For most people when you think of the primary caregiver in a family situation, it is the mom that comes to mind. While that might be the case traditionally, these days, there’s been an increase in the number of dads that have taken over as the one who stays at home and watches the kids. They now form almost 20 percent of all parents who work from home. Although this may not be an occupation that one plans for when they started college, nor is it possible to go online and take classes, it often becomes the case due to family circumstances. Training is 100 percent on-the-job, and work can be as stressful or as fulfilling as a regular more conventional type profession.
The fact is that men can do as good a job as women in this role. Here is the situation is explained by one stay-at-home dad who happens to be a former US Marine:
1. Can you tell us something about yourself? Where are you from? What is your age? Does your job entail?
I’m 31 years of age and live in Arlington Virginia having grown up in the Washington DC area. I’m both a husband and a father whose full-time job is taking care of his two daughters. This I’ve been doing for about five years.
2. Is being a stay-at-home dad something that you always wanted and how did this come about?
My wife and I decided that for financial reasons it would be best for me to become the prime caregiver for the kids. This is not a problem since I was raised by a mom who was a licensed home daycare provider and having the other kids in the house was like having eight siblings. Being raised in that situation gave me great training for taking care of young kids.
3. What did you study at school? What was your job before becoming a stay-at-home dad?
Before this, I served in the Marines and had the good fortune to be assigned as a Marine guard at several US embassies abroad. I was actually assigned to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv which was a great experience, and I spent time at the embassy in Warsaw which introduced me to European living. During that time I also worked on my undergraduate degree specializing in criminology. By the time I had completed my studies I had actually decided that I really wanted to try something else.
4. How do those studies help you with your present career?
The discipline that I learned while in the Marines has been helpful to me to teach the kids to make the beds and clean up after themselves. Also, the physical training that I received has kept me in shape so that I can play with my daughters on the playground and chase them around. Taking them for a walk and pushing a stroller is a good exercise for me that keeps me in shape.
5. Does being a stay-at-home dad make you feel emasculated?
My wife and I feel good about what I’m doing, and I keep in good shape, so I don’t feel emasculated. When I tell people what I do, they either say “I would like to do that” or “I couldn’t do that.” But I have found that most people can be trained to do whatever they want if they apply themselves. And most could do this job well if they tried.