People rarely talk about stay-at-home dads. I know they are out there, but I have found that for the most part, it’s dads who are home with very young kids or dads planning to be a stay-at-home dad. But in general, the women back out of being a breadwinner when the kids get older, and reality sets in when dads can’t handle the social stigma of being a stay-at-home parent. There’s a reason for stereotypes.

My hunch has been that men who are staying home with kids do it because they can’t earn enough to justify working instead of their wife. And I have also had a hunch that when kids get older, women begin to resent being the breadwinner.

These have been my hunches, based on own experience and analysis, until someone sent this paper that confirms my hunch — in such a gratifying way! The authors find that kids require different types of parenting at different stages of life, and for a mother, middle-school aged kids are the most difficult to parent.

This explains why high powered women who end up dropping out or scaling way back  usually do it when the kids are in middle-school. For those of you who don’t have older kids, middle-school is about the time when kids are able to take a mom to task for not being around when the kids want a parent. And the data shows that kids can complain to a mom or a dad, but the moms feel much more stress and anxiety from those complaints than dads do. Here’s my favorite paragraph:

That mothers generally experience ‘contagion of stress’ from their children is evident in biological evidence on women deeply affected by distress in their offspring (see Barrett & Fleming, 2011; Swain, Lorberbaum, Kose, & Strathearn, 2007). Studies have shown that mothers and fathers both experience early preoccupation with their infants — that is, a “deep focus on the infant to the near exclusion of all else” — but the intensity of this preoccupation is greater among mothers (Leckman et al., 2004; Feldman, Weller, Leckman, Kvint, & Eidelman, 1999), and mothers tend to be more sensitive to the cries of their newborn infants than are fathers (De Pisapia et al., 2013). Later in development, emotional distance from teenagers affects both fathers and mothers but again, there are greater ramifications for the latter as their identities are more closely tied to the parenting role (Collins & Russell, 1991).

This is why women cannot rely on marrying someone who will be 50/50 in parenting. Because men and women don’t care 50/50. And there is no way to know this at the beginning of a marriage. It’s something crazy that happens between a mother and child.

I’m sure if there are two dads, then the dads do just fine. Certainly two dads can raise kids. But the point here is that if there’s a mom in the picture, the mom wants to do it herself. Moms want to be the ones to raise the kids because moms care more when the kids are unhappy, so the moms will do more.

Yes, there are exceptions, but the likelihood that you are one of them is not high. Because even most women who have personalities that are very attuned to work (ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP) will stay at home with kids if there is an opportunity to do so.

35 replies
  1. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    Sounds like a bunch of sexist nonsense to me. Some people spout out a bunch of nonsense about blacks, or Jews, naturally not being good at one thing or another. Some people say the same kind of things about men or women. I’ve been running into women who say things like this since I was a little feminist boy raised by a single, math genius mother. As a society, I feel we will outgrow this. In an uneven fashion, as all growth happens.

    I expect many people don’t know anybody like us. Maybe some people only have experience with families where dads don’t go to work only because they got laid off. I’ve met some. I’m related to some. But here in Boston I know several other families that have a similar setup by choice – executive mother, stay at home father. I quit a six-figure job to take care of the kids. It means I get to pal around with a bunch of ex-lawyers and part-time musicians.

    Here’s a good pair of articles written by a husband and wife that might be of interest to someone who wants to know more about what a dad being in charge of the kids really looks like:

    The Washington Post published “Don’t worry, working moms: Just leave Dad in charge at home.”

    The Atlantic published “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First,” by the husband of the first author. The author isn’t a stay at home father – he’s got an academic job – but he explains very well the joy a man can feel in being a lead parent.

    Somebody who wants to know more about the daily life of a successful family where the woman is the breadwinner might do well to read these articles.

    There are a number of other articles about the phenomenon in other publications – Bloomberg (“Behind Every Great Woman,”), the NYT (“Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers.”), Grindstone (“Is The New CEO Accessory A Stay-At-Home Dad?”), if anybody wants to know more about the reality.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have breakfasts to make.

