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ETpro's avatar

Men, would you be willing to play stay-at-home dad if your wife nailed a fantastic but time-consuming job paying big bucks?

Asked by ETpro (34428points) December 16th, 2011

Imagine your SO lands a killer job that is heavy on hours and often demands extended travel, but that pays a king’s ransom. Would you feel fine doing the housework and cooking, parenting and shuttling the kids around? Would you be able to hold your head high despite the apparent role reversal of “appropriate work” for men based on gender stereotypes that are clearly still strong in many people’s psyches?

Would you feel emasculated doing “women’s work” or empowered by proving you can handle it and excel at it? What would you do to keep yourself fulfilled if the housework and child rearing didn’t take up every available hour?

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32 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

I don’t see any problems, besides I get along great with kids, cook better than most women I know, am fully capable of doing laundry, but no van. If I have to shuttle kids around in a van… Then you better go find a nanny.

erichw1504's avatar

Absolutely, that would not be a problem for me. Like @King_Pariah I am capable of all the typical “house-work” shtuff.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As long as she stays barefoot, pregnant, and brings my beer on demand… I don’t care what she does.

King_Pariah's avatar

Sounds like someone has a baby bump fetish…

mazingerz88's avatar

No, not a stay at home Dad but a stay at home pimp ala Tom Cruise in Risky Business. I bet I’ll triple whatever she’s making. Hee hee. : )

Blackberry's avatar

Of course, if I have video games.

john65pennington's avatar

Not here! I am the man of my family and the provider. I have fulfilled this obligation for 46 years and will continue to do so. This was a decision my wife and I made, about two weeks after we were married. She worked for many years as a nurse and we both shared family duties. This worked out great for us.

I could never see myself staying home and becoming a couch potatoe. Its not in my genes, no matter how much she earned. Its not worth it for any relationship.

I would have felt less of a man, being a wife, rather than a man.

glenjamin's avatar

I might have some long-term reservations about it, like if I were to enter the workforce at a later date, say in 12–15 years when the kids are pretty much grown up, how employable will I be then? Other than that I would probably do it, if she was making millions a year. The “role reversal” wouldn’t bother me too much, the boredom would.

wonderingwhy's avatar

My only issue would be if her job became so all-consuming that our relationship was unbalanced for it.

As far as being “fulfilled”, in the sense of being happy, that’s a state of mind. In the sense of meeting goals, that’s about how one lives life. Neither is dependent upon profession or type of work.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Absolutely! Sign me up! I’D LOVE IT !!!
She would not have to make millions. $100k/year, with 401k and health care, and I’d wear an apron all day and meet her at the door dressed in Saran Wrap holding a mug of hot tea while dinner was warming.
(Just like my stay-at-home wife did for me – in my dreams…)

FutureMemory's avatar

I don’t give a fuck about gender norms, but I don’t like the idea of my partner working too much. You can’t get that time back.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just checked. No matter how I tried I could not find any relationship between the income level of my wife and the size and performance of my genitals. I am so confident in my manhood and testosterone level that her successful career would truly make me proud.

I’m sure my kids would be totally different people had I been the one home with them all day.
Note I did not say “better”. I said “different”.

YoBob's avatar


So… when we started out she had the steady job while I finished up school. Not a great steady job, but enough to pay the bills.

I then got a “real” job and a few years after that we became parents. She did the stay at home thing for awhile, but to avoid total insanity took a job as an assistant teacher at my son’s pre-school. Now she’s a full time pre-school teacher. A cool gig in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t pay much.

Now after more than a decade as the primary bread winner, it’s her turn again…

JessK's avatar

I read this off my friend’s blog. He’s got 5 (whew!) kids.

“I was talking to a guy several years ago, and he said, “When I have kids, I will work at my employer as long as possible every day so I can afford to buy my kids all the stuff I didn’t have.” My response was, “Dude, kids (well, the small ones until we teach them otherwise) don’t care about objects. What they want is your time. They are happy playing with a big cardboard box, and they want you to get on the floor and play with them and read them stories. They don’t need things, they want you.” The best present you can give your kids is yourself when they ask for it. That doesn’t always correspond to when you want, or what you expect. When you depart from this mortal life, your family is the only thing you can take with you. The sad thing is that at some point your kids will probably stop asking to play with you.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

I’d have to learn how to cook a more diverse range of food items, but I would be willing to stay at home if my wife wound up with a job that required me to take more care of the home and children. We already share housework evenly, and we plan on sharing childcare responsibilities evenly if and when we have children.

