As more and more men are facing redundancy, household roles are becoming reversed. Nowadays it is becoming common place to find men staying at home to look after their children as women head back out into the workplace. But what sort of an impact is this having on families?
For some families there are real positives to this arrangement. Families often don’t want to see their small children shipped off to creche or nursery, and as long as one family member is at home to ‘hold the baby’ and the other is able to bring in a sustainable income, what does it matter if it is the mother or father who is entering the workplace each day?
Some men however are panicking at the idea of being left alone with their children all day. Ed has found himself as a newly appointed stay at home dad, following redundancy. “I have taken Lara for . . . ,” he starts, “well, I have never really taken Lara for a day on my own before. But all my experiences have been good so far.” The thought of looking after her fulltime does however scare him. In order to prepare, he and his wife are planning to do a “dry run” day before his wife Amy returns to work following her maternity leave.
There is of course the need for a bit of adjustment on both sides. Just as men may fear the thought of looking after their children alone, fulltime, so women may begin to feel jealous about the fact that it is their husbands or partners and not them who is at home all day with their child or children. The thought that the other parent may become ‘the favourite’ is scary.
No matter how difficult it may seem, changes in what society consider as ‘the norm’ when it comes to childcare arrangements are happening and often must happen if families are going to survive financially and provide the very best upbringing for their children. And these changes shouldn’t be viewed negatively