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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

24-hour Daddy duty

I've been thinking about at-home dads. Many struggle with the same issues at-home moms are dealing with when it comes to self-identity and balance. Surprised?

I wonder if that balance is even more elusive for dads because they already face the extra challenges of overcoming stereotypes around men traditionally being the worker bees while women are traditionally the ones home with the kids. Or perhaps it is more acceptable for dads to want to keep working even though they are the full-time caretakers because they are already breaking that traditional work/family mold.

While thinking about these at-home fathers, it brings me back to a friend of mine (yes, it's Scolding Friend again) whose husband is an at-home dad...the only at-home dad I know.

It's been almost a month since my talk with her, and I keep getting drawn back into the same part of our talk. She told me that her husband struggles with the same issues that I write about (not giving up on what one does professionally just because we are primary caretakers). To overcome that frustration, he is trying to keep making art and holding art shows when he can. And she is very supportive of his goal that will hopefully find a balance between work and family. But it is silly and whiny for me to want to keep writing and working if I don't have to. Why is that? Of course men want to hang onto the working part of their lives. Women shouldn't work in the first place, so why would they *want* to work?

It is so messed up. The whole idea of what mothers and fathers could or should do is so ingrained in our society. Even though Scolding Friend says she understands my desire to work part-time, mostly she thinks it is ridiculous. Double standards all around, and I just guess it's still really bothering me.

Geeky Mom pointed me to a couple blogs written by at-home dads, and I've subscribed to them to get a man's perspective on finding that balance.

Elizabeth over at Half Changed World kindly pointed out that the daddy blogs that Geeky Mom pointed out are actually not "at-home" dads, rather they are academic dads juggling family and work. I am making an effort to find more blogs by at-home dads.


  1. Hi. Actually, the guys that GeekyMom linked to aren't at-home dads -- they're both academics, doing the juggling family and work thing. For the at-home-dad perspective, check out and look at the list of dad blogs on his blogroll.

    I don't know your scolding friend, or where she's coming from, but one possibility might be that she's making a distinction between wanting to use your professional skills so that you don't lose that part of your identity and wanting to find a paid job. While it would be nice to find that ideal 15 hour a week job that provided both money and recognition, they're hard to find.

    You might be interested in reading Anna Fels book "Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women's Changing Lives." (I wrote about it at: Warning: it's pretty darn negative about at-home parenting.

  2. Here's an at-home dad who seems to be worrying about some of the same issues that you're thinking of: