Seeking Stay-At-Home Dad... Positions Being Filled Now!

stay-at-home dadThe dismal job market is taking its toll on us all. But job losses have been disproportionately hitting men, who are more likely to work in down-and-out industries such as construction and manufacturing. Calling the recession a "Mancession," as many have, is an overstatement. But women represent half of the employed workforce for the first time.

The changing workplace is reshaping households as well. In many families, women have become the primary earners, and men the primary caregivers. They're taking on more household responsibilities both by choice and necessity. From childcare to kitchen chores to errands, the home is becoming the man's domain.


How much of a long-term influence this job market will have on gender roles remains to be seen. But if the three fathers and husbands I spoke with are any indication, unemployment is giving many men a valuable opportunity, not to earn, but to grow.

David Chun (above), 37, lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son. He was laid off from a product management position at a music technology company in February 2009. Rather than dive headlong back into the rough waters of the job pool, he became a stay-at-home dad. "It just seemed natural," he says.

Chun was used to seeing his toddler only at night and on weekends; his last job kept him out of the house from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m most weekdays. But in unemployment he's taken on an equal share of the child-rearing. As we spoke, two-year-old Everett played in the background, occasionally interrupting, as toddlers do. On the days his wife works, Chun watches his son, goes to the grocery store and the dry cleaners and does what needs to be done around the house. On the days his wife is off, he looks for work and pursues personal and freelance projects.

On-duty as dad he has little time for anything other than parenting, which has been an adjustment. "For my own sanity I need to see other people," Chun said. Lacking a private workspace in his apartment, he sometimes decamps to the local Starbucks when his wife is home. The separation helps him to be productive.

Chun feels that he could be a full-time homemaker if his family could survive and prosper on one income. "I just needed to gain a certain level of confidence in myself." Over time he did.

Chun recently landed a new job in his field, though, which will mean many more hours away from home again. The additional paycheck will be a welcome change. But he is happy for the time he had at home with his son. "[Everett] will only be a toddler a short while longer," Chun says. "I got to see him change from day to day, which is something most dads miss."

Aaron Artessa, 27, of Brooklyn, NY became a stay-at-home dad by choice. Formerly a designer in the book industry, Artessa quit his job to stay home with his now one-year-old son, Henry. "I can work from home and find freelance work," he said. And "my wife made about twice my salary." it made more sense for him to take over the household duties, and he says, "I really wanted some quality bonding time with my son."

He spends his days jumping back and forth between household and professional responsibilities. Chores and Henry's playtime take up much of the day. When Henry naps or goes to sleep for the night, Artessa does what work he can, answering emails, looking for work or doing research. "It's hard to get anything done," he admits.

Artessa says that being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest thing he's ever done. "The worst of it is the lack of adult connection," he says. "Work provides this kind of intellectual stimulation and I miss it." He's looking to return to a full-time job. But like many unemployed and under-employed men, he finds his job prospects limited.

Still, the choice he made has its upside: "I love getting to know my son," says Artessa. "I love having the kind of relationship that I can understand his cries or little noises. I think a lot of dads of previous generations were almost scared of their children."

Mark Dali, 37, lives in Catonsville, MD with his wife and son. Previously employed as a field marketing manager for a global advertising agency, he became a stay-at-home dad after being laid off. "I consciously decided to devote my time at home to raising my son."

Cooking, errands and playing with two-and-a-half year-old Aidan leave little free time during the day. "I'll put the TV on to Nick Jr. or Disney channel for a half hour to an hour to give me a break to check email, Facebook or shower finally," Dali says. Job hunting has to wait for the two days each week his son goes to daycare. Though it's a significant expense, "we feel it's important for him to play with and interact with other kids his age," Dali says.

Dali also misses the adult interaction that comes with an office job. "Without adult conversations, I feel a little regression in my behaviors every so often and hope it doesn't negatively impact my social skills for either interviews or the daily life after getting a job."

