The Second Parent

10 01 2013

Friends of mine decided, when the husband was offered a package at work, that he would take a year off and be the stay at home parent while his wife went back to work to re-establish her career.

While he loved staying home with his sons, he found it incredibly lonely. None of his friends were stay at home dads, and in his sons’ school classes, the were no stay at home dads. The mums at the school gate didn’t really connect with him – it was a Mother’s club, a women’s club. His presence put a damper on the conversation, a stilted politeness. They could hardly bitch about their husbands and sex lives with him present! (OK I admit that is a stereotype, made to illustrate the point.) While he loved staying at home and loved the time with his sons, he was relieved to go back to work and have adult conversations again.

So in a society where we lobby for equal career opportunities, equal pay for women, why is a man’s (and presumably a family’s) choice to stay home not supported by the community?

Fathers report being treated as the “second parent” by schools, medical practitioners, hospitals, childcare providers. And as a mother, I also find that frustrating. While I do want to be contacted and involved in decisions affecting my children, why should the father not also be contacted.

As the mother of sons, this would be an excellent example for my children to see, to grow up to be good men, involved and caring for their children.

And I am sure for fathers, it is disrespectful.

“Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.” Margaret Mead
Every time we liberate a man, we liberate a woman. Mudmap

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