Blogs & Comment

The increasing cool of stay-at-home dads

The men of 2011 are changing the definition of masculinity.

(Photo: Karen Moskowitz)

Not so long ago, a man who agreed to look after the kids while his wife brought home the bacon would elicit raised eyebrows and gentle disdain. His peers would exchange surreptitious looks and make thinly veiled jokes about who wears the pants, what colour his purse was, etcetera.

Thankfully, for these brave pioneers, society is coming around. Roles and accessories once considered effeminate are now seen as unisex. Men now have the murse. Skinny jeans are an option. And the realization that your wife makes more money than you do is no longer an acceptable reason to plunge into a mid-life crisis.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of stay-at-home dads has tripled in the last 30 years. And a recent BMO Financial Group poll finds that while two-thirds of Canadian adults still believe it’s more socially acceptable for a woman to be the homemaker, views on the issue are changing.

The forces at work here are not yet clear, but 59% of respondents cited greater levels of equality regarding genders roles in both the home and workplace, while 54% attribute it to the growing number of successful women who out-earn their husbands. And a smaller group (31%) suggest that the recent recession has given many men few options, making the “Mr. Mom” role more attractive than the job hunt.

Are you a potential stay at home dad? If you are, BMO Financial Group’s Caroline Dabu has the following advice:

Start planning now: Two years in advance is a good bet to ensure you’re making the right decision.
Choose carefully: Take into account each partner’s salaries, benefit packages and any prospective career advancements on the horizon.
Determine what it will cost: Research local daycare or nanny costs and compare them against your salary.

In any event, should you find yourself kissing your wife goodbye as she leaves for work in the morning, you can look after your brood with the confidence of a new-age man. But before you get too full of yourself, remember that your dad was cool too. More than he would ever have guessed.