Physical Aggression Between Partners: A Social-Role Analysis." In it, he cited multiple sources of evidence from the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report from 1997 (the "Gender Empowerment Index (GEM), a measure of women's societal power, the associated Gender-related Development Index (GDI), and the individualism-collectivism dimension of culture"). Among his findings was evidence that in societies where women enter the workforce at greater percentages than in prior eras, their propensity to engage in abusive behaviors against their male intimate partners increased.

    To me, this means that women lose respect for their male partners if they don't appreciate the man's uniqueness in his role. A woman is more likely to feel contempt for a man who she perceives to be weaker and less potent than she is.

    That does not negate the fact that in Archer's research, more men than women were found to be abusive toward their intimate partners in societies where women were a much lower percentage of the paid workforce. Being the one with the earning power does vest one with power, and some men choose to abuse that power. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it's telling that more women choose to be abusive toward their male partners as soon as they start comprising greater percentages of the paid workforce, despite the fact that abused men are usually more than capable of retaliating against a female abuser with far more potent violence than they're receiving.

  • Emily

    "To me, this means that women lose respect for their male partners if they don’t appreciate the man’s uniqueness in his role."

    That's a big fuckin leap man. A big fuckin mental leap.

  • LeftSidePositive

    What exactly is your point? Sometimes, people abuse their power. Because not all people are good. What is your alternative? All women should be held back from having financial and social independence because some percentage might abuse their partners? Okay, fine. But, by that logic, men also abuse their partners when THEY have social and economic power...so, the only solution would be: no one is allowed to have a job, no one is allowed to have money, and no one is allowed to have a relationship.

    Or...here's an idea, maybe we could advocate that everyone is entitled to equality, that abusing others is quite simply wrong, and that there are no "unique" "roles" that certain types of people deserve that makes them more likely to be the abuser rather than the abused.

  • John Dias

    The increased likelihood of inflicting abuse that is correlated with being a breadwinner is not solely due to power-and-control motives. There are other factors, such as poor spiritual and mental health, that also influence a person to lash out. And there is also a social factor, whereby men are conditioned to be protectors and therefore most married women are at lower risk for overall violence compared to the greater population of women. Women, by contrast, are not challenged by cultural norms to reign in their abusive behavior nearly as much as men are.

    So to illustrate the dynamic, imagine a scenario where there is only one stay-at-home nurturer and only one breadwinner. If there is any kind of economic stress experienced by the family, the pressure to alleviate this will typically be placed on the breadwinner, rather than the nurturer shouldering some of the burden by entering the workforce. I can picture the stay-at-home party verbally dressing down the breadwinner, challenging their effectiveness in their role, questioning their gender identity, heaping scorn and blame day after day until the breadwinner responds with similar verbal abuse or even violence. In my mind, this scenario is more likely to occur when the breadwinner is a man and the stay-at-home party is the woman. A woman who stays at home, in my perception, is less likely to be verbally abusive (and more likely to be nurturing) if she doesn't have to worry as much about whether and how she and her family will survive.

    The dynamic is a little different when it is a man who stays at home and a woman who is working, at least in my perception. A man is aware that at any time he can engage in a provide-and-protect role, and so he's going to be less inclined to project his fears of economic insecurity onto the sole-breadwinning female. If times are tough, then no problem, he'll just get a job and any kids can then be put in the care of a sitter or child care facility (staying at home is thus a luxury, not a necessity). The female, however, will experience economic instability by projecting her frustrations onto the male, because he's somehow not "solving the problem" by earning his way out of it. He is more likely to be perceived as less of a man in the woman's eyes for that very reason.

    And what about times in which there is no economic stability, and instead the female breadwinner is responsible for financial abundance and prosperity? In such good economic times, how will she view her stay-at-home husband? Figure it out.

