If I asked you to imagine a typical traditional happy family, what is the first image that would pop into your mind? Perhaps, programmed by years of social stereotyping, we would probably picture the following:
The breadwinner husband with a six-figured annual salary, and a smiling stay-at-home mother, who despite running after a toddler and the wailing baby strapped on her shoulders, is impeccably dressed, right from the floral frock she wears down to the gorgeous pearl set around her neck.
Now imagine what would happen if you flipped this so-called “traditional and typical” family image on its head, and ended up with a wife who is the primary [or even sole] breadwinner and a husband [not in a floral frock, hopefully!] who’s taking care of a baby while, say, cleaning the house or folding laundry.
A stay-at-home husband? Outrageous!
I’ve asked a lot of people about this hypothetical scenario. The general consensus has been that it sounds unrealistic, comical and perhaps even displays shades of a marriage that isn’t functionally accurate. At first, I was amused by the initial responses. However, as more and more people chimed in with similar responses, the amusement slowly changed to anger; perhaps just as you’re feeling right now. Sadly, this cuts a very sorry image of the society that we live in; one that, despite all their educated decisions and tolerances, refuses to acknowledge that there is a wave of role-reversal in process.
Over the years, I’ve been asked plenty of uncomfortable questions; some just plainly intrusive, some others seemingly harmless but bundled neatly in a tone that I can only describe as mocking. The query of “how it felt to be stay-at-home dad” was one of the latter. Initially, I was surprised and rather shocked. But, as it went on, I started to take it in my stride and would often respond with a sarcastic reply. The truth, though, is that I am not sure that there is a definition that can do it justice. I have to be honest and say that it isn’t something that I’d fantasised about as a young kid. So, it wasn’t like I woke up one day and decided that I wanted to be at home while my wife went to work. It sort of just happened.
This snippet is part of my article that was first published in the November 2015 edition of Complete Wellbeing Magazine. Click here to read the rest of the article, which is now live on their site.
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