    • Karelys
      Karelys says:

      I’ve found that a lot of what Penelope says pertains to the reality of how things are. Right now. And have been in history.
      Rather than the ability for humans to become.

      You could have made the same arguments about women being unable to hold high positions of power because of periods and emotions and whatever. You would probably have been right to a point. And then not right to a point.

      I care a lot for my offspring. The cries were so distressing that I was declining in health overall. Parenting as a job is something I wouldn’t do well when babies are tiny. But parenting as a relationship is something I do very well.

      My (now ex)husband and I had the set up. He was doing really good at it as a job. When people find out we are divorced they quickly ask about him staying at home. It’s the first thing people think. They can’t fathom that it could be something else because that’s just how their minds work.

  2. TheHolzbachian
    TheHolzbachian says:

    Hey Bostonian! —

    We’ve met before here, and probably at the Innovation Institute in Newton. We’re way on the same team.

    And I love PT — often wrong (vaccination saves lives!), always stimulating.

    And as a work-at-home Dad for 13 years, homeschooling Dad for 6, my money is where my mouth is. But, I’m mostly agreeing with PT here.

    You and I have amazing lives and I’m assuming they are working for us. But, from everything I’ve ever read and directly experienced — you and I, my friend? We’re unicorns.

    Statistics I find say that of stay at home parents, about 3% are male. 3%? That’s mostly just a man whose between jobs. And in the Homeschooling community, we seem to be a bit rarer.

    Now, if you’re going to find awesome Dads who do what we do ANYWHERE it’s going to be Boston and San Francisco, as the cultural stigma (a real thing) is weakest there. And I don’t have numbers here, but I sure don’t see a dramatic uptick from 3%.

    PT isn’t speaking of capacity, she’s speaking of who cares more, or proclivities. Now, we can argue, Larry Summers style about gender differences in ability, but gender differences in proclivity are everywhere around us.

    I’ve never had a female garbage collector. Don’t think I’ve ever even seen one. My paypal account says I took 36 UBER rides in SF and Lisbon Portugal this year all in the daytime — # of male drivers? 36 out of 36! Now, tell me what great cultural stereotype is stopping all the women from getting into their cars and driving an UBER?

    Point is, I’m a massive weirdo. I bet you are too. That’s why I’d rather have dinner conversation with you than the random stay at home Mom. If you and I bucked the trend, there must something massively interesting going on.

    It’s true I do care in a different way than my wife does. But my wife and I are extremes. She’s got a PhD in Astrophysics from the U of Paris. I never learned a 2nd language, and physics was my least favorite science. As for me, something really extreme happened to me 40+ years ago and I’m pretty sure it interacted with an unusually intuitive, book loving, passionate personality , a chemical reaction ensued, and voila — weirdo who equally loves doing Saxon math and reading “Of Mice and Men” to my 4 girls.

    (Even weirder, I read OMaM to them because it occurred to me that they’ve never in 13 years seen me cry. That fixed that. )

    Ok. I’m going to go read all the articles you listed now. I’m fascinated by men who do what we do. I think we have advantages. And I’d love to encourage more.

    But, I like being a unicorn too. It feels like I’m deliberately choosing the life I want. And it’s working.

    But my default assumption in educating my 4 girls is that they are WAY unlikely to meet a man like me to marry. Like PT says, most women don’t want full time work or to be home full time, they want flexible work that has a good $/hr rate. Add that to a husband who works full time (95%+ likely) and they got the best shot at building a life that will make them happy.’

    It’s not sexist to help prepare my girls for this. It’s doing the best we can living in the world we have, not the world of epistemological gender equity that neither my garbageman or my UBER driver have ever seen evidence for.

  3. TheHolzbachian
    TheHolzbachian says:

    P.S. Although I have 2 middle school age girls, and I do agree that “contagion of stress” effects my wife more than me. I would argue that that gives me (the Dad) a stay-at-home parent advantage over her. The less stressed you are by teenager brattiness, the better you are at handling it.

    They say you can’t deduce “an ought from an is” . If this paper is right, women get more stressed. The ought PT reached is — this shows they CARE more so they should stay home. But I say, this shows Dads CARE different so have an advantage handling this!

