Quitting is Not Fitting.
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
Would your husband quit his job if you earned more? Would you if he did?
In a 2005 Career Builder survey of fulltime working dads with children under 18, almost 50% answered yes.
This year, only 31% did.
Are dads less enthusiastic about staying home, because more men have tried it now, and know the drudgery involved? Or does today’s lower percentage reflect widespread financial insecurity? Perhaps both.
Like a lot of husbands, mine fantasizes about staying home. About once a year the subject comes up, usually because of a lull at work or some frustrating situation there. When I push and ask what he imagines his days would be like, his answer always goes something like this: well, I’d work out for two hours every day and play tennis 3-4 times a week. I’d see my friends all the time. I’d read more.
Hmmm…is my consistent answer. Because not once does he mention reality: doing laundry, fixing our three kids the delicious nutritious organic homemade meals he fantasizes about, teaching reading and math skills and helping with homework…driving them to endless playdates and basketball practices…settling 500 petty disputes a day.
In other words all the stuff actual stay-at-home parents actually do.
What my husband means (and perhaps some of those dads surveyed) is this: if I had more resources I’d quit my job. If we were more financially secure I’d pursue my dreams and hobbies. But that is not the same as staying home to care fulltime for children.