The parts of my job that are important to me can be done from home, and the rest is just paperwork. So if I had to stop working, it would only change how I fulfilled those particular interests.

@john65pennington If you think being a stay-at-home mother is in any way comparable to being a couch potato, you need to spend a day in the shoes of any stay-at-home mother ever.

mazingerz88's avatar

There really is no such thing as babysitting. More like baby babychasing.


No way. It’s important and vital for a man to be successful and have a good job in a marriage, ESPECIALLY if he has children, and not play the role of house-husband. If the wife has a super job, great, but this should not undermine a man’s role as provider for his family.

FutureMemory's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Why must the man be the provider in his family?

ETpro's avatar

@King_Pariah I’m with you all the way to the van phobia. Having ferried my kids around to activities, even though I wasn’t a stay-at-home dad, I have no fear of that.

@erichw1504 Me too; I love doing it. Cooking a great meal or getting a disorderly, dirty space spic and span gives a great sense of having done something worthwhile.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Are you becoming a troll in your old age? You know that would pretty much limit a woman to being your foot servant and having no outside interests of her own.

@King_Pariah I have a touch of that, but know the world is not in need of far more overpopulation.

@mazingerz8 Yeah, right up until the indictment. Elect Ron Paul, and he’ll make that lifestyle legal.

@Blackberry Some stay-at-hone dad you would make fighting the kids off so you had sole possession of the game controller. :-)

@john65pennington I salute you for what you have done, but I hope you’re open enough to change to realize that’s not the only valid answer anymore.,

@glenjamin I think entrepreneurship and work-from-home businesses are a great answer to that challenge. The Internet makes so much more of that possible,.

@LuckyGuy As would I. especially if I could be her boy toy every night.

@FutureMemory I definitely hear you, bit it si a sign of the tines. Granted iot my be a sign of problems, bit it is what it is.

@wonderingwhy Excelent answer. How true.

@YoBob Congratulations on a well integrated marriage.

@JessK My older son has 10 kids. From his experience, I can tell you that you are so, so right.

@SavoirFaire Right on. “The Google” [sic] is a great resource for easy to follow recipes. It doesn’t take too may episodes of following them to become proficiency enough you just intuitively now how to cook.

@mazingerz88 Baby-chasing, baby-playing, and baby-teaching. It is perhaps the most important work any human being can do.

@MRSHINYSHOES What @FutureMemory said.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ETpro…and weekend mornings.

ETpro's avatar

@LuckyGuy Amen to that!

submariner's avatar

I’m not married and have no kids, but in principle, I would not have a problem with that arrangement. But if she were really making BIG bucks, then I’d probably want to hire help to do the housework so that I could work at least part-time (maybe from home). But I don’t see myself hiring a nanny; I’d want to do the parenting.

ETpro's avatar

@submariner Think about it. Would it feel better to be a stay-at-home parent, or to nire household help so you could brings home less than they hold costs while she pulls ina seven-figure income?

GracieT's avatar

I have a confession to make: Up until about a month ago my husband had no job. I would be ok if we had kids or if he kept house, but we don’t and he didn’t. I am disabled, so I cannot work, but we have a separate source of income- through me. I volunteer with the RedCross because I need to have something to do, to have some self respect. He doesn’t. He had a business that wasn’t making any money but he was keeping it open to have insurance. I am on Medicare because my disability happened in 1992, and I am unable to have insurance without it. I am not proud of my feelings because he said that he kept the business open for the insurance for me, but I have Medicare.

submariner's avatar

@ETpro First, don’t drink and type.

If she were pulling in 7 figures, then we would definitely hire help, even if I had no job. I would write or paint or do music or do lots of volunteer activities instead of spending hours cleaning our mansion and maintaining the grounds. But I’d still be the primary caregiver for the kids. (When I first answered, I was thinking high 5 figures, and “help” might mean someone coming over once or twice a week to clean the place.) So, as I said, I would be doing the parenting, not the help.

But your question really seems to boil down to this: can a man maintain his self-respect if he is a dependent? (Even if he is contributing to the family by being a stay-at-home dad and is not just a boy toy?)

For me, the answer is probably not. If I were 20 and had accomplished nothing in my life, and somehow got involved with a successful older woman, and she proposed marriage, with the understanding that she would need me to put off college and career and raise her children, then I would probably turn her down.