    • Bostonian
      Bostonian says:

      Hey, RH. Nice to hear from you. Yeah, we might have crossed paths. And yeah, we should totally do coffee sometime. But I’m gonna disagree with you now.

      I imagine that your location affects your perspective. You live up on the North Shore somewhere, if I recall. For those who aren’t from around here, that’s a pretty conservative corner of small-town suburbia.

      Me, I live in the city of Boston. I homeschooled my son for six years in the city, and in those six years I met scores of homeschooling families. By my estimate, of the homeschooling families I’ve met here in Boston, about a fifth of them have the dads taking the lead. You might be a unicorn where you live, but I’m not here in Boston. If I walked down the street to my local coffeeshop right now, I’d be certain to run into at least one other stay at home dad, and maybe even a homeschooling dad. This morning, I could find one in ten minutes if I wanted to.

      The big problem I have with PT’s article is the mistaking of the way things are for the way things will be when my kids are grown up – let alone the way things have to be. It’s like concluding that because few black people work in investment banking that people who are black don’t have an aptitude for it. It’s wrong and it’s dumb, and there’s no reason to hamper ourself with wrong, dumb ideas.

      We are in a world of rapid change, and one of the places the world is changing rapidly is in gender roles. Some people might not see it, but that’s because they’re too sunk in to their own environments – and people tend to seek out environments that are familiar to them – to see the bigger picture. If we are formulating our ideas in order to guide our children, we should think about the bigger picture in terms that encompass at least three generations.

      So let’s talk about my mother, and what she was doing when I was five, the age my girl is now, and see what’s different today.

      My mother paid her way through her PhD by working as a professional mathematician. She was recruited to that job based on her aptitude. Her boss had to hide the fact that she was female in order to employ her. You want to talk about unicorns? A woman working in math in the sixties was a unicorn.

      In the early seventies, my mother was doing some graduate work at Dartmouth, taking advantage of the computing facilities. This was an age when Dartmouth did not accept women as students. My mother started doing graduate work there, in the computer center (Kiewit), scant years after Dartmouth relaxed a rule that had barred women from entering Kiewit (thank you, Sister Keller).

      Women were first admitted to Dartmouth in 1972, when I was five, and the 1000 women of Dartmouth were abused and insulted by the 3000 men for years. Has it changed? This spring, Dartmouth graduated its first majority-female engineering class. This year, Dartmouth has the highest proportion of female tenured professors in the Ivy League. Co-hogs no more.

      If we want to understand the world our daughters will live in, we should look at the difference between the world our mothers lived in and the world we live in today, and try to project that forward a little. The fact that women can go to all the Ivy League colleges today – and are beginning to dominate many of them – is a huge difference. What’s that mean for my daughter? A heck of a lot. My daughter is going to be a math genius like her grandmother; our car trip is math all the way, talking about greater and lesser infinities, negative numbers, division… she loves this stuff, and she’s five. When she’s in high school nobody is going to tell her she shouldn’t study math because women aren’t good at it, like they did my mother.

      What else was happening when I was five? Let’s see… in 1972, Katherine Graham became the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And today? There are 22 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. How should we classify the rate of increase? What’s it going to be forty-odd years from now? Higher. Bet on it.

      What else happened for women in 1972? The first two women were promoted to brigadier general. What is going on today? Women can serve in all roles in the army, including all combat roles. The first woman was ordained as a rabbi in 1972. Now more than 350 have been ordained, including a woman I went to college with. The first woman to receive an electoral vote in a presidential election was Tonie Nathan, in 1972, when I was five. How did that turn out? Did it go anywhere?

      Perhaps you can see why my default assumptions are that my daughter is likely to be able to study whatever she wants to when she’s in college, will not be restricted from finding employment in a field she likes, and will have no glass ceiling on her ambitions. Those are very different from the assumptions my mother’s parents had.