  • John Dias

    Correction to my last paragraph (comment #9):

    Incorrect:

    "And what about times in which there is no economic stability,"

    Correct:

    "And what about times in which there is no economic instability,"

  • LeftSidePositive

    John, your antiquated gender stereotypes are completely clouding your thinking. This is such colossal bullshit I don't even know where to begin.

    "Women, by contrast, are not challenged by cultural norms to reign in their abusive behavior nearly as much as men are." This is nonsense. Men are encouraged to play violent videogames, watch violent movies, to "be a man" in fights, to have their gender identity celebrated in proportion to their capacity for causing violence. Men perpetrate roughly 86% of violent crime.

    "A man is aware that at any time he can engage in a provide-and-protect role" Why can't a WOMAN engage in a provide-and-protect role? What kind of ridiculous patriarchical thinking is that men are just magically entitled to jobs by virtue of being men?

    And how do you think men view their stay-at-home wives? As trophies, as playthings, as less-than-equal, as entitlements.

    I love the thinly-veiled "oh the wifey nagged me so I'm justified in beating her" scenario, by the way...

  • John Dias

    Men are suffused with violent message, yes, that is true. It does not negate the fact that they are also socially condemned more harshly for abusing their opposite-sex partners compared to how intensely women are condemned for the same thing -- video games notwithstanding.

    The majority of married women who are stay-at-home wives are less vulnerable to overall violence than are the greater population of unmarried women. This is because husbands will jeopardize their own personal security in order to ensure the security of their families, which tells you how highly they value their wives and children. Intact families are far more secure than any other form of social organization, and it's precisely because of the provide and protect role that husbands willingly shoulder because they love their families. Call that old-fashioned if you like.

  • LeftSidePositive

    No, it's not "because of the provide and protect role that husbands willingly shoulder." That is complete and utter bullshit. BOTH parties contribute equally to a successful marriage, and women are perfectly capable of providing for and protecting their families. BOTH genders make immense sacrifices for the well-being of the family as a whole and for children.

    As for violence, you are failing to account for social, cultural, economic, and educational factors that differ between married and unmarried couples and individuals, which renders your entire argument meaningless.

  • John Dias

    Always the loose cannon, you. Charming and peaceful, as usual.

  • LeftSidePositive

    It's always so entertaining when you lose an argument and you start reverting back to bitterness and gender-baiting stereotypes.

    Yes, "bullshit" is soooooo beyond the pale for this blog. Capitalizing two words for emphasis is being a "loose cannon."

    And of course I should be charming and peaceful. As a woman, I'm clearly not allowed to be offended or display any strong feelings when you air your ignorant and self-important opinions. How unbecoming of me!!

    As for actual CONTENT...how is "both parties contribute equally to a successful marriage" evidence of being a "loose cannon"? How is a discussion of confounding factors so threatening to you?

  • Lizrd

    Don't worry LSP, typical troll etticate demands that whenever arguments are shot down by reason, they must resort to historically genderized insults as a silencing tactic. Yawn.

  • b-bop

    Ok I lost what I was going to write.

    Here it is point form:

    It's not 1890 anymore. Women are educated, we know at any time we can step into the provider role for the family.

    The strife to which Dr. Laura refers could potentially relate to a dad who unexpectedly lost his job, and mom had to rush into the workforce. Staying home is a full time job, which requires a lot of knowledge about what should be done and when...the mom may feel that this knowledge should be inherent and loses patience with her husband. That could cause strife for sure, just like if you accepted a job but didn't know all the duties that you were expected to know, because you've never done it before.

    If mom and dad agreed on who is staying home, then I doubt there would be too much strife, because they obviously should have the foresight to outline expectations--especially since they're "breaking the mold".

  • Lizrd

    Additionally John Dias, once again you go on long, purple poderings about how you think things are without any factual basis. I think its high time you add [citation needed] to your name.

