So many misconceptions swirl around Stay-at-Home Dads. As the workplace is becoming a more even playing field for women, many couples are finding themselves in situations where having the dad stay home with the kids makes more sense.
With social media at an all time frenzy, people are free to share their thoughts instantly with the world. As thoughts are shared, debated and morphed, over time certain ideas seem to stick. As the number of Stay-at-Home Dads (SAHDs) has slowly risen, a few myths have begun to form.
I have decided to take a look at some of the most common myths I have encountered.
MYTH 1: SAHDs Can’t Dress Their Kids in Matching Clothes
I think this one might be a hold over from the idea that a husband can’t dress himself without his wife picking out his clothes. Unless you are part of some bizarre high-fashion child runway show, picking out an outfit for a toddler is not rocket science. Most of the time babies are wearing rompers and onesies…there isn’t even anything to match, it’s just one piece. The idea that a man cannot properly dress a child is just silliness.
MYTH 2: SAHDs Cook Their Kids Spaghetti O’s and Hot Dogs Every Night
Some of the greatest chefs in the world are men, so to assume a Dad cannot cook a nutritious meal for his family just because he is a man is non-sense. Sure in the general population some people are just better at cooking or enjoy it more than others but that doesn’t mean all the lousy cooks became Stay-at-Home Dads.
MYTH 3: SAHDs Can’t Keep A Clean Home
I know quite a few Stay-at-Home Moms (SAHM) whose houses are disgusting. I also know several SAHDs who are borderline OCD when it comes to keeping a clean house. Every person is different with the amount of dirtiness they are comfortable with, gender has little bearing on this.
MYTH 4: SAHDs Are Essentially Babysitting Until Mom Gets Home
There has been quite the push lately for dads to spread the idea that “Dads don’t babysit, they parent.” It’s incredibly naive to think that a father cannot be a good parent by himself. Are a mom & dad team better than one parent all alone? Of course! But the idea that SAHDs just barely keep their kids alive until mom gets home is not founded in any truth.
MYTH 5: SAHDs Can’t Nurture Their Kids Properly
I’m not sure why it is assumed when the child of a SAHD skins their knee the dad yells “suck it up and rub some dirt on it you pansy.” Thirty years of bad sitcoms have conditioned us to believe men don’t have feelings and are incapable of expressing any emotion. Again, on an individual level, you may very well come across a SAHD who isn’t a very good nurturer, but the same holds true for SAHMs as well.
MYTH 6: SAHDs Were Forced Against Their Will Into Their Role and They Want to Get Out
There are so many reasons why families decide to have the Dad stay home that it is silly to attempt to generalize the reason, but for some reason this idea seems to stick. It’s possible this was the mindset of the first SAHDs decades ago but it certainly isn’t the case today. So many SAHDs love what they do and enjoy getting to play such a vital role in their kids’ lives.
MYTH 7: SAHDs Are the Only Dads Properly Involved With Their Children
This myth closely resembles the Mommy Wars debate as to whether a working mom can be a good mom or not. Some of the greatest dads I know leave the house everyday to earn a paycheck, but when they return they are loving, nurturing positive role models for their kids. SAHDs are getting a lot of buzz lately but they certainly aren’t the only dads out there who are busting their humps to be great fathers.
On an individual basis it is certainly possible that one or more of these myths may be true for a dad, just as they may be true for a mom. It’s time to stop assuming dads are incapable of being good parents and focus on encouraging and supporting all parents who are trying their best.
This piece was originally published on Sunshine Dad.