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The Rise of Mr. Mom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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In the past few decades women have smashed the proverbial “glass ceiling” that once kept them confined to their homes. Not only have women become a major force in the workplace, but women now make up 56 percent of the college population, according to the Public Broadcasting Service. This is all great news for women. However, it does put some men in a unique position. When a woman works (and possibly earns more), is it okay for her husband to stay home and take care of the chores and children? I say, why not? I have more respect for a man who chooses to care for his kids while his wife earns the dough than a man who isn't comfortable enough with his masculinity to admit that raising children is often the toughest job.

With the economy as bad as it is and more people losing jobs, improvisation has become a necessary part of family life. When Bob Lineralli lost his job and couldn't find work, his wife landed a full-time job. The couple had no other option but for Bob to stay home with the kids. Though it may have been an adjustment, both seem genuinely happy with the arrangement. Bob says he is thrilled to take part in activities with his children that he otherwise would have missed. His wife is equally pleased: “Since it's their dad who's home with them, I don't feel bad. I would have had a harder time if the kids were in day care.”

People like Bob are an inspiration to other fathers who may be better off staying at home with the kids than trying to prove they are the man of the house by being the sole provider. For Bob, the shift was made easier by understanding family and friends, who praised his decision.

The sad truth, however, is that that is not always the case. In our culture, if a man isn't bringing home the bacon and is instead cooking the bacon, he is somehow considered less masculine than a “working” counterpart. Not only is that ridiculously sexist, but it is completely unfounded. There is no such thing as a “real man.” And I'm sure if you asked anyone who has held both an out-of-the-home job and the stay-at-home one, they would be quick to tell you which is harder.

While women have been applauded for their efforts to enter the workforce, it seems men face tough opposition to staying at home. Missouri State Rep. Cynthia Davis proposed a bill to provide stay-at-home women with $600 a year per child in scholarship money. Notice I said women. The bill knowingly excludes men because Davis claims women are “built-in nurturers.” Well, if that's the mentality she is instilling in her children, I have no difficulty believing that her parenting credentials are well below those of most men.

I am not advocating that all dads quit their jobs and force their wives to go to work. This arrangement is not for all families. It is simply an idea that can be put to use, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Women can work; men can work. Women can take care of children; men can take care of children. While the idea may seem basic on paper, dads who actually accept the challenge of raising their kids must deal with the sexist old-school attitudes of some in our society. Childrearing is a challenging job that deserves equal respect, and this trend is a positive sign for true gender equality in America.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Felicity said...
Aug. 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm:
That's really well-written. Me and my siblings had the option of having both parents home because my mum didn't work and our dad worked from home. Having my dad work from home also gave my mother the opportunity of going to Uni and finishign her degree if she wanted.
 
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