But he relishes his time with Aidan (aside from the occasional toddler temper tantrum). "I teach him about honesty, morality, humor and sarcasm, having fun and being good – and the right way to have action figures drive slippers that look like cars and chase each other around the carpet." The price – worrying about where the next paycheck or mortgage payment will come from – is worth it.

Traditional gender roles are fading when it comes to the logistics of running a household. Families that endure a layoff and get by on one paycheck (or no paycheck) understand this. And they do what's required to survive. Men thrust into the role of homemaker adapt. Many embrace the job and the opportunity it provides to spending fleeting time with their kids. The work is hard and not financially rewarding. The hours are long and social interaction with peers is limited. But these stay-at-home dads cherish the experience.

Next: Changing Gender Roles in the Workplace >>

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Morgan

You tell em JC...there's nothing like a man who can saddle up and ride the trail. You know what I'm saying here--I totally respect your ability to take care of your family and any guy who's man enough to trade places and do the real work of raising kids!

March 02 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kara

Who said anything about being a feminist? I believe that everyone is equal. Do not spout about GOD. I feel bad for your future or current husband. Good LORD what burden and responsibility you place on his shoulders. As a family it is a CO-RESPONSIBILITY! A man and WOMAN should SHARE the burden of raising and supporting children. Its just YOUR excuse to stay complacent and lazy. LADY LIKE? HAHAHAHA! I do not address women as MANLY... I guess you missed that in "How to be a Lady 101." I'll pray for you.

March 01 2010 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Squiggles

I think this development is good for men. It shows more men hands-on what women have to deal with all day as stay-home moms. I think men who have been in their wives' shoes ultimately will respect and appreciate their wives more than guys who have never stayed home.
@kristin What kind of BS are you spouting? Sure, women do want a guy who is hardworking, but working hard isn't just limited to the workplace. Success comes in various packages, in different places. I'd take a man who can take care of his children and his home over a guy who thinks his duties end as soon as he comes inside the house anytime!

March 01 2010 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rose Marie Heard

I think it is great that some men are finally finding out that it isn't easy to be a stay-at-home parent. They now know that it isn't eating candy and watching soap operas all day on the boob tube.
The writer only interviewed with the dads that only had 1 child. Maybe next time talk to the dads with more than 1 child.
I say more power to the stay-at-home dads. This country needs more "real men" like those guys, the kind that knows how to really take care of the family.

March 01 2010 at 3:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dulcenia

Look, I think everyone is idiots. This day in fking time, BOTH parents need to work. It takes two to work, provide for the family and pay bills. Not just the momma, not just the daddy, but both fking people. I am a mother of 3 children, I work so hard to try and keep a roof over their heads, but guess what...It's only my income that is coming in the household just because their daddy is lazy as hell and don't want to get out and find a job. It's not because he would rather spend time with them than work, it's because he is lazy as hell. I work, take online classes, and take care of 3 children basically by myself. What does their daddy do??? He sits his lazy ass at the house and all he does is feeds the kids. he don't spend quality time with them, he don't bathe them, he cleans the house on occasion when he feels like it...If shit Ain't done when I get in from work then I have to do it along with school work and trying to get some rest. So all of you men out there and all of you woman who thinks the man is suppose to stay home, you are all idiots!!!!! Men are fking lazy as hell and I know from experience.

March 01 2010 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LuckeeK7

This, ladies and gentleman is (if she hasn't already) the next women who is going to be filing domestic violence charges, or a baby momma, or sticking her finger down her throat to loose weight..... because she only hangs out with those "real men" who know how to treat a woman.

March 01 2010 at 1:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Spike

Mans Man, Womans Woman... Definitions stemming from each persons own persona of what roles are suppose to be coming from their own childhood. Need to remember "back in the day" women were meek, they were hit, they were to stay in the kitchen. But not all did. And just as the saying goes "the times are a changing" For those who say we stay at home dads, (and yup i'm proud to be one,) are wimps, lazy etc. Its only said out of their own insecurities. They know they could never handle it. And that fear is what drives them to put others down. I for one am not lazy, Laundry, cleaning, raising a child, cooking, etc. Those are not things to belittle. If so, then you macho men are belittling the females in your own lives. My Girlfriends biggest regret is what she misses out cause yes she is the main income for our family. She admits she is jealous of the time I get to spend with our son. Its not an angry jealousy but an endearing one. The roles have reveresed. Man works, womans stays home, then it was Both parents work child is a latchkey kid, now its man stays home, woman works. Hopefully (knock on wood) It goes back to both parents so my child can have a better home, better bike, better clothes etc. For right now he has a father there for him where alot of dads are evening and if thier lucky a weekend dad. We stay at home fathers get a special insight with our kids that deacades ago mostly mothers got to experience. First steps, first words (even if it was mommy lol) are things I will cherish all my life. I will know about a job prospect within a week. I look forward to the income and yes the sanity of interacting with adults on a daily basis lol but I will be sad that my best buddy and I will not have our daily routines. I am lucky as are the other stay at home dads. But right now my son is dancing to the music on the TV and plsying with his stuffed animals and I'm gonna enjoy it as long as I can. Just for information sake, I am an accountant/ bookkeeper with a DJ business, a wedding consultant business, and clothing design business on the side. I'v been a bouncer for clubs, Ive worked graveyard, swing shifts, I've had the pleasure of bankers hours. So no, not all stay at home dads are lazy or wimpy. Walk a mile in our shoes, hell, just walk an hour in our shoes, then we shall see who the wimp is.

March 01 2010 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Logan

Welcome to America. a place where we are so gender focused that we place jobs on people. Now what if a man make less than his wife? She has to quit her job to rear the family, after all her quitting means losing 2/3 income. He has to bust his ass for nothing when his wife who like what she do to make sure "society still deem him a man?" Get that BS out of here! Lets just say a man is better at rearing children than his wife. I mean, not every woman bind with her children as men do, do we burn her at the stake? Call him a sissy for simply doing the logically thing? Or, what if we have kids who blow up the school because mama was not as endearing as daddy? I mean, daddy is a better mommy than mommy. i mean, if we take the gender off of things, we began to realize not every family is this cookie cutter idea. that every family is different and that no matter what happens, it is what is best for the family, the children and the spouses financially, mentally, emotion and physically. In my family, we stayed traditional to a point my mother straight out of high school started her family right off the bat. After the 4 of us kids, when my father lost his job, there was no money, especially sending my older brothers to college or even high school. he was unemployed, we lost our house and had to sacrifice so much for nothing, even though my father picked up three other jobs in the past 10 years. but i did spend time with a man i barely knew before he lost his job. i learned my father is a great man who worked hard and who love us so much. he helped me with work, and taught me, A GIRL, how to fix a truck. and he always helped me fold laundry and was a better cook than my mother! but then my mother got a job and bought in extra income and it was so much income that my father went back to school and tried again. now we have two incomes and the house runs so much better. they can name their hours and i see both parents. i have such a great relationship with my father, its so cool.

March 01 2010 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex

Kristin, you are very ignorant. Do you even have a husband or kids? If you do, I feel sorry for them. As a family, you need to think about what is best for everyone as a whole. You need to make sacrifices for your children. The best person to raise children are their parents. May it be by choice or job loss, having a parent stay home is the best. If it happens to be the man, so be it. My husband has been staying home the past 2 years and he is doing an awsome job with our son. We are blessed to have this unique opportunity to have my son's #1 role model spend lots of time with him.
Once you have children, it's not about you, it's about them!

March 01 2010 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Snoop

Excellent post----Re: Laid off men and their adjustment to being unemployed. I quit a corporate position---Now a PI and running my own business. Love it. I am the Boss, Manager, Honcho, Top Dog, and a good Snoop.

March 01 2010 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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