Background into my own immediate family
My dad was the stay at home father for the most part.
Granted, he worked part time and my mother didn’t work at all, but she was a struggling, more-than-full-time adult student who had a lot of learning problems in college with reading & studying to get her way through an honours program.
My brother on the other hand, cannot stand being at home with the kids 24/7.
He hates baby talk, he hates not being able to converse with the kids like they’re mini adults, and he feels like he’s in baby prison.
Ditto with my sister in law, and ditto with my MOTHER who is the grandmother now.
My mom on more than one occasion has said: I. Hate. Being. With. Kids. 24/7. Without. A. Life. And. Identity. Of. My. Own.
Exactly like that…. while plotting the death of Dora the Explorer.
It’s not that she hated us kids, or hates her grandkids (on the contrary!!), but if she had a choice to have a life and work outside of the home, or stay at home, she wouldn’t even have to think about it — she’d never want to be a stay at home mother.
So when the “job” for being the caretaker for the grandkids came up, my mom was begged, pleaded and almost forcibly coerced into being the caretaking grandparent, and into giving up her full-time job.
She held firm like a stubborn mule & shoved my father into what she considered to be a fiery pit of hell of grandchild caretaking, in which he would be toasty warm rather than feeling chained to a pit and sweating bullets, the way she would.
At first, my brother & sister in law were horribly unhappy with the “second rate” choice of grandparent, but after the first 6 months, they realized that my father was PERFECT for the job.
And now, he’s the “stay at home” grandparent for all of their rugrats, while my sibling & his wife works.
He couldn’t be happier with the situation.
He LOVES being with the kids, 24/7, even though a lot of the days it’s exhausting, difficult and he wants to just pass them off and go to sleep.
The pros, outweigh the cons for him.
Personality is the determining factor
I really do believe it’s more personality than gender that determines whether you could or want to be a stay at home parent.
I just have to look at gay and lesbian couples to see that it isn’t so cut and dry with gender.
I have a cousin who is a lesbian, and while she’s the one carrying and about to give birth to their baby (artificial insemination), her partner is the one who wants to stay at home with the baby of whom she has absolutely no genetic connection with.
It’s just a question of their personalities.
As for more examples of how NOT black and white it is, my second brother is the same way as my father — he’d rather stay at home than work, if he had kids.
And my sister would rather go to work than stay at home with her kids.
(Maybe we’re just the Opposite family)
What about the whole mothering instinct?
You could definitely make the argument that there are many women who as mothers, feel more of a physical connection to the child than the father (hey, she carried the baby for 9 months!), and therefore would more likely but not necessarily always feel like the one who should stay at home.
But I still stand firm in believing that it is not an intrinsic gender-given right to want to stay at home with your kid.
A father could feel just as much, or even more of a connection to his child than the baby’s mother; it is totally possible.
As for me: I am not cut out to be a stay at home parent, if given the choice
I am probably the product of my mother’s example, but I would NOT want to be a full-time stay at home parent.
I’d enjoy it for the first while, and then come to resent it.
BF however, says it would be the best thing in the world to be able to spend so much time with your kids & it’s all roses and rainbows for him (even with the reminders of the crying, the constant pooping and lack of real, adult conversation).
So if push came to shove, I’d shove him into the “fiery pit of childcare taking”.
So what about you? Would you? Could you?
(And please leave your gender when making your civil & polite comments)