7 Misconceptions About Stay At Home Dads

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October 20, 2019
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With women being more active in today’s workforce than ever before, stay at home dads are becoming more and more prevalent.  Due to financial, career, or personal reasons, couples are making the decision more and more frequently to have dad stay at home while mom continues the climb up the corporate ladder. It is no secret that this type of arrangement greatly deviates from the past when mothers were the appointed ones to stay at home with the children while dads were the ones to go out to work. 

Perhaps this shift is partially to blame for the misconceptions that people have about stay at home fathers in today’s world.  Maybe people just haven’t caught up with the times or maybe they are simply uncomfortable with the change in gender roles and expectations.  Regardless of the reasons, misconceptions about stay at home fathers runs rampant in today’s society.

Here are the top 7 misconceptions about stay at home dads.

Dad would rather be working at the office: 

Most people erroneously assume that fathers draw the smallest straw and get stuck with the stay at home role.  People believe that fathers are staying home with the kids while they dream of the day that they can return to work.  This viewpoint couldn’t be further from the truth, as most couples have diligently deliberated on this decision and stay at home dads end up landing exactly where they want to be.

Dad can’t take care of the children as well as mom can: 

Perhaps this misconception is related to old school thinking, but some people believe that women are the only ones who can nurture and appropriately take care of the children.  This belief completely negates the fact that fathers can nurture and care for their children just as well.

Dad is only staying at home because he is unemployed: 

If dad is staying at home with the children, people tend to automatically jump to the conclusion that he got laid off.  People have a hard time believing that fathers would actually choose to stay at home instead of working. 

Dad is temporarily staying at home as he looks for a new job:

Again, people have a difficult time digesting the fact that a father would actually choose to be a stay at home dad.  Instead, they conjure up this scenario because that is the only thing that would make sense.

Dad is babysitting:

At one time or another, almost every father has likely been asked if he is “babysitting.”  Some people cannot even comprehend the fact that a father may be with his children full time instead of on sporadic occasions. And really, is a father ever “babysitting” when it is his child?

Dad is not masculine: 

Unfortunately, stereotypes die hard.  Men are supposed to work, bring home the money, and be the breadwinners.  Many people incorrectly assume that a father is less of a man if he stays at home with his children.  But, isn’t taking care of his children the ultimate way to take care of his family?

Dad just sits at home and watches sports:

People automatically assume that dad is ignoring the children while he clicks between ESPN and Sportscenter.  First of all, any parent knows that no adult is granted TV time when the kids are around.  (Good luck getting the game on when Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig are on).  Rest assured, a father is watching no more television than a stay at home mom would.

It is unfortunate that so many look down on stay at home fathers.  Instead of supporting and celebrating a father’s decisions, they poke fun or discredit them.  Despite this, what others think of you is always less important than what you think of yourself.  Men should maintain confidence in their decisions and take pride in the impact that they are making on their children’s lives.

Tracy is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is a clinical supervisor for the Community YMCA, Counseling & Social Services branch. Tracy has over 12 years of experience working in many settings including partial care hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, community agencies, group practice, and school-based programs. Tracy works with clients of all ages, but especially enjoys working with the adolescents. Tracy  facilitates groups using art therapy, sand play and psychodrama.