      The idea that my daughter might not be able to find a man like me to marry if that’s what she wants when she grows up seem absurd to me, just absurd. Through my words and actions, I’m helping to make that the world she’ll grow up into, and by the time she’s in her thirties, a fellow like you or me won’t be a unicorn even on the North Shore. You and your sons-in-law are going to get along famously.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        B-

        You know I am raising three daughters, and I know for certain that two of them will not be stay at home parents if the current work force model remains the way it is. I’m hoping there will be a big increase in work from home positions.

        My girls are being raised to know that they can have whatever career they want. And they will know that there are many choices they can make in life. My oldest has wanted to be an engineer since she was four and that hasn’t change 5 1/2 years later. The only difference now is that she notices the male/female ratio in her engineering and science classes. She is one of three girls in an engineering class with 18 kids. I know her really well, she is an INTJ, and she is going to most likely be a working mom.

        My youngest of the three will probably be a CEO, or a military general… something where she can boss the s*** out of people. She’s killing me!!

        I’d like to believe that they can find their special someones, and that those people will be more open-minded about care-taking responsibilities. My own cousin, who is not the most progressive person in the world, is a stay at home dad. He works around his son’s school schedule.

      • Tricky
        Tricky says:

        Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been HS my 9 year old son for 2 years now in North California. I would say 1/4 of the primary HS parents are the dad.

        The leveling of the work force is still happening. The social stigma toward men, disproportionate pay for women, and these ignorant views that women are meant to raise kids, and men only tolerate it will (eventually) be discarded.

  4. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    My sons’ mom seemed to really enjoy our sons’ young years, up to about age 10. I loved and liked my kids in those years but can’t say that I generally enjoyed being a parent. But I LOVED their tween and early teen years; that was my favorite time by far to be a dad. Totally in my element with them. My take is that this was not their mom’s sweet spot as a parent. So yeah, it’s not 50/50 all the time. It morphs and changes as the kids grow.

  5. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    The basics here ring true to me, but not the conclusion. I was surprised to read Mom’s lean in to parenthood during middle school, when maybe it would be best if the Dad’s leaned in, for all involved.

    And I don’t buy that Dad’s can’t handle social stigma thing, it is certainly not for all Dad’s, but the Dad’s I know who have done it, did not start and then cave due to social stigma. They were either all in or not from the beginning. It just seems logical that if you could socially handle staying home with a baby you could handle staying home with a teenager….caving all of a sudden due to do social stigma? After years of staying home with a baby? Seems unlikely.

  6. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    I don’t think the issue is so much a male or female way of parenting, but more how work works in the U.S. I’d be curious to see how countries with more generous maternity and paternity leave policies and access to quality childcare are facing the same issues this post is referring to. Personally I feel that we shouldn’t have to adapt to the system; make the system adapt to us. I don’t know why that was never, or stopped being the default.

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      I find this whole other countries have great maternity leave thing to be a crock. For every 1 year Sweden and Canada there is Germany and Belgium with 6 months, was 4 in Belgium until recently. And NO WHERE, is the crèche free.Maybe school starts at 2 but you’re paying for the crèche before that. Same price everywhere on earth: 1/3 the salary of the lowest paid women. Same economics everywhere. In Europe it’s not so much maternity leave as it is maternity-go-back because the system forces all mothers in the workforce.
      I read this really mean comment on the HBS website following an article on “benefits to families of working women.” The article was all tautology; benefits were things like kids more likely to imagine women working. Mean but hilarious comment: benefits of men working outside the home– roads, bridges, hospitals, electricity, cars, medicine, etc. ha ha ha.
      I heart sexism. Lots of American anti sexism crusaders are just really racist and classist. (i.e. Getting to 50/50)

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        “Mean but hilarious comment: benefits of men working outside the home– roads, bridges, hospitals, electricity, cars, medicine, etc. ha ha ha.
        I heart sexism. Lots of American anti sexism crusaders are just really racist and classist. (i.e. Getting to 50/50)”

        Is that entire comment from someone else, or is part of it yours?

        Anti-sexism crusaders are racist and classist? I think it is more likely that misogynists are more likely to be racist and classist.

  7. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Penelope, why is it gratifying for you to find research that proves men don’t want to be stay at home parents?

