Millennial Dad: Changing The Narrative

By: Marla Bautista


Throughout history, the thought of a man taking care of his children in the home was unfathomable. We were taught that if a man didn’t work, he didn’t eat. This statement is a Bible verse that has been interpreted in various ways for centuries. In the Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, the King James Version, it reads:

“10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

While the context in which this verse was written doesn’t directly apply to fathers caring for their children, the verbiage has often been interpreted and relayed as such. 

Times have changed, Millennial men have taken on the taboo topic of stay-at-home dads and normalized being the primary caretakers of their children. Similarly, mothers have taken on more roles outside the home.

They are pursuing positions in the corporate world previously held by men alone. According to a Pew research study conducted in 2017, the percentage of stay at home fathers increased by nearly 3% from 1989 to 2016. The rise in these numbers is due to many factors, such as (but not limited to); having a young child in the home, rising costs of child care, and one income being enough to suffice for the family’s needs. 

Men have successfully taken on the role of predominant caregivers, and companies are starting to take notice. Huggies recently released a campaign with a father and child featured on its products. Other companies like Mission Critical and Tactical Baby Gear, have created carriers and other baby products, specifically designed with fathers in mind. This isn’t just a trend. It is an evolution of equality that we so desperately need. Some of the myths we were conditioned to believe about stay at home dads are destructive, like; He’s home because he can’t find a job or lost one, he must not be a masculine man, or he doesn’t want to work. These negative assumptions have been upheld and have contributed to the forced gender roles in our homes. However, as times continue to evolve, so do we. 

Fast Forward to 2020. Life looks different for all of us. Families today require more emotional support now than ever. The substantial weight of raising children isn’t just dumped on moms anymore. It has become a shared and celebrated responsibility between parents. We can begin to reshape our view of stay at home dads, by supporting them. We can do this by:

  • Interacting with them at community playgrounds 
  • Inviting them to playdates 
  • Choosing not to degrade or minimize their decision to be a stay at home parent

Society’s view of stay at home dads won’t automatically change. But, it will help start the conversation about stay at home dads and why their physical presence and interaction matters within families.

Society’s view of stay at home dads won’t automatically change. But, it will help start the conversation about stay at home dads and why their physical presence and interaction matters within families. 

If you are a Stay at home dad, there are ways you can build awareness and foster support from others. Stand up for yourself. No, you don’t have to explain why you are a stay at home dad, but you shouldn’t stand by and let anyone berate you either. Connect with other parents, moms, and dads alike. Attend playdates and other parent and child activities. 

We need to rally around our millennial fathers and show them, they are loved, appreciated, and supported by us. Whatever the reason they are a stay at home parent, it is okay. As long as their family is safe, healthy, and happy, who are we to infringe. #SupportDadlife

Source:

 Livingston, G (2018) Stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five U.S. parents


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