Social Question

Unbroken's avatar

What is the general consensus on Mr. Mom's?

Asked by Unbroken (10274 points ) February 13th, 2013

This may have come up before. I don’t remember.

Say there is a male who never works, his wife works overtime to pay the bills. He takes care of the parenting, pta’s tutoring carpooling and the cooking. The house work to a degree though not the most diligent.

I know I personally would not accept this living arrangement. But I would not be a house wife either.

I know a person in this situation. Everyone generally looks down on him. It is a marital problem esp. since the kids are both school age now.

I see how low his confidence is. I see how people slightly look down on him. This is another sexist issue? To me it is an unfair division of duties to both parties. But a man should have as much right to be householder as a female right?

Alright… just a jumble of thoughts… go with it.

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23 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I know a couple of Mr. Moms and they did a good job of it. He lost his job and while she worked he did the cooking and after school childcare. Actually, she had always run everything. He agreed with her, but mostly let her take charge.

My brother wasn’t at home with the kids, but he was president of the PTA and enjoyed it. Parenting is not just a female thing. There are certainly a lot of females who have the whole responsibility of working and taking care of the kids and so do some men, because of divorce.
It’s partly a sexist thing if people aren’t accepting it, but the men are sometimes better at care giving than the women in the relationship. It’s an equal opportunity job.

bookish1's avatar

Sexism sucks, no matter who’s receiving it.
But few households can afford to have only one partner working these days.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Say there is a male who never works ... He takes care of the parenting, PTA, tutoring, carpooling, and the cooking.

These statements are contradictory. Those things are work, just not paid work. A housewife or a househusband may just stay at home, but a homemaker does much more.

To address the main question, however, I think this is an issue of sexism. The division of labor is for the parties to a relationship to decide upon. If they are happy with their arrangement, it is not anyone else’s place to suggest that there is something wrong with it. If they are not happy with it, then it is for them to work out a more agreeable arrangement and it is still not anyone else’s place to determine what the relationship and its division of labor should look like (though explicitly solicited advice may be useful).

ETpro's avatar

I did it for a time. We had a new empty-nest baby. My wife had a great job as a jewelry designer. She was totally, head-over-heels in love with that job. I was an electronics consultant and was writing a book. So what paid work I did was from home, anyway. And I kept our place spotless and cooked great meals, I’ll have you know. It’s damn sad that there are so many who constantly crow about family values, but act in ways that prove they think only career and money matter.

zensky's avatar

I worked and also raised my kids alone – for the most part. I don’t think of it as being a Mr. Mom, but rather, as being a loving dad.

Also: Moms – plural. The apostrophe is used for the marking of possessive case (as in the Mom’s apron).

augustlan's avatar

Whatever arrangement works for a particular family is fine by me. My ex-husband is a Mr. Mom who also works outside the home. He has primary physical custody of our children, a situation we both agreed was best for our children. He’s a great parent!

When I was a stay-at-home mom, I did feel a bit looked down on by my ‘working’ peers. But screw ‘em. We did what was best for our family, as should everyone else.

livelaughlove21's avatar

A lot of people look at house husbands as emasculated, weak, or lazy. This is generally not the consensus for housewives. This is sexism, no doubt about it. People think the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the child-rearing house cleaner, even in this day and age. Deeply ingrained gender roles such as these still have a huge effect on society, families, etc.

I wouldn’t like to be a housewife and my husband would probably kill himself if he had to stay home all day, but that’s just us. If the couple is happy with the arrangement, that’s perfectly fine.

What you described is a specific situation in which the wife is struggling to make ends meet and the husband is doing a crappy job keeping up with his duties at home. That’s a problem. However, this isn’t the case for all stay-at-home dads.

Seek's avatar

“Mr Mom” is a horrible sexist term.

It’s called “Parenting”, regardless of which parent is doing the parenting. I kicked a guy in the shins once because he said he had to “babysit” his own offspring.

My husband’s job no longer exists. The business closed. We’re in an 18% unemployment area, and I’m lucky enough to have landed a decently-paying (not awesome, but enough to pay the bills) full time job. He gets a pittance in unemployment.

We homeschool our son. Hubby does math, takes him to the library for computers, Lego club, story time (he’s 4), etc. and collects books and educational videos, which they watch together and talk about. I love coming home to my son telling me the difference between lava and magma, and which is his favourite planet. At night, I work with him on reading and writing.

The hubs takes care of the house, laundry, play-group, everything that I did for the first four years of my son’s life, when he had a job and I didn’t.

