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The Tentacle


Stay-At-Home Dads Are Okay, Too!

September 18, 2002

Bethany Stevenson makes some valid points in article about the importance of parents and specifically stay at home parents, but she holds onto the outdated concept that only women are the ones who should stay at home.

During a time when we could afford it, I played the role of "Mr. Mom" and it was one of the most fulfilling times of my life, and there are many fathers like me now who wish they could afford to stay at home along with many mothers who wish that they were the ones bringing home the big paycheck so that their husbands could stay at home.

Why is this true?

It is because there are many men who are better equipped to stay at home than their partners and their partners would readily agree.

It is sad when someone, especially an otherwise obviously intelligent woman, continues to hold onto the concept that the only place for a woman is at home. The are many potentially strong leaders and successful businesswomen trapped by this concept both at home and in the workplace.

I found it interesting when my then wife-to-be and I went to Engaged Encounter, in the evening sit-around-and-chat session, every couple in the room said that if possible whichever parent has the lower salary at the time, that parent should be the one to stay home. The older couple who was leading the weekend and had been leading these weekends for decades admitted when I asked that this was a change from just 10 years before, and that was 10 years ago.

The answer we all gave was then, and still is, the more enlightened and practical approach if a couple has the opportunity to take advantage of it.

It pains me to see any woman who is the obvious bread winner in the family give up much more than what the family will gain by her leaving her career to stay at home because some twisted ethic says that it is beneath the man of the family to stay at home.

Any decision as to whom should stay at home in a healthy family is reached with collaborative and nurturing discussion between equal partners who take all the factors into account. When that approach is taken almost always the better equipped parent mentally, intellectually and emotionally is the one who stays at home.

Yes, parents both male and female are important to the proper raising of children, but it is a shared job with a vast number of non-gender specific roles.

It would be nice if we could all afford to have someone at home, but our house-holds and our economy have made that prohibitive. Also, to continue to hold on to the concept the only place for a women is at home allows for less enlightened people to use that rational to abuse women and treat them no better than chattel.

We can do better as a nation by our children and our mothers, sisters and daughters if we would use our God-given good sense and free will to overcome this pre-first millennium thinking. "That is the way it has always been done" is a poor excuse for continued passive repression.

Eric Percy, Frederick


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