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A Stay-at-Home Dad Talks Money

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Seeing as men have the financial advantage in marriage these days, we wondered when the scales would tip in the other direction in terms of childcare. One SAHD Momlogic reader gives us his two cents on the matter.

man doing housework

Momlogic's Vivian: A few weeks back, we posted some interesting statistics cited in a USA Today story, stipulating that marriage is more financially advantageous for men than women.

Because more women have college degrees these days, the study showed how "men are more open to marrying women with more education and earnings." But as women are gaining on men in terms of earnings, stay-at-home dads, according to the Census Bureau, only clock in at a mere 25% -- and that's a guesstimate.

One momlogic reader, a stay-at-home-dad we'll call Mike from Arizona, is an attorney married to an attorney who decided to be the one to stay at home when the second of their four kids was born fifteen years ago.

"We were both practicing law at the time. She got this big promotion at work and it reversed our status in terms of income," he said. "I'd always made a little bit more money but after that, things changed. She thought about staying home but her personality doesn't really lend itself to that -- she'd go crazy. So we agreed she'd stay home for her maternity leave, then I'd take six months off -- three paid and three unpaid -- to see how things would go. It would be up to me if I wanted to return to work. I tried to do some work on the side during that time, but I found it really difficult, so I decided to stay home and raise our kids. The bottom line was I could've been fairly successful had I kept working, but not as successful as my wife."

But if you ask Mike if he feels he's gained a financial advantage by being married to a successful woman, he'd politely beg to differ.

"Anybody who thinks their wife making all the money doesn't effect their marriage is lying. I don't care how great your spouse is or how great you perceive yourself to be. It effects you on some level," he confides. "We have fewer money issues than some couples, but I will tell you I'm reluctant to spend money on myself or anything I want. I've felt like I have to ask permission to buy things. It's nothing she's ever said, it's just the dynamic. The reality is, I have very little control of the overall situation because I don't make any money."

He cites occasional pangs of social displacement as another side effect of his life path. "There weren't any stay at home dads I knew when I started. I know about three or four now, but I don't really have as much in common with them. I'm more of an auxillary member of a mom group. They often ask for my take on things, but I really do understand how women feel when they worry about the relationship. When my wife and I go to functions, I feel like I'm invisible half the time. It's a real blow. Fifteen years ago, I was working so that would never have happened. I felt my function had legitimacy. I'm actually a more interesting person to talk to at a party then I would've been back then. But because I'm not working, people think I'm not really interesting".

Our candid convo left me with one clear consensus: It's very possible, that many feelings and behaviors long attributed to SAHM's should be attributed to the job, not the gender.

next: Jim Moret Over James Ray Any Day
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cimmer February 8, 2010, 6:07 AM

And so since the job of homemaker is as frustrating and unfulfilling for men as it has always been claimed to be for women, shouldn’t we oppose househusbands as much as we have opposed housewives? Shouldn’t we be demanding their “liberation” just as the liberation of housewives was sought?

Kimberly Schaeffer February 8, 2010, 1:54 PM

I think it is more difficult for stay at home dads by far. The fact is the fathers and grandfathers of generations past were for the most part the “breadwinner.” I have found that sometimes the wives of the stay at home dads secretly blame the husbands for not making more money than them. There is an added stress because the wives know that the financial future of the family falls on her shoulders and she can’t lose her job. Imagine if she has a dysfunctional work environment. And what happens if she comes home and dinner isn’t done, the baby or babies aren’t clean, the house is a mess, laundry isn’t done, and he has been home all day? Can she complain? How would he feel being the man of the house hearing her complaints? What if she starts feeling like the man? What if he resents her because she can get escape babyland while he is left behind playing the part of the nanny and housekeeper? I suspect overall it does have disadvantages.

Kimberly Schaeffer

kay August 11, 2010, 4:13 AM

i believe stay at home men and husbands is a great idea…
i love my long lunches and office parties without my husband

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leftrgght012 January 25, 2011, 5:22 AM

We need to follow certain rules and regulations to avoid these kind of situations, thanks.
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