A stereotypical family setting denotes patriarchy in its modern-day glory. The husband goes to work during the day and provides the needs of the family. At night, he is welcomed home by a lovely dinner prepared by the wife. On the other hand, the mother stays at home, takes care of the needs of the children and husband, and does the housekeeping chores such as cooking, cleaning and everything else the family needs. Lastly, the kids go to school and study hard for their bright futures.
Such is the routine for a typical patriarchal family. However, times are changing, and new family setups are becoming more and more prevalent – and along with these changes comes the shift in the battles fathers fight.
The New Battle
While before a father bouts for 8 hours a day in a typical desk job, now some fathers feel the need to compete for the position of providing for the family.
Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. — Ditta M. Oliker Ph.D.
“Women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family. Increasingly, they are primary breadwinners, too.” About 40% of American households with minor dependents now rely on women, mothers as breadwinners of the family. They have become more recognized and welcomed in the workforce, giving them equal rights to earn for their families.
Almost 60% of women in this classification are known to be single parents, but it still shows that the rest, along with their families, have reached a decision point and opted for the mothers to be the primary breadwinners.
As such, this growing trend causes a ripple that can change family dynamics. And in the 21st century, people now recognize the category, stay-at-home dads.
Many dads co-parenting in the 21st century have noticed their roles shift dramatically from what they observed their fathers doing. More is expected in some ways, and that can be a challenge—especially for men who expected that their roles would be more traditional. — Justin Lioi, LCSW
Not A Losing Battle
”There can be some pretty major benefits.” Given the family stereotypes, husbands often feel threatened in scenarios where the wives become the breadwinners. Moreover, warning signs can be present when these switch-ups might lead to a divorce. However, when a husband, especially a father, acknowledges the switch in roles and steps up, he may just find himself enjoying the spoils of war in this new battle.
One thing that needs to be cleared up: stay-at-home dads can accomplish the same task housewives can do. While there are some items that only a mom can do like shopping for prom dresses or makeups, a dad definitely can excel with household responsibilities.
Naturally, he loves dropping off his kids at school and picking up the kids after class. Hence, lunches would not be an agonizing difficulty for dads. More so, when he put his mind to it, other household tasks such as cleaning, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking, would come as a breeze. Work still works. Despite the change, some dads even develop a habit of liking to it.
Of course, in doing the same set of tasks mothers traditionally do, fathers get to experience the same struggles – the discontent, self-doubt, insecurity or even sheer boredom. Make no mistake; it definitely is a huge adjustment. But at the end of all, having a parent to stay at home ultimately helps the family. At the same time, it betters the relationship between the couple as they now have an understanding – be it the father or the mother working, the parents work as a team.
In households where fathers and mothers treat each other with respect, children learn to resolve conflict, demand respect from future partners, acquire trust and self-esteem, and build loving intimate relationships. — Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.
Some Inevitability In Battles
Dads, themselves, contemplate on the traditional roles set upon themselves after marriage. Upon deciding the change, other conventional families may also chip in their unnecessary and unsolicited two cents on the matter. Old views die hard, but it isn’t as grave as it seems. Only the prejudices make it so.
Whatever the role, these pressures and challenges will always appear – even if families follow a traditional setup. What’s essential is upon taking the mantle of a stay-at-home dad. The father has the resolve to be a sturdy foundation for the family. There is nobility in supporting the wife to work for the family, and happiness in instances when kids favor and run to their dads first upon coming home.