What’s your view on stay-at-home dads? Despite it being a growing phenomenon I am amazed at how many women still feel it’s a strange idea. Just this morning one mum at the school gates was speculating on one of the dads saying, ‘It’s a bit embarrassing that he doesn’t work and looks after the kids, isn’t it?’
From where I’m standing every day there are more and more dads in the school playground and though they are in the minority stats show they are on the rise. Having been someone who rarely saw anyone’s father when I was young I think it’s an excellent thing. Aside from the fact it teaches kids that being the primary carer has nothing to do with what sex you are, it brings a good balance to the school gates.
New research from the Office of National Statistics shows that there has been a rapid explosion of stay-at-home dads (though the trend is less about choice and more about economic necessity). Last year 62,000 men were classed as “economically inactive” and at home looking after children, tripling from 21,000 in 1996. These figures did not include fathers working from home or part-time in order to be the main stay-at-home parent. With another survey from Aviva suggesting there could be 600,000 men, around 6% of British fathers, in that role, a further rise from the ONS figures.
Having said numbers may be on the rise I’m guessing it must be a daunting prospect for dads to be in the minority. One tells me “It’s lonely as you rarely see another dad in the playground and many of the mums in the won’t talk to me.” Another says, “In the past I’ve had two mums come on to me which was very uncomfortable and has now made me feel that I can’t talk to anyone for fear of being misread.”
So what’s your experience? Are you a stay-at-home dad who finds it hard? Or do you know someone who is? Let us know what it’s like out there.