I was catching up on my dad news over the weekend and enjoyed something extremely relevant on Rebel Dad. I am approaching my two year mark of at-home daddying. One topic that I think about quite often is what it might be like to start working again after my hiatus from teaching in public school. Would I be able to be the same passionate teacher as before? How would I effectively juggle work-life and parenting? This NPR piece, Stay At Home Dads Grapple With Going Back to Work by Yuki Noguchi, follows a troop of at-home dads in Arlington, Virginia. Several of the dads in this play group ponder work-related topics including: what it might be like to start working after their absence from the office for a while, concern about “letting their skills atrophy or putting a big gap between jobs on their resume, and if you should include the “at-home daddy gig” on the resume (a dad of twins mentioned the extensive prioritizing and multi-tasking skills he masters on the job).
For me, one surprising twist to this segment was the discussion about the number of stay-at-home dads. According to the Census, “in 2006 there were 159,000 fathers with working spouses who stayed at home to care for their families, up from 105,000 in 2002.” This well-known statistic (used in numerous at-home parenting articles) is often debated because it is a mere fragment of the overall picture. Fortunately, NPR turned to respected research guru, “Aaron Rochlen, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Rochlen, who studies gender roles and psychology, says many dads with working wives try to work part time or consider themselves “consultants.” But many are, in fact, the primary caregivers to their children. By that expanded definition, he says, there are about 2 million at-home dads.” A number substantially larger than what the census data tell us!
Do you often wonder how you will make your comeback into the workforce after being an at-home parent? Do you believe the skill set used for your at-home parenting role will help or hinder you at work? For those of you that made the transition back into the workforce, how did it go?