Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All day with Dad!?

Our family has come to what I believe is going to be a remarkable turning point for our relationships and wellness. We are moving in the direction of understanding prosperity to be defined not necessarily by money, but by happiness. Although of course the shelter and comfort available in our lives is something we enjoy, I think it is important to take the time to, you know, enjoy it! Long work hours and being separated from one another for our waking hours seem to be adversarial in acheiving this connectedness. Stress from work often means sacrificing time for other meaningful pursuits.

So, with our family's best interests in mind, my husband has made the choice to become an at-home dad. Should I pause for effect here? I know that this decision has been subject to some mixed reactions from family and friends. Many who know my husband well are aware of what an amazing dad he is, and how he is naturally a playful, hands-on parent. However, there were definitely some who questioned our choice or the switched order of traditional societal roles. I recognize that this may not be the best choice for everyone, but I am confident my husband becoming an at-home dad is going to be a great move for our family.

And it turns out we're not alone! According to the most recent Shriver Report, women are the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of families in the United States. Surprisingly, 40 percent of households with children under 18 are supported either solely or primarily by a working woman! Who would have guessed this was such a phenomenon?

But at-home dads are movement; I found they even are becoming connected through organizations like the National At-Home Dad Network, which has regional chapters for meet ups and conventions. A strong majority actually make this choice not by accident but by preference, as my husband did. We knew our daughter enjoyed her daycare, but wanted to be more involved in her life and be able to individualize and enhance her daily learning experiences. Plus, Babygirl is crazy about her daddy!

I do know a handful of other families who have made the same choice. All of them are couples who are under 30 years old, which makes me wonder if this is a generational attitude of acceptance. I think it may more likely be tied to the fact that women are becoming the majority of college graduates, as well as the lack of affordable child care options. In more and more families, Mom may be the parent with more career opportunities or better benefits. This would be a really interesting shift to explore from a sociological perspective, but for now I am more excited just to live it and reap the benefits of choosing happiness! My husband is a fun, intelligent, and capable man and I can't wait to watch Babygirl soak up some of those great qualities as she grows.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is great!! Good for you guys for choosing happiness your own way.