The recent New York Times article “Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers” focused on the shift in traditional parenting roles, highlighting all the chores stay-at-home dads take on along with child care to allow their spouses to focus on their careers.
However, the article lacked perspective on what I see as a significant benefit to being a stay-at-home dad or mom – the ability to be more available to and supportive of one’s spouse and his or her career.
For example, normally I wouldn’t consider my freedom to join my wife on one of her frequent business trips as a benefit of my at-home status. However, my wife is starting her fifth month of what has been a difficult pregnancy thus far. While the physical demands of her business travel aren’t normally challenging, the grind of her job — including hours of meetings, memo revisions, and office politics — takes its toll.
Throw into the mix her having a persistent cough and an inability to take medication to deal with the discomfort, along with the idea of having to fly and spend the night alone, and you can understand why I recently volunteered to travel with my wife. Throughout the trip, my wife thanked me several times for accompanying her, telling me how comforting it was to have me with her on the trip and how much harder it would have been without me there.
The New York Times article also fails to mention the peace of mind a working parent receives knowing that the primary care given to his or her children comes from a parent, not a day-care worker, nanny, or other strangers (for lack of a better word).
One thing that has made, and continues to make, my role as stay-at-home dad easier is the considerable endorsement and support I get from my wife, and the relief and comfort she gets knowing that at least one of us gets to watch our son grow and develop at this very early age. It also helps to hear how my efforts at home are transferring to benefits for my wife in the workplace.
About the author
Edward J. Remache is a writer, researcher and, most recently, a stay-at-home dad. He was born and raised in NYC and now resides in the West Village.