    "I can picture the stay-at-home party verbally dressing down the breadwinner, challenging their effectiveness in their role, questioning their gender identity, heaping scorn and blame day after day until the breadwinner responds with similar verbal abuse or even violence"

    That's happens in your 1950s-inspired world that doesn't really exist. Last time I checked, marriages were supposed to be partnerships, with both parties supporting each other, not arrangements for verbal or physical beratement over any misstep.

  • TOM

    for men, its called being "being castrated" in a methaphorical sense. in our "males" traditional gender role, as dictated by thousands of years of modern and ancient society, we are the typical breadwinners and protects. notwithstanding the omnipresent feminist view that tells us all that women can be equally capable breadwinners and protects, men grow up to believe on a deep level that they are the conquerors, to win at sports, succeed in business, take a bride, inseminate, and so on. can you start to see my original premise about how men are being castrated by all of a sudden losing their power as the sole provider for the household/family. all of a sudden they feel second-class. by no means am i inferring that the role of a mother of stay at home mom is second class. i think it is equally as important if not primary to a normal family that the mother be the dominant figure in the house. but there in lies the problem. men feel as if they are primary in all manners exterior to the household. the car the job, the hot wife, the kid that is great at sports, hell the man that can fix anything with a hammer. so when the wife/mother supplants his roles outside of the home, and he assumes the roles somewhat foreign to most contemporary men, as one poster previously mentioned, they begin to feel (as if almost naturally by the process) castrated.

    the realty is, it is nobodys fault. maybe it is the fault of the typical man for not knowing how to do the laundry of whatever, but the fact remains, that it is understandable that when a woman, whom previously restrained to the home, by choice or defualt, enters the workplace, and assumes the role of breadwinner intrinsically supplanting the man, inevitably empowers the woman to assume a newfound power over the man. consciously preceived or not, the males subconscious ego suffers from the females new power status, real or imagined. hence on some psychological level, the man feels less of a man.

    if there is somebody out there can articulate a rebuttal to this, i would love to hear it. thomasoyler@gmail.com hey, im all about female empowerment, and if the man feels like a bitch, its on him. whether he lets his equal exercise that power of him is on him. whos the bitch now

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Lizrd:

    I love when you comment here, but I think there's a little word in the e-mail address you use for commenting that automatically sends your comments into moderation. If you want to see your comments immediately, switch up the terminology in that e-mail address and your comments should go right through.

    Thanks!

  • mama bri

    Among the things i disagree with John Dias about, the thing that stands out to me the most is that if a woman is at home and the man works, that when things get tough the woman will nag until the point of being mentally or physically abused, however if the "roles are reversed" the man will "step up" and get a job. I stayed home with my son for three months after he was born (although I would have liked to stay longer) but because I didn't want my fiance taking the responsibility for money making, I was the one to say I wanted to get a job. Its unfair to assume females cant make responsible decisions about their family and themselves as much as a male can.

  • Realist

    I think it's unfair to blame men for gender inequality. Majority of women which I mean 90% or more still believe in traditional roles such as men being the provider and protectors. Women are just not ready to assume a leadership role in a relationships. Just check out the comments in the link below:
    http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/417872/?page=3&
    There are numerous links that dwell on similar topics. These are real people, real women. (If interested I can send you other links)
    It's kind of sad to see that all these women are hiding behind their boyfriends and husbands for protection. To which I ask, protection from who? We are not living in caves anymore. We live in a modern society where there are laws and law enforcement to protect us. So who is this boogeyman that the women are afraid of? Being a man I have absolutely no problem in gender equality however, I do have a problem when women want equal rights at the same time want to be taken care of, feel secure in the arms of a football player type man.

  • [hardly] working mom

    My husband spends all day chasing our toddler around, reading to her, preparing healthy meals for her, etc., while I sit at a desk doing paid work that is a lot easier and far less interesting than my husband's work.

    That I respect and appreciate what he does has nothing to do with empowerment or lack thereof and everything to do with our family values, by which I do NOT mean the nosy, judgmental, gay-bashing, misogynistic crap that Dr. Laura and others rally for. I mean actually valuing family, as in spending time together, being devoted, and not putting careers first.

    Dr. Laura is an asshole--we all know that. But so are the working moms who disparage stay-at-home moms as though full-time child-rearing is for people who are far stupider, lazier, and less ambitious than themselves.

  • http://www.MenatHouseWork.com T.J. McKenna

    I firmly believe that I became a stay at home dad because my wife wasn't physically strong enough to raise three kids. I think it has given her some new found respect for my abilities.

  • Lizrd

    Thanks Amanda, I had no idea! Hopefully, this is fixed now

  • LeftSidePositive

    TOM,

    What you're describing is a situation in which a man bases his identity on the ability to have power over other people, and to have sole access to opportunities and status. In other words, he feels entitled to unfairness. What he's feeling "castrated" by is just very modest strides toward equality.

    THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. No one should act like they get special access to power or opportunity just by "being a man" (or being white, or being American, or being wealthy, or being beautiful, or being famous, or being anything), and we shouldn't sympathize with people who resent or are hostile to others seeking the same power, status, and opportunities that they themselves take for granted.

    In fact we should educate our fellow citizens that wanting to have disproportionate power for yourself is just being a bully, plain and simple.

  • Brennan

    @ TOM: Can we please get past this whole "influence of ancient civilizations" nonsense? From what anthropologists have been able to determine, women produced 80% of the food in the typical hunter-gatherer society. 80%. Women have been literal "breadwinners" since long before men coined the term. Our cultural perceptions of gender roles are artificially imposed and therefore not insurmountable.

    @ John Dias: I'm not all that interested in the elaborate fantasies you've constructed in your head, but I would like to see you back up your claim that married women are less vulnerable (preferably with something other than cultural stereotypes).

    @ Realist: A word to the wise: nothing good ever follows the disclaimer "I have no problem with gender equality whatsoever, however . . ." Also, if those are real women on those boards, what does that make the women on these boards? Fake women? I think you mean well, but you should be more careful in your phrasing. In response to your concern, I think those behaviors result from the culture of fear that women are socialized into--fear of the rapist in the bushes, the axe murderer around the corner, ect. It's another way of controlling female behavior to create dependency on men and poses a problem for both men and women. Those "real women" aren't the problem so much as a symptom of the problem.

  • TOM

    what can i say, the only defense i will present is this. my earlier post reflect the world as i see it as a 24 year old middle class american male. take it for what it is, my opinion. did i ask for challanges, absolutely. and thank you for your comments.

    and for what its worth, the typical behaviors males and females exhibit as part of society today have not changed since homosapiens formed languages by which they could communicate. so bed my pardon if i reference cave men, for we have not evolved that much. after all, many studies clearly conclude that the overwhelming majority of males have a definite proclivity toward physical violence to resolve a conflict; expressly when the conflict involves a female. no we're not cavemen... we have learned to bathe and shave, so we simply don't look the same

    heres a controversial closer... read Neil M. Malamuth's 1981 study title "Rape proclivity among males" and then tell me how evolved we are.

    @Brennan, could you please cite the anthropologists claims that 80% of breadwinners were females. i would love to read that article

  • Realist

    Brennan- I was merely trying to point out the problem which you indicated as being a symptom of a larger problem. So what is the solution and how do you address the problem? We do live in a society where living is fairly safe thanks to protection provided to us by law enforcement (lets only for the time being consider living in the US) off fears that women are supposedly subjected to for the sake of gender equality? Let me ask you another question, would you settle for a man who is physically weaker than you and doesn't fall into the "alpha" male category assuming you are attracted to him and assuming you are straight? Speaking of "women on these boards" which I am assuming feminists, I find it interesting that even they still believe in the traditional male being the "protector".

