As society evolves in India, the concept of a stay-at-home dad has slowly made its entry into life here. Though stay-at-home dads are seen only in urban homes now, family specialists and counselors feel that this is only the beginning of the trend. As women slowly step into traditionally men-occupied roles, it is only natural that men too step into women's shoes.
Let's see what being a stay-at-home dad is all about.
What is a Stay-at-home Dad?
The option of becoming a stay-at-home dad pops up when a couple decide to have a child. Many parents realize that it is vital for a parent to be around during the child's growing years. It has always been the woman who had to sacrifice her career to stay home, but recent times have seen this scenario change for the better. As a career has become important to both men and women, they now discuss who should stay home and take care of the child.
More men are open to the idea of being a stay-at-home dad today. This could be for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is that the wife usually has a better pay package and it would be more feasible if he left his job instead of her. Some men are quite comfortable taking up the duties of a homemaker and therefore take up this option, logically.
Stay-at-home dads are not always unemployed. Most stay-at-home dads take up or work for their old company on a freelance basis. And the 'stay-at-home' period is only till the child is reasonably independent. Besides, this is a great opportunity for dads to give their own start-up a shot. Being a stay-at-home dad actually throws up a lot of free time which can be utilized in constructive pursuits.
Pros and Cons of being a Stay-at-home Dad
The biggest advantage of becoming a stay-at-home dad is that there is more money inflow than if the wife had stayed at home. Being realistic about household finances and expenditure is far better than being too egoistic to step into a woman's role! And being a full-time dad can be a very satisfying experience, perhaps more than the current job.
Another advantage is the savings on day care. If the wife decides to continue with her job, the child has to be left with day care centres and creches all the time, and these places are expensive. Plus the child begins to feel disconnected with his parents. Being a stay-at-home dad ensures you are always there for your child and also save a lot on babysitters and day care.
Being a stay-at-home dad means that the father gets to spend quality time with his child. It was always the father who got the blame for being away with work, but this way he can be an integral part of the child's growing years. A unique bond is formed between the father and child, and it goes a very long way.
Being a stay-at-home dad is never a compromise. People today have realized that managing a home is a truly challenging job. Besides, it is not that much of a sacrifice if it lets the wives have a far more fulfilling career.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of being a stay-at-home dad is the career gap which occurs. Employers may have inhibitions about hiring a person who has a 6-8 year gap in his career. And once the children have grown up, there is not as much to do at home, and getting a job is the logical option. Finding a job after the stay-at-home period may be a bit of a task.
Society is still coming to terms with the concept of a stay-at-home dad. Though becoming a stay-at-home dad is a logical and rational one, many people still find it difficult to accept this unconventional lifestyle. Especially in India, many people still feel that it is absurd for a man to stay at home and not work. Though this mentality is changing, it is doing so at a very slow rate.
Another issue with being a stay-at-home dad is that the child's relationship with the mother may suffer a bit. It is possible that the child's peers will have a closer relationship with their moms and he may feel left out. But this is highly subjective, as mothers tend to make up for the time they spent away from their children, once they are home.
So go ahead and give it a try if you feel up for it. You may find that being a stay-at-home dad is far more fulfilling than it appears to be!