The Executive Mom's Answer to Childcare: The Stay At Home Dad.

This generation of working moms has a childcare option almost unheard of in previous decades: the Stay At Home Dad (playgroup code name “SAHD”). According to a Census Bureau report, full-time stay at home dads took care of 189,000 children in 2002, up 18 percent from 1994. These are married fathers with children under 15 who are not in the labor force primarily so they can care for kids while their wives work outside the home.

It has been said many times in many contexts that a family with young children can only handle one and a half high power careers. There are those who believe that at least one parent should have a somewhat flexible work schedule so that someome is there to cover sick days and attend school plays.  Why should it always be the women that make the professional sacrifice and scale back their careers? How great that more and more dads are the ones “opting out.”

The reasons dads are staying home are compelling, including a reluctance to use day care, an increase in women’s earning power (three out of ten women out-salary their husbands) and a desire by fathers to be actively involved with their kids.  Let's celebrate this new generation of dads.  They showed their progressive colors in a recent poll in Parents Magazine.  Asked how they would feel if their wives out-earned them, 46% said they would quit their job, 41% said she already does make more and only 13% said they would be uncomfortable.  

A relatively new phenomenon, stay at home dads are lucky to have a plethora of resources available to them.,where "a father puts the stay-at-home dad trend under the microscope," and are popular SAHD-devoted sites, loaded with blog entries, articles and networking suggestions. Peter Baylies, who hosts the, where the tag line is "men who change diapers change the world" even wrote a Stay-At-Home Dad Handbook.   Indeed, there is a proliferation of stay-at-home dad lit.  Check out Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Dad, Diary of a Mad Househusband , How Tough Can it Be: The Trials and Errors of a Sportswriter Turned Stay-At-Home Dad and What Every Woman Needs:  Househusband, just to name a few.  

My stay at home husband also does a great job with our kids. However, he also plays golf at least 2 times on the weekend. I find he has had enough of the kids by the time I get family trips that don't include golfing or friends of ours and their kids...nope. Weekly housekeeper..yep. Dry cleaning bill huge...yep. Pizza and Chinese delivery weely...yep. Plus did I mention twice a week for 5 hours the kids go to mother's day out. He likes projects so we just built a huge house. Now he is working on bossing the pool builder around and making a backyard retreat. I don't know about anyone else, but my stay at home husband is on my last nerve.


My husband has been a SAHD since our first daughter was born, 10 years ago this May. (Wow, 10 years!) Anyone who thinks that a working mom's guilt is lessened because the dad is home full-time is sadly mistaken. Just because the dad is there doesn't mean us working moms are any less guilty about working. In fact, I think it's worse, I have no one to share the guilt with, but I do have someone to add to the guilt. The good part is, we have switched roles 100%, I don't even know how to work our washing machine (love that part!), and I don't do any cleaning (he does have a housekeeper). Guilt or no guilt, I have the waaaaay easier job. He has to deal with two girls who manage to create some major drama everyday. In fact, we love our SAHD so much we put it on his license plate! Only downside, he gets to hang out with the hot moms all day:-)


My husband has been a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) for the past 3 years, but we try to split most of the evening and weekend chores. He makes dinner, and I feed the baby. We both give the kids their bath. He walks the dog, while I help with the required reading for my 1st grader. He does the laundry, but I sometimes fold the clothes or spend my Saturdays cleaning the bathroom. I'm putting in a full day in the office while he's been dealing with temper tantrums and kids fighting over computer time. Regardless, we are both exhausted by the end of the day. Thank God for Date Nights!


I'd like to see more discussion of the working moms who take the evening shift (and usually the weekend shift too). I have a stay-at-home husband who is wonderful, but he expects me to take over completely nights and weekends so he can have a break. Meanwhile, for the couples I know in more traditional situations, the dad plays golf on the weekend. Fair?