  • Brennan

    @ TOM: My bad on that statistic; I came across it somewhere but now it's lost in the vast maze of the internet. I shouldn't have used it without having the citation on hand so throwing that out in one breath and demanding John Dias back up his claims in the next was particularly dumb. Mea culpa.

    I should have pointed out that your conception of men as sole providers is flawed if taken in historical and prehistorical context. The dichotomy of a static "home life" compared to an economically productive "work life" is a very recent construct, having come about around the time of the industrial revolution.

    My point was not that we have evolved since cave men times, but that sexual division of labor in cave men times wasn't what you thought it was. The link below illustrates that point using modern hunter-gatherer societies as models.

    http://foragers.wikidot.com/sexual-division-of-labor

    @ Realist: I'll answer your question about my personal preferences, though I'm not sure what good it will do. My personal experiences are just that: personal. They don't represent the mindset of all women or even most women. As a long-time practitioner of martial arts, I fall into a small and strange minority of women (and people in general). My experiences have necessarily been shaped by that perspective.

    I've never "settled" for a "physically weaker" man, but if by "physically weaker" you mean "less able to physically defend himself and/or others," then you should know that I did fall head over heels for one. We both knew that I could kick his ass. He thought that was sexy. I thought he was sexy. Sexy times commenced, and 8 months later we parted on good terms. Beyond mild fetishization (I blame the Tarantino movies), my experience as a martial artist never entered the equation. I never felt that I was in danger around him or anyone else. It simply wasn't an issue.

    I'm going to generalize here, but I suspect that most girls aren't socialized in quite the same manner I was growing up. Where I was taught to kick an attacker in a sensitive spot, most young women are taught to scream for help and run away--also a valid survival strategy for either gender in the unlikely event that someone attacks you on the street. To answer your question, I'm not sure how to solve the societal problem of female dependency on male "protectors." It's important to realize that much of the culture is perpetuated by men who, like TOM, feel emasculated by female agency. At lectures, in talk shows, at "campus awareness" events, women are consistently portrayed as potential victims especially, but not exclusively, of sexual assault. Take a look at Ms. Hess's coverage from a few weeks ago for an object lesson.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/02/04/the-worst-sexual-assault-prevention-tips-ever/

    In her book "The Terror Dream," Susan Faludi lays out in painstaking detail how the "protection myth" is perpetuated by insecure men (TOM, I'm looking at you). It's worth a skim.

    That's enough of a novel for today.

  • Sally

    Tom, you're 24?!?!? I would have guessed maybe 13! This is sad.
    Laura is so disgusting. What is she doing 'out of the house', writing all of these books, etc.? Isn't she against that? I don't see any cookies baking in the oven behind her?

  • TOM

    @ Sally, two words: ad hominem (actually in latin it's 3 words, but whose counting). if you want to refute one of my arguments, then be my guest. otherwise, don't call me ugly, because you don't even know what I look like

    @ Brennan- Honestly, I appreciate your rebuttals. First, I appreciate your humility w/ regard to the citation. Please don't think I am patronizing you, as I do not patronize. Oh yeah, I am insecure when it comes to powerful women. There is no denying it. When a confident/ capable women is in my presence, I recognize the confidence of the opposite sex.

    With regards to my perpetuation of stereotypes, I am simply representing the overwhelming sentiment of my (male) peers. Don't shoot the, messenger because you don't like the message.

    Brennan, believe it or not, while we may not be on the same page, we are both reading from the same book. I'm kinda drunk and took the GMAT today so my brain is t0oast.

    [ADDENDUM] Brennan, it's awesome that you practice martial arts. I too have studied various disciplines of martial arts. My only suggestion, don't go for the testes! Men spend an entire lifetime learning how to protect the family jewels. Our first instinct when attacked is to close the legs. So, if you need to defend yourself, you stand better chance of ripping out a fuking eyeball, or giving a solid karate chop to the side or front of the throat. As I'm sure you know, the winner of any fight is they who make the fight their own.