    Which personality types are more likely to want to be stay at home dads? My spouse has told me emphatically for years he would love to be the one who stays home with the kids! He is an ENFP, sometimes ENFJ. I’m an INTJ, and don’t ever feel like a tuned-in parent.

    • Jennifa
      Jennifa says:

      YMKAS,
      I was thinking the same thing. It seems that families at economic ends of the spectrum keep to traditional gender roles more, but middle-class people do whatever needs doing. There is no room for jockeying for gender position, its all hands on deck, fill the need, get over yourself.

      In my opinion a good many women have children as an excuse not to work, but I have not seen that come up here. And really I dare not say it anywhere else, it is not politically correct to say I guess, but it seems to fit many situations.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Wow, that is an interesting opinion! I would love to discuss that! I can’t even comprehend the mindset of having kids so one doesn’t have to work anymore! My husband was the one pushing to have kids right away, he is six years older than me, and he didn’t want to be an old man like his dad is with his second family. Fair enough, but I didn’t have the *urge* to start having babies like many others experience. Although, when I see pictures of friends babies I swear my ovaries start hurting!!!

        Tell me more about this getting pregnant to not work anymore business, I’m really intrigued. I wonder how that works in European countries with excellent maternity leave policies.

        • Jennifa
          Jennifa says:

          I have no idea about European ways. I have only ever lived here, in U.S.

          I don’t know that it is entirely conscious, but there are a few situations that baffle me. One is women who have alot of education, a PhD or something, and have never worked; go from degree to baby. Women who worked, quit when they have children, and then never go back to work when the kids are grown. Women who’s husbands are seriously struggling to meet financial needs and refuse to work. I am quite sure there are good reasons for all of these, life happens, but, like I said, I struggle to understand sometimes. But on the flip side, while women have this big…thing, ‘I am a mother’, and that gives them alot of maneuvering room in how they lead their life and work, for some reason men just don’t get the same, courtesy around the subject.

  8. jessica
    jessica says:

    Really love the commentary on this post.

    Further adding, who’s to say more employment options won’t open up for all the SAHD’s and SAHM’s over the next 20 years?

    My husband would make a great SAHD and something I tease him about (especially if it’s been a more difficult day). He says he wouldn’t.

    I think we are lucky to be able to choose how we are spending out time, especially with kids’ involved.

    In my own sample size, A majority of SAHD’s I come across are part time teachers or work from home.

    I think it’s more common than given credit here as I have yet to be in a city where I *haven’t* come across a SAHD whether in a cafe, at a park, library or class.

    Just this past weekend on a visit to TX, I chatted with an Exec mom at a random park who’s child is with the dad 80% of the time. Her comment was that it is a lot more difficult than what she does heading up a software company.

    Another mom friend in the area runs an enormous engineering company
    and her Husband stays at home. He assists her with personal accounting and auditing (quit his job when hers took off).

    My husbands’ best friend is a banker. He just took off a year to be a SAHD, a few months in and he’s wondering if he will go back to work.

    My younger sister who is on the Exec track at Textron and her husband are having these conversations now. He earns decent money but is not on the same track. He is leaning towards being the SAHP in a few years when they have children. He would be great at it.

    While it’s not the majority of parents I know right now, it’s obvious that the increased working opportunities for mothers are paving the way for families to be able to have SAHDs. I think this is a good thing, for everyone.

