Stay-at-home dads are still the minority. But check out the playground and increasingly there, among the moms and the nannies, are the pioneers in this new generation of involved fathers. When a family faces the question of whether a parent should quit working and stay home with the kids, it's not always a given that they're only talking about mom.
Is your family ready for Dad to be Mr. Mom? Consider these questions.
1. Whose income is greater? If there's an obvious salary difference, that may help make the decision easier. When the dollar figures are close, you may also want to consider benefits and long-term job prospects.
2. Are both parents being realistic? Does Dad know what it's like to be home all day with the kids? Is Mom prepared for the burden that comes with being the family's breadwinner? Be sure you've both had as much firsthand experience as possible before making a commitment.
3. Can Dad count on emotional support? It's a big change. Are there other Dads to bond with? Can he count on support from friends and family to make this transition? Lack of support isn't a reason not to go for it, but Dad should be prepared for either eventuality.
4. Is Dad considering a career change? Sometimes, the idea of staying home with the kids sounds like a good way to break from the corporate rat race and start up a new project from home. While that's not a wholly bad idea, Dad needs to be honest about it if this is his hope. That way, both parents can make the necessary arrangements to be sure that child care and household chores are covered.
Consider doing some networking before you make the decision. In addition to other dads you may know in your community, the Internet has become a virtual meeting place for many fathers seeking support and advice for their child-care choices.
Children can benefit greatly from the undivided attention of a parent, whether it's Mom or Dad. Make the decision that works best for your family and that gives you the best sense of satisfaction.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.