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Woman Argues Stay-At-Home Dads Have It Harder Than Moms

Photo: George Rudy / Shutterstock
father and son laying on the floor looking at each other

Being a stay-at-home mom is no easy thing, and those women receive our applause for a reason. But what about dads? 

People rarely talk about stay-at-home dads and the difficult role they take on. One very possible reason for this is that they are fewer in number and therefore less visible. One woman thinks this very fact does a disservice to dads everywhere.

A woman who is married to a stay-at-home dad claimed we are ‘failing dads who want to stay home with their babies.’

One woman posted on Reddit to share her feelings regarding stay-at-home dads and how they are treated by society. 

“Whenever you see conversations about going back to work after having a baby (including here on Reddit), most conversations focus on how difficult it is for mom to go back to work and put their baby in daycare,” she stated. “And that’s understandable considering the biological experience that the mom had to produce the baby.”

   

   

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“But, in my experience, a significant number of dads want to be with their babies all the time too,” she continued. “Unfortunately, in most countries, paternity leave is horrible, so dads go to work after only a few weeks of having their new baby.”

In addition to bad policies for paternity leave, the woman also pointed out the way society views men and their accepted role as providers.

“Combine this with the fact that in our society men are told to be providers, and are made to feel less manly if they don’t provide for their families,” she said. “Many women also don’t find men who want to be stay-at-home dads attractive, which is quite sad.”

The woman asserted that gender equality is a two-way street. We cannot only achieve it by allowing women to take on more traditionally masculine roles. “If we truly want gender equality, we should have women who are sole providers for their families and men who are full-time parents without society judging them,” she said.

She concluded her post by saying that she is the “proud wife of a stay-at-home dad who I love more than anyone in the world.”

Despite this woman’s assertions, more dads are staying home now than ever before.

The Pew Research Center took a look at differing trends among stay-at-home parents between 1989 and 2021. They found that, over the years, stay-at-home moms have decreased in numbers while stay-at-home dads have increased.

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“Dads now represent 18% of stay-at-home parents, up from 11% in 1989,” according to the data.

Still, the societal stigma remains. Men are expected to provide for their families, not to stay at home and take care of them. In many ways, men have fallen victim to gender stereotyping just as much as women have.

Studies back this up. A press release from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh stated, “Researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Promundo-US found that men who harbor more harmful attitudes about masculinity … also tend toward bullying, sexual harassment, depression and suicidal thoughts.”

Commenters didn’t agree that men had it tougher.

Fellow Reddit users didn’t agree with the woman saying life was harder for stay-at-home dads. 

Some pointed out that men staying at home are, in fact, growing in number. “At any rate, the number of stay-at-home dads out there is increasing. So maybe we’re not doing enough for dads who want to be primary caregivers, but it is progressively getting better, so we must [be] doing some things right,” one person pointed out.

   

   

“We fail the women too, so, good luck dads, welcome to being a stay-at-home parent, I guess?” another said.

While this woman’s intentions were admirable, and she made a fair point, we simply can’t ignore all of the hardworking stay-at-home moms out there. However, a little shake up of gender roles wouldn’t hurt anyone.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.