  9. Bert
    Bert says:

    Penelope,
    I always love reading your blogs, but I must disagree with many aspects of this post, and not just because I am a homeschooling dad. For someone who discusses generational divides so much it is interesting that you do not give any indication about the changing attitudes with millenials. I am a millennial homeschooling dad, and our family reached our decision based on evaluation of skills, abilities, and talents to make the decision that I would homeschool our children.
    The Time article on attitudes about working moms specifically does not appear to address the age breakdowns of those disagreeing with working moms, nor does it appear to differentiate the attitudes when considered if the husband was staying at home with the children full time. I don’t think this article supports the overall point of social stigma for stay at home dads, especially for the younger age groups.
    Your article that you allege shows kids require their mother during middle-school specifically appears to relate to children who are in a traditional schooling environment. This blog has spoken extensively about the burdens placed on children through traditional school and I believe that an evaluation of the children’s need for and connection with their parents, specifically mothers, during the “middle-school” years would be drastically different for homeschooling kids.
    Although my anecdotal evidence is limited, just hearing from the other homeschooling dads here is exciting. I am in the Midwest where in a group of homeschool co-ops of about 100 families where I am the only homeschooling father. So it is good to hear of the increase in numbers of homeschooling fathers. Homeschooling is definitely the revolution that you see coming in education, but I think stay at home fathers are the revolution coming in parenting. As you noted, there does exist stigma for stay at home dads. But the ones who are able to weather such stigma are obviously confident in their abilities and purpose. This in turn means you have fathers raising their children where the fathers do not feel burdened to accommodate traditional gender and social norms for themselves or their children. My parenting style and activity looks nothing like my mother, and looks very little like any other mothers I know in many ways.
    I have also been able to construct a work-from home law practice that accommodates my homeschooling for the kids. In turn, my kids are being raised with a view for all types of alternative work and life opportunities for their own future, an ability to watch their parents balance work, life, education, child-raising, and all other aspects of life thrown in to the mix. Gender and social norms provide a crutch for those lacking conviction to fall back to a set standard that won’t be questioned by the general society. Yes, women will continue to want to have and raise children, but the homeschooling fathers present an opportunity for all fathers to openly and confidently assert a desire to be involved and active in the raising of their children.

    • Rayne of Terror
      Rayne of Terror says:

      I would be really interested in hearing more about what kind of midwestern law practice you are doing from home while homeschooling. I’m a 10th yr attorney with two sons and one has asked to be homeschooled and the other we’re thinking of sending to a gifted middle school that would mean a 30 minute commute each way.

    • mh
      mh says:

      Bert, it’s not only millenials. I homeschool in Albuquerque with our nuclear physics community. Many couples here are dual PhD’s and take turns homeschooling as their kids grow up.

  10. Mom of three, sister of three
    Mom of three, sister of three says:

    It seems you’ve touched a nerve with the dads out there. As a stay at home mom, who, yes, is amazing at math, I’d like to point out to those dads that failing to recognize the differences in the sexes will harm society in the long run. Not all dads make the best primary daily care givers, but dad’s are irreplaceable.

    There is a reason moms are under more stress than dads in the home. After child birth, which only we moms can perform of course, our brains are flooded with hormones that activate the portion of the brain that controls danger and probability. We see what “could happen” in every scenario. It’s stressful to know that “Oh, gosh, he’s getting close to crawling. Don’t sit him in the upstairs when your not in arms reach because he could fall down the stairs.” Ect. That one example in millions that go through our heads daily. Those things just pop into our heads in mass and it’s due to birth hormones that take up residence preparing us for child rearing.

    My awesome husband was the one watching my daughter when she swallowed a quarter, climbed up the outside of the stair rail, and fell of the bed. My dad was watching my baby brother when he painted the kitchen with lard. I don’t think these are common with dad’s who practice watching the kids all day every day, however, that talent comes with practice. It is not due to hormones like it is with moms. I hope no one takes offense to this. Unfortunately, people take offense to truth regularly, which is also a fact that wasn’t nearly the case 50 years ago. With a change in norms often positives are unintentionally lost in the process.

    I’ve taken my babies out to events and noticed it is the little girls that flock over to see the baby. Rarely (in fact only once that I can remember) had a little boy even mentioned how cute my baby was. Little girls just love babies generally. This isn’t too say that all little girls love babies, not that no boys do. It’s just the norm, and that’s where we get the behaviors of our society.