    =too drunk to care about how much I've digressed from the orig. thread. It's all your fault Brennan!

  • Realist

    Brennan- I am glad you have realized that this boogyman is all creation of "the man" who has been trying to subjugate women for thousands of years, the same way your parents created Santa Claus. However, at some point in life you got wiser and smarter and stopped believing in Santa. It's easy to point fingers and blame men for all the problems inflicted on women however, by acknowledging that you are discrediting women who are now educated, smart, competitive and seemingly have all the opportunities available to them now.If women knew very well that men have created this "protection myth" why believe in it? I could try to sell you Eiffel Tower for hundred bucks but you have a choice not to buy it. What I am driving to is that the blame game doesn't lead to solutions. The reason for asking you a personal question was because I wanted to see how many women are willing to think like you about potential mates. Right now realistically speaking they are in a minority. So the problem is deep rooted than what it seems like. True gender equality would only be possible when some day in future men would like to seek an equally strong, equally capable and confident woman who doesn't buy into all BS men have been feeding them for years. Personally speaking, I think feminist movement should stop wasting their energies in male bashing but rather channel it towards bringing about a change in the way women think about themselves. Like someone said, Be the change you want to see in the world.

  • Entendre

    A personal anecdote -- I was raised by a stay-at-home dad. The experience was wonderful; he was a great father and an amazing caretaker. For most of my childhood, my mother was the primary breadwinner, and has an impressive career. For the most part, it was never a problem. Nobody ever questioned our family or thought it was some crazy voodoo magic -- and to be honest, the roles fit their personalities very well.

    My dad was never a corporate go-getter type, and values thought more than perhaps anything else. He's also a wonderful cook, compassionate person, and absolutely loves children. My mom, on the other hand, is a high-stress, go-go-go kind of person. She accepted my dad's role, and made sure that we could be a family, no matter what.

    That said, it did cause problems on a much more basic, underlying level. I think that no matter what, there is intense pressure on men to "succeed" -- as there is on women. The difference is that most people accept homemaking as a "successful" pursuit for women; a woman can clearly be brilliant, capable, and praiseworthy -- even if she chooses to be "just a housewife." A man, on the other hand, is judged differently, and homemaking is not on the menu. Regardless of how it was communicated explicitly, I think my dad felt like he was considered a failure -- by everyone around him, and by himself. It's such a deep-seated expectation -- that a man should _do something_ with himself (as if making a family were idle work!) -- there's no denying that it crushed him on some level.

    Eventually, my dad became very depressed, despite having a loving wife and family. Now, there's no 1:1 correlation here -- but from my perspective living with him every day, I would say that his lack of societally acceptable "success" was a huge factor, perhaps playing a primary role. My parents divorced, and both remarried into slightly more typical gender-role relationships. My dad became a primary breadwinner, and my mom entered into a relationship with a man who probably out-earns her, if barely.

    For all of the other commenters -- you're making it far more complicated than the reality. Women and men are _entitled_ to do anything they like, and I don't think anyone disagrees with that basic right. But when people act in opposition to ingrained social mores, what is the effect on those people? I think most people would agree that we _should_ be able to handle househusbands without a bump -- but in reality, we don't. Rather than bickering about "she should be able to X" and "he should have to Y", why don't you sit down and ask yourself how you can help solve the problem?

  • http://www.quidprojoe.com Joe Delulio

    You make an amazing point...Mom and Dad have to get along no matter what. And if that is the case most situations can fly! Great point Dr. L. By the way...I love being a SAHD!

  • Paige

    I was raised by a stay at home dad while my worked and by family turned out fine and my father loved being home with me and he ran a hunting club wile he raised me does that sound unmanly to you.

    Most people who were raised by stay a home parents are thankful for them no matter what their gender was.

  • Pingback: Sunday Recommended Reading | Small Strokes

  • Pingback: Dr. Laura Reminds Us Who’s the Boss

...