For centuries, we have been locked into the gender roles of men as providers and protectors and women as homemakers and caregivers. But the 21st century has seen the beginning of role reversal within the family. Men are choosing to stay home and become house husbands. The West, especially Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, have accepted this new concept of stay-at-home husbands. Asian and Indian families are still a long way from that. Muslims believe that it is not Islamic for a man to assume the role of a woman.

Reasons for change:

• As middle age approaches, many men find themselves trapped in stressful corporate jobs. They yearn for less demanding occupations and believe that housework and childcare are easier and will leave time for recreation and hobbies.

• There has been an unprecedented increase in women in the workforce. Higher education and professional skills have shattered the glass ceiling so that women can take on jobs that were once the prerogative of men. In many cases, they may receive higher wages than their husbands. Sometimes women are the only breadwinners. Feminist ideologies, the availability of contraceptive methods and the influence of the media have also contributed to the rise of working women.

• Unemployment and loss of administrative jobs for men.

• The wonders of telecommunications allow men to work from home and thus guarantee a regular payment package. Hours and work patterns are flexible.

Advantages of being a Full Time Parent:

1. This eliminates the need for home help which is becoming expensive and unreliable. There are many cases of maids starving, sedating or mistreating children. Some time ago, an Indian newspaper reported that a working woman came home in the middle of the day to find her child missing and the maid happily watching TV and chewing on peanuts. On questioning, the maid said that she had sedated the baby and given it to a beggar, for a rent of 100 rupees a day.

Thefts of food, money or jewelry have also been reported from time to time.

2. It is not necessary to leave children in child care centers during the day.

3. Parental involvement in the parenting process is said to improve children’s physical, emotional, and behavioral development. They become more emotionally balanced and develop better coping skills. They grow up to be confident and self-assured.

4. Mothers can continue their careers without feeling guilty that children are not well cared for. Because they are free from stress, they can do their best work. When work is done, they are relaxed enough to spend quality time with family and make up for their absence for the day.

5. The spouses become experts in managing the kitchen and discover their latent culinary talents.

6. Men are likely to spend frugally and balance the budget efficiently. Women are sometimes prone to overspending on things they don’t need or hoarding more than they need.

7. Housework does not discredit masculinity. Men can still provide leadership in the family.

Likely disadvantages:

– Women may be forced to work outside the home against their wishes. This shouldn’t be an opportunity for lazy husbands to sit at home and do nothing.

– Men have fragile egos. Your value is linked to your ability to meet the financial needs of the family and to be in a position of authority. Vicky Larson says, “If their given identity is threatened, they may overcompensate with alcohol, drugs, risky behavior, anger, or become sexually aggressive. The status of breadwinner is an important component of masculinity. Economic dependencies threaten masculinity”.

– The feeling of isolation, loneliness or boredom can lead to romantic relationships on the Internet. Porn addiction cannot be ruled out. Christian Munsch, a postdoctoral research fellow, concluded that the more a man relies on his wife, the more likely he is to cheat.

– Incestuous behavior with children is a possibility. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

How to be a successful and happy househusband:

The decision must be yours. It must be planned and well thought out. The pros and cons must be considered. There must be an understanding and agreement between husband and wife regarding childcare and household responsibilities. The couple should be able to weather criticism from family and society.

James Williams says, “Household responsibilities are not demeaning or undesirable, but opportunities for loving service.”

Housework is not easy. They can be difficult and exhausting. Sometimes boring. But it will make men realize that women have stuck to this exercise for years, without whining or receiving any consideration from their husbands. It could bring a greater appreciation of the role of housewives.

However, the rewards of stay-at-home parents outweigh the drawbacks. Participating in the lives of their children, seeing them grow, being available and accessible, generates a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. Full-time dads need to show their love and affection for their children just like moms do. They must learn to verbalize their feelings. A hug or a kiss will say a lot. At the same time, there should be no excesses.

Men tend to be rigid and authoritarian. This would be counterproductive. Boundaries must be defined and communicated with love. This gives children a sense of stability and security.

Pushing a young child in a stroller or shopping for groceries or attending PTA meetings alone can lead to sarcastic comments. A confident parent will know how to deal with such situations.

When fathers replace mothers, it is imperative that they take a personal interest in their children’s lives, their school activities, their friends, their interests and hobbies. They should also learn to recognize anger, hurt, or frustrations so they can provide emotional support. The bond becomes stronger and parenting becomes a joy.

Parents do not need to isolate themselves from friends and become slaves to the home. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, they can meet friends or socialize, or even invite them over for a cup of tea.

Being a full-time parent is not a piece of cake. You need patience, love, firmness and consistency.

As Oscar Wilde said: “Content…comes only to the one who works and wins; to the one who performs the task at hand and reaps the satisfaction of a job well done.”

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