  11. Mom of three, sister of three
    Mom of three, sister of three says:

    Also, having said the above, I do think fathers make excellent homeschool parents. The nurturing isn’t always necessary in the classroom. In fact, a silly disposition, and a firm matter-of-fact approach to education that my husband brings is refreshing to myself and the kiddos. They love his jokes and carefree approach. He’s also very good at imparting wisdom in a way that I add the nurturer can not. If I told my oldest son some of the things his father does it would break his heart. But coming from his dad it strengthens him and makes him feel determined. Like after football practice the other day. My son jumped in the car pitching a royal fit because he was only the second fastest kid in the league. He said this other kid just kept beating him. Both responses that he was given were so important. I said, “oh, sweety, I’m sorry. Don’t fuss though. You are second and that’s something to be thankful for. Think of the other kids that aren’t as fast and remember to be kind to them and grateful for what you have.” His dad said, “Boy, no. Never ever get in this car fussing. If you want to be faster than him, then work harder. Don’t fuss. Fit pitchers lose, and they will always lose until they stop pitching fits, and they get to work solving the issue.” I comfort him, his dad sets him straight. That’s so important.

    We all have such important roles in life. I have no problem with dads staying home with the kids, but I don’t think they should attempt to take on the role of nurturer, as mom should not take on the father’s role. But as for homeschooling, both parents make excellent Homeschool teachers. And when we work together we complement each other nicely.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      I suppose that I am one of those outlier women you are referring to. I am not nurturing at all, in fact if one of my kids started whining to me in the car I would have responded the same way your husband did! My husband is the nurturing one, yet I am the one that is staying at home and homeschooling. What about kids with two dads or two moms? What are you suggesting will happen to those kids who aren’t being raised with gender stereotypes? I’m pretty sure my kids are awesome, as I’m sure you think yours are too!

  12. Starrie
    Starrie says:

    My homeschooling SAHD husband is an INFJ and we have two boys (5 and 3). I think we are going to be special snowflakes and it will work out ok.

    I also think the data is skewed because of baby boomers and outdated attitudes. I think that even Gen X will say kids are better off when mom is home because our parents were so checked out that would have been the best situation. Gen X moms and dads are not as checked out.

  13. Starrie
    Starrie says:

    I want to add… I have a state job with retirement benefits and wonderful healthcare for my family. I just can’t quit, because there is just no way in heck my husband will be able to give us something comparable. But I do hear you about pulling back. It will be possible for me to go to 32 hours a week with a 20% pay cut and still retain full time benefits. So I will take this info as fair warning!

  14. Tom Harry
    Tom Harry says:

    With all the changes in online high schools in Wisconsin, it is important to be with a registered high school that is consistent in ensuring it’s curriculum is at the State of Wisconsin’s education boards highest quality. To do that we have a crack team of registered teachers who are always working to make certain that the online high school classes in Wisconsin are always exceeding your expectation.

  15. Jessica Rios
    Jessica Rios says:

    Thanks for your piece, PT. My husband is a craftsman who wants to be a Stay at Home Dad, yet we struggle with the dance between my mothering instincts (I hear her every sound, as you write…) and his challenge finding work that’s both meaningful *and* pays enough for us to live our unschooling vision.

    He moved to Northern California (where we met and live) from Sweden at age 20, and still grieves the loss of appropriate paid paternity leave. In Sweden he’s have had 6 mos off, paid. Here he returned to work when our daughter was 3 weeks old. She’s now 3.5 and he has 2 paid weeks off per year. Shitty reality for a stellar dad who’s dying to be with his daughter more.

    I’d love any insight you have about how to share the unschooling dance. Not educationally, design-wise. Lifestyle-wise, income-wise. As someone who designed my own major in college, then became a serial social entrepreneur and now a leadership coach, who’s enamored with children, it’s natural for me to want to lead this venture and to try to lead our family towards a lifestyle that supports our vision.

    I empathize with all the parents (mostly mothers) who’ve told me they’d love to lead unschooling lives, but feel they can’t. SF Bay Area cost of living doesn’t allow it. And even with the capacities I’ve developed over the years in innovative entrepreneurship and creating a self-directed life… Damn, it’s tough. I empathize w/them. We’ve not landed yet… And I’m scared of the possibility of sending our daughter to school in less than 2 years. It’s just so, not, our vision… our values.

    Thanks again for writing. What mothers hold, the enormity of it, is so undervalued in our culture. Largely because we don’t stand up for its worth, our worth. I appreciate you.

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