But I’m not 20, I’m 45, and though my accomplishments to date are modest, I’ve done enough so that I don’t feel any need to define my self-worth in monetary terms. I’m not wealthy, but I could support a family if I had to, and I would bring enough to the marriage to feel independent. So I could put aside my career, such as it is (see my question about independent scholars), on the back burner while I raised the kids. But I would probably feel a need to produce some sort of masterpiece when I was through with changing diapers.

I would also insist that my wife take at least a few months off from her high-powered career for each birth so that she could breastfeed and bond with the infant.

ETpro's avatar

@submariner My sincere apologies for the typos. I take medication for back spasms due to osteoarthritis, and I was well medicated and propping my eyes open to finish Fluthering when I wrote that.

Thanks for your clarifications. I do better understand your position. Baring a disability, what one has already accomplished in life would have to impact how one feels about becoming dependent on another.

GracieT's avatar

I think that the reason that I had the problem with my husband’s being so dependent on me was that I found it hard to respect him. I hate being the “stereotypical” woman in this way, because I really am not, but it bothered me that he was not bothered by me needing to have something to do to have self respect while he didn’t.

submariner's avatar

@ETpro When I said, “don’t drink and type”, I should have added, “do as I say, not as I do”, haha. But of course prescriptions are a different matter in any case. I hope your condition is manageable and you feel better. A friend of mine with arthritis noticed some improvement after taking glucosamine 750 / chondroitin 600 pills I gave her (they were left over after my dog passed away—they were over-the-counter supplements for human use but they work for dogs too).

ETpro's avatar

@GracieT I can certainly understand that.

@submariner Thanks. It is manageable. Its the result of getting rear-emded by a bus. I stopped for a light, the bus driver was looking in the rear view morror thinking about passing me and plowed into me full speed. Before that, I had always thought whiplash was a insurance claim scam. I actually recovered from the initial injury pretty quickly and settled with the LA Transit Authority for a pittance. It wasn’t till years later that the damage to the cervical disks in my neck became apparent. They were flattened to the point that bone grinds on bone,m and pinches bundles of nerves running out into my shoulder and upper back muscles. The muscles then spasm, setting off a syndrome.

Thankfully, it only happens now and then. But when it does, if I can’t stop the pain, the muscles spasms and make it worse, which makes the pain worse, which makes the muscles tighten up even more… It can last for days or weeks. To break the syndrome, I take oxycodone for the pain and diazepam as a muscle relaxant and so I can sleep.

Most people find codeine and its derivatives like oxycodone make them sleep. It makes me sleepy, but when I try to sleep, I can’t. I feel like I have a wooden head, and I lay awake all night aware of that wooden feeling. Besides just being a muscle relaxer, the diazepam also lets me sleep. So together, they usually knock out an episode in a single day. But when they kick in before I go to sleep, I know they convert me to a babbling basket case. Happy as hell, and feeling no pain, but completely incoherent and not knowing it. :-)

Akua's avatar

I know the question was for the men but I feel like I can answer for my husband since he at one time WAS a stay at home dad while I worked and paid all the bills. He was a great father and housekeeper and if given the opportunity he would probably do it again.

ETpro's avatar

@Akua That’s great. I wish all men could handle it just so.

Paradox25's avatar

This question is a bit old, but it was in plain site right next to me so I’ll answer. I wouldn’t feel emasculated by doing a woman’s work, such as house cleaning, cooking, shopping, sewing, taking care of kids, etc since I already do those things anyways. I’m also certain that I’d still be the handyman of the house too because of my mechanical background.

There’s one thing that concerns me about this however, being too dependent on others in order to survive. I wasn’t even comfortable with the idea of an old flame wanting me to move out of my place, and into her apartment. What happens if we fight or something? Well the result would likely be me being homeless.

Obviously I would have to have a great deal of trust in any woman whom I’d consider marrying, let alone actually marrying them. Even if I would go along with this setup (wife being the breadwinner) I’d make sure that I’d have some type of safety net (I’m not familiar with marriage laws) if things didn’t work out. I’m just not comfortable with others having control of my finances, or being completely dependent on others to keep a roof over my head, peroid. I could care less about gender roles or being emasculated.

Obviously I’m not marriage material, and never will be with my untrusting attitude, but my personal life experience has been a very powerful convincer. Also, most women who make a fair amount of money look for guys who’re either on, or above their level financially from my experience. I’m sure there are many exceptions though, but on several dating sites that I’ve tried most of the women on them who made at least 80,000k a year did have formidable prerequisites concerning minimal salary requirements. I don’t even personally know of any families or relationships where the woman is the sole provider, though I do know of many arrangements where each share the expenses.

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