The Popularity of The Stay at Home Dad
Stay-at-home dads have been seen in increasing numbers in Western culture, especially in Canada, the UK and the United States since the late 20th century. In developed East Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea, this practice is less common.
There are several reasons why some families feel that it would be more beneficial for the father to be the primary caregiver while the mother works outside of the home. The decision to use a stay-at-home dad arrangement is most commonly due to economic reasons. There has been a disappearance of the types of white-collar jobs that men have traditionally filled. Many middle-aged men have become essentially unemployable, thereby causing a role reversal for economic reasons. At the same time, women are progressing into higher-paying jobs. There are now financial ramifications in deciding whether the mother or father should become the stay-at-home parent. In cases where the woman is the higher-paid parent, it makes more economic sense for her to continue to work while the man takes on the caregiver role. At times the mother’s job offers health benefits for the family whereas the father’s does not.
With the growth of telecommuting, many men are also able to work from home. In this regard, he is contributing financially to the family while also acting as the primary caregiver of the family’s children. Differences in parent’s schedules can also account for some of the stay-at-home dads. Sometimes the father works odd work shifts while the mother has a typical nine-to-five work schedule.
Fixed gender roles began to become less prominent in the Western world starting in the late 20th century, allowing men to make their own choice of career without regard to traditional gender-based roles. Some men who choose this role may do so because they enjoy being an active part of their children’s lives, while in other families, the mother wants to pursue her career. For example, of the 187 participants at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in the Business Summit, one third of the women’s husbands were stay-at-home dads. Families vary widely in terms of how household chores are divided. Some retired males who marry a younger woman decide to become stay-at-home dads while their wives work because they want a “second chance” to watch a child grow up in a second or third marriage. Additionally, more career and lifestyle options are accepted and prevalent in Western society. There are also fewer restrictions on what constitutes a family.
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