I know what it is like to be a career driven female, but I cannot pretend to know what it would be like for a man to stay at home raising children. I thought it would be wise to have a male's perspective. I sat down with a very well respected student from my law school
that had the privilege of being a stay at home dad for 3 years. The insight he gave me was honest and inspiring.
The reason my peer decided to stay home with his daughter was because his wife was finishing medical school, starting her residency, and would be working ridiculous hours. They decided, as a couple, it would be best for him to put his career on hold, and stay home a couple of years. They were apprehensive about putting their newborn baby in daycare 45+ hours a week.
As I talked with my fellow student
, I began to notice a common trend. One parent usually chooses to stay at home with the newborn child, while the other parent provides financial resources. The main concern is usually the hours the baby would spend with someone other than the parents. This is not a new concern, but traditionally, the mother would forfeit her career to take on this responsibility. Now, men are choosing to make the sacrifice instead. I wondered further what the benefits of being raised by either parent would be versus alternative child care.
In his particular situation, the benefits were immense. At 15 months, his daughter had a 300 word vocabulary. She could sight read over 400 words at 3 and began to read books at 4. She just turned 6, is in kindergarten, and reads at a 3rd grade level. She also has never had an ear infection. She plays the piano and received a perfect score at her last Hymn Festival. She is a confident, intelligent, well adjusted kid. "Now is that because I stayed home with her or because she received superior genes from her Mom? I'll assume it was a combination of both."
It seems the results of a parent raising their child during the most delicate and formative years are extremely beneficial. However, sacrificing a career for the immense benefits of the child must come with a trade off
. When I asked him if his domestic position was challenging, he was not afraid to answer candidly. He said that being a stay at home dad required adaptation and creativity, but that he wouldn't trade the time with his kids for anything in the world.
A recurrent theme in our conversation was his overall plan. He accredited the strength of his marriage and security in his position as a stay at home dad with his goal of going to law school. He said he always knew he would be attending law school once his wife's residency was over. Being home with his child gave him an opportunity to do all the research he needed to find the perfect law school. He said that he never could have completed such an application process if he didn't have the time at home to do the research. He holds a strong belief that eventually a man has to work. He feels, and I agree, "That no matter how liberated or intelligent a woman is, at her core, she will lose respect for her husband if he doesn't work for more than a few years". He feels the key to a successful marriage, and especially his marriage, is a wife maintaining respect for her husband.
When asked if he would recommend staying at home he replied, "Sure, so long as the marriage is strong and the period of time is limited and well defined. A man also needs to work for his own self esteem and to maintain his self worth."
Contributed by: Natalie Lynn Fears