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"Stay at home dads" on the rise, but social stigma remains

06-17-2013 14:42 BJT

By CCTV correspondent Karina Huber

Sunday was Father’s Day. And in the US, more parents are redefining their duties. Census data says the number of so-called "stay at home dads" has more than doubled in the past decades. But as CCTV’s Karina Huber reports, it isn’t easy for many fathers to shake the social stigma that comes when staying at home with their kids.

It’s early morning in Manhattan - time for a playdate in the park for the members of NYC Dads, a group of stay at home fathers.

While Joe McLaughlin and his daughter Mira mingle with the other men and kids, Joe’s wife Elizabeth is at work. Joe is one of 3.5 percent of men in the US who parent from home. Twice as many as in 2001.

Joe does the bulk of the caretaking, cooking and cleaning in the home. Elizabeth, a former lawyer turned executive coach, is the family’s breadwinner. It’s a set up that works for them.

Joe said, "I think the rewards are fantastic. They’re amazing - being able to be with her - yes and the smiles and all of that."

Elizabeth Cronise Mclaughlin, working mom, said, "It was pretty much a no-brainer for us because Joe’s income where it was would’ve equaled childcare and we knew very much that we wanted at least one parent to stay home for a certain period of time."

Economics are driving the rise in stay at home fathers. 28 percent of married mothers in the United States make more money than their spouses, a trend linked to the fact that more women than men are now earning college degrees.

CCTV correspondent Karina Huber said, "Joe says being a stay at home dad doesn’t raise any eyebrows in New York City which tends to be more progressive but statistics show in other parts of the country, that are less metropolitan, Americans are uncomfortable with the shifting roles. "

50 percent of those surveyed by the Pew Center think children are better off if mom stays at home and doesn’t work. Only 8 percent feel the same way about stay at home dads.

Lisa Brateman, relationship specialist, said, "They’re thinking well if he’s staying at home, that must mean he can’t get a job. What’s wrong with him Why is he taking the easy way out Which clearly is not the easy way out because that is one of the hardest jobs there is."

Elizabeth says she wishes she could spend more time at home bonding with her daughter but disputes the idea that Joe is a less capable caregiver than a mother.

Mclaughlin said, "All I have to do is look at my daughter and look at how she thrives and how happy she is and look at my husband when he interacts with her to know that that kid is A-OK.

We’re only bound to see more stroller toting dads in the future as growing numbers of mothers say they want to work full time and dads say they want to play a more prominent role in their children’s upbringing.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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