What’s up with stay-at-home dads?
Traditional gender roles are being challenged with more men choosing to stay home.
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When our son was born one of the questions we got asked quite often was what we were going to do with him when I went back to work. And when we said that my husband was resigning to look after the baby we got many surprised looks and reactions. Especially since we’re Muslim and this is not the most traditional of set-ups. But it’s the one that works for us.

And while many thought that it was cool, a lot more people thought it was weird. It seems the older generation is too stuck in societal gender roles to even consider the fact that a father is capable of caring for his child for more than a few hours.

“I wouldn’t be able to let a man look after my child”, said one aunt. The only thing my husband can’t obviously do is breastfeed. Everything else he is great at. There’s no better person to take care of our son than his father. It made coming back to work so much easier knowing that he was at home with someone who had his best interest at heart and who knows all his idiosyncrasies.

“But he’s working from home, right?” said my uncle. This is the number one comment that annoys me. Looking after a baby is a full time job, you guys! Where exactly is he supposed to find the time to work from home when on some days even managing to eat is a task? But what rankles even more is that if we decided that I was the one to stay home, no one would be expecting me to work too.

Because the home is a woman’s place, right? And raising children is a woman’s job. A father can surely not be trusted to raise his own son. What a ludicrous notion! To all of that I say, in what century are we living in exactly?

The trend of the stay-at-home dad is on the rise. According to Employ Men there are about 60,000 stay-at-home fathers in South Africa. While this number is quite low, with South African men still set in their traditional roles, it’s nice to see that more and more fathers are feeling confident enough to realise that staying home doesn’t make you any less of a man.

How do you feel about men staying home to raise their children?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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