I’ve really been interested in the topic of stay at home dads, or fathers who are the primary caregivers, and at the least are co-nurterers. And now that we are in transition to a new state and new jobs, I’ve currently finished up my job and am home full-time so I’ve been thinking about this even more. Last year, when my wife and I had our first baby we had to re-work our work schedules in some drastic ways. We did this for a few reasons:
- We did not want our baby to be in full-time day care, and if we could help it, we didn’t want her to have to go at all. We have nothing against day care, but that was the choice we made.
- We both have to work to sustain a living in Los Angeles, so we didn’t have the option of us quitting our jobs, though my wife went from 5 days a week to 4 days a week.
- We thought it was important that we both played primary roles in our daughter’s life, and we were excited that I would have so much time with her since some fathers aren’t involved very much in their babies lives, or are unable to be involved.
I’ve been exposed to a lot of things that have really challenged my views on the makeup of the traditional family (i.e. the Bible, M.Div, MFT, marriage, reading, experience, counseling couples, etc.) recently. One of the books that I have found particularly challenging and helpful is Families at the Crossroads: Beyond Traditional & Modern Options by Rodney Clapp. I’m currently re-reading the book and will be sharing some thoughts with you, as well as hoping to get some feedback. But the Amazon review summarizes it nicely by saying:
“Scant decades ago most Westerners agreed that . . . Lifelong monogamy was ideal . . . Mothers should stay home with children . . . premarital sex was to be discouraged . . . Heterosexuality was the unquestioned norm . . . popular culture should not corrupt children. Today not a single one of these expectations is uncontroversial.” So writes Rodney Clapp in assessing the status of the family in postmodern Western society.In response many evangelicals have been quick to defend the so-called traditional family, assuming that it exemplifies the biblical model. Clapp challenges that assumption, arguing that the “traditional” family is a reflection more of the nineteenth-century middle-class family than of any family one can find in Scripture. At the same time, he recognizes that many modern and postmodern options are not acceptable to Christians. Returning to the biblical story afresh to see what it might say to us in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Clapp articulates a challenge to both sides of a critical debate.A book to help us rethink the significance of the family for the next century.
I know plenty of fathers who are stay at home dads currently. Some are in graduate school, so their wives work full-time. So they pull double duty as student and father and the wife pulls double duty as “breadwinner” and mother. Some fathers I know are married to women who make more money, so they have decided that the father would stay home instead. Others is a conscious decision to divide the caretaking responsibilities between them. Some fathers I know work from home and have flexible schedules, so they stay at home, and raise the children while they work.
I am going to continue this series in the upcoming weeks, but let me ask a question:
Are you a stay at home dad? What went behind that decision?