And I let him sleep in on weekends, because I know damn well he doesn’t get nearly enough during the week.

janbb's avatar

I thought the term “Mr. Mom” wnet out with bad movies in the 70s. What’s wrong with “stay at home parent” or even just “father”? Surely it is not such as uncommon pheneomenon these days.

burntbonez's avatar

Sexism is alive and well, and it is hard to imagine this particular form of it will ever change. Whatever male roles are, they will always be differentiated from female roles because it is important to humans that there be a visible difference. I’m betting that is built into our genes.

I’m not saying the difference is specified. It could be the opposite of what it is now. But I do think our genes demand a difference, and can not tolerate men and women seeming undifferentiated. The form of the difference will be culturally determined, but the fact of the difference is beyond our control.

wundayatta's avatar

My wife was telling me about a radio show where a researcher was saying that parents are still very important for teenagers. Maybe even more important than for young children. When we think about the trouble that teens are famous for getting into, one might begin to see that they could have a point.

Anyway, my wife worked all throughout the children’s youths. It was only last year that she “retired” (because if she hadn’t, she’d probably be disabled by now, due to stress from work—like half the people she left behind are now in deep trouble). She’s been a stay at home Mom, and she’s been there for the kids and is doing all kinds of things to make them feel special.

I say this to say that it is probably important for stay at home fathers to be home when their kids are in school as well as before school. Just because they are in school from 8 to 2:30 doesn’t mean they don’t need a parent at home from 3 to 6, or even before they go to school. It doesn’t matter if it is a mother or a father. It matters that there are people around to care for the kids, so we don’t have latchkey kids.

Parents or other caregivers help the kids do homework. Remind them to practice instruments. Feed them snacks. Keep them from watching too much video (Youtube or TV or smartphone) and help them figure out constructive things to do. Kids need structure. Teens need structure. Hell, adults need structure, but it’s easier if someone else provides it than to try to provide it for yourself.

Are SAHDs looked down on? Well, yeah. Why aren’t they doing their traditional role of being a provider? What’s wrong with them?

But why do we respect providing more than parenting? Because people in the work world have more money and power, and since they are traditionally men, we look down on men with no power. Even feminists do, I bet. Even Betty Friedan probably wouldn’t be interested in a man who stayed home to take care of the kids. Very few women would. I’d be happy to be proved wrong on that, by the way.

Coloma's avatar

I think, ideally, not always an option that a parent should be home with the kiddies during their younger,formative years. I admire a man that would have the self esteem and concern to raise his children in a more traditional style.
I have known men over the years that were way better with their kids than their wives were.
I would have have nothing but admiration for a guy that took on the primary nurturing role.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I see nothing wrong with it at all, and I know a few men who work from home, thus they are able to provide income while being Mr. Mom. The children of these people seem extremely happy & close to the parents, it always seems to be the person out of the household, the worker, that is unhappy with it.

I think other people need to butt out and not judge. How rude.

gailcalled's avatar

Mr. Mom’s what?

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled “girly parts” – what else?

Shippy's avatar

They deserve the same recognition and value as women who do this job.It is very common these days you know.

Unbroken's avatar

Thanks for the answers. And the personal experience. As well as the grammatical correction @zensky.

I suppose it is not as common where I am from. As @bookish1 pointed out my socioeconomic class. And not as well accepted. When it happens I see underlying issues, like laziness or drug abuse, low self esteem or lack of initiative.

Which sounds judgmental but it is the truth of my observation. Glad to hear that other people have better reasons for it.

gailcalled's avatar

Have those of us who both worked and raised children ever been referred to as Mrs. Dad? It does sound ludicrous.

Unbroken's avatar

@gailcalled and all others who pointed out the term “Mr. Mom” as offensive. Duly noted. Thank you for the courtesy of addressing comments at the term and not the OP (me).

It was how the individual I was referring to coined it. And because of that I didn’t consider the sexism in the term.

It should have a triggered a bell but didn’t. I was here to address my ignorance on the issue and made an ignorant statement. Consider me appropriately censured. : )

janbb's avatar

@rosehips No biggie. You hereby receive divine forgiveness. :-)

Unbroken's avatar

@janbb Wow I’m impressed. I want to give someone divine forgiveness! ; )

janbb's avatar

Penguins have special powers.

Unbroken's avatar

Ah if there wasn’t a time that penguins got mentioned that I didn’t automatically think power “slide” I would pull out my magical puffin.

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