The Rise of the SAHD

More and more men are staying at home with the kids while their wives work outside the home, and the New York Times is ON IT.

When people ask what he does, Mr. Langley could say artist — he gives the buildings and landscapes he paints expressive personalities of their own — but he has just begun trying to sell his work. Other fathers in similar situations say they often tell white lies: They are retired, they are consultants, they work at home.

Mr. Langley generally goes with “stay-at-home dad.”

“That’s what I call myself,” he said over lunch at a restaurant in Rye, the other tables filled with groups of women. “I wouldn’t say I like it.”

What response does he get?

“There’s usually a long pause,” he said.

The article focuses on women working in finance — an industry where one salary can often support an entire family, making the stay-at-home thing actually possible — where mothers with stay-at-home spouses working are still less than 2% of the workforce. Since 1980, however, the numbers have increased tenfold.

Wall Street moms aside, the best part of this piece are the dads in the comments, who point out that 1. try living off one salary when you aren’t making millions, 2. SAHD-ing can be isolating and SAD without the social support women often have when they stay at home, and 3. it can be even tougher to reenter the workforce for men, as women taking time off to be with their kids is more socially acceptable.

Either way, I want a SAHD. SAHH? Preferably an independently wealthy one, so I don’t have to work either. And instead of a SAHM and a SAHD we will just be people who hang out, with their kids, and somehow don’t have existential crises. It will be great.

Photo: AdmlCrunch

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11 Comments / Post A Comment

2. SAHD-ing can be isolating and SAD without the social support women often have when they stay at home, and 3. it can be even tougher to reenter the workforce for men, as women taking time off to be with their kids is more socially acceptable.

Not to downplay the fathers’ complaints but… this is true for women also? Like it’s more socially acceptable for women to stay home (arguably for patriarchal/bad reasons) but lots of stay at home moms feel isolated or bored, and it can be hard for them to re-enter the workforce too.

That said, the line about Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the article’s first paragraph made me cringe. NYT, what are you doing.

Meaghano (#529)

@apples and oranges Ha, I glossed over that Breakfast at Tiffany’s thing but on second look it is, yeah, quite the journalistic flourish.

And yes totally re: women and didn’t mean to implicitly minimize!

gyip (#4,192)

@apples and oranges I didn’t read it to say that SAHMs don’t get bored or isolated, but it’s easier (not easy … difference) to reach out and find groups, etc.

It may be that many moms who stay at home may also benefit from extended family structures (who can come help, provide advice, etc.) … often found in more traditional families, the ones who may not have lots of SAHDs in the first place.

Also, while it’s not the worst burden in the world, there are mom groups that are often not open or hostile to a dad who can’t find a “dad” group.

Yes, the reason why there’s such an acceptance and extensive social lay-out for moms because women were *forced* to stay home for so, so long, but it doesn’t change the fact that it does help moms who want to stay home now.

Sometimes, it’s frustrating to know that SAHD issues may seem to get more spotlight if just because of their novelty (if not also gender reasons), but I try to remember it’s good that dads are getting this choice too, which means everyone is getting more choice (hopefully). Society has been after getting men to be equal parents for so long (not to minimize dads out there, now and before)!

Allison (#4,509)

@gyip The patriarchy hurts everyone!

garysixpack (#4,263)

@apples and oranges
“Not to downplay the fathers’ complaints but… this is true for women also? Like it’s more socially acceptable for women to stay home (arguably for patriarchal/bad reasons) but lots of stay at home moms feel isolated or bored”

Like you said, it’s more socially acceptable and much more common for a mom to be the stay at home parent. So there are all kinds of support structures and activities for the mom. Mother’s clubs are ubiquitous, and dads tend to not get repeat invitations to play dates. Not to mention it’s just odd for a dad to be hanging out with a bunch of moms.

I know something about all this, since I’m a SAHD.

Kthompson (#1,858)

I prefer to be a SINKMAN: Single Income, No Kids, Man Ain’t Necessary.

Meaghano (#529)

@Kthompson lol, preach

I don’t think it’s easier for ANYONE to reenter the work force these days. But yay for Stay at Home Dads! I wish we could afford for my husband to stay home.

E$ (#1,636)

I’m cringing at all the “Why would anyone want to work in finance/ live in NYC/ have this life?” going on in the comments section. I feel like the same arguments are made to suggest that most women COULD stay at home and wouldn’t HAVE TO work if they just lived in a certain way.

I’ll never give up on my dream of being a SAHD. D optional.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@stuffisthings I’ll never give up my dream of having a house spouse, d optional.

… rimshot

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