The Washington Post released a story written by Billy Doidge Kilgore, an ordained minister, who decided to become a stay-at-home dad.
“I felt confident about the decision because it was in the best interest of my family,” Kilgore said.
He made the decision with his wife after she had time off of work for her pregnancy. They preferred to have one parent at home rather than send their child to daycare and Kilgore wanted to support his wife in her career, according to The Washington Post.
“At-Home Dad: any father who is the regular primary caregiver of his children, usually while his partner works outside the home as the family’s main breadwinner. Also called a ‘stay-at-home dad’ or ‘work-at-home dad'”, according to the National At-Home Dad Network.
Identity issues are listed as one of the main challenges faced by at-home dads, according to the NAHDN. Society generally views household chores as work that belongs to women, challenging the manliness of fathers who choose to work primarily at home.
“Despite the fact I am prioritizing my family’s needs and enduring the grueling work of childcare, this is not enough,” Kilgore said. “In my mental fog, my notions of identity turn on their head. I am confused by the strange reality of performing demanding and difficult work, work I love, yet feeling inferior and unproductive. I find myself full of gnawing doubt and fear and insecurity.”
Antonietta May, a senior studying English, said having her father as a main caregiver was a positive experience for her. Her dad would tell stories as he drove her and her twin brother to school and practice. Many of these stories, May said, involved a hamster detective.
“That’s why I write,” May said. “Because he taught me to love stories.”
May said that because of the odd work shifts of her parents’ musical careers, they split the chores evenly between themselves. Her dad was chiefly in charge of cooking meals and cleaning the house.
“He did just as much as Mom did,” May said. “He did more than Mom, most of the time.”
May said that due to her mother’s illness, her dad continues to do much of the housework for their family.
“We wrestle with basic questions,” Kilgore said. “Why does it matter which gender stays at home to care for a child? Why are men and women not encouraged to share the burdens of child-rearing? Why should a man feel inferior for providing childcare?”
The masculinity of a father is not lessened by his decision to care for his children, according to the NAHDN.
“Rather, we believe he is never more of a man than when he is being an involved father,” according to the NAHDN, “Furthermore, we believe that being an at-home dad is not an abdication of a man’s role as provider for his family. In fact, we believe that stepping away from the full-time workforce to raise one’s children can be the most valuable and meaningful way a father can provide for his family.”
Men and women are equally capable of being caregivers and the unique contributions of both genders should be valued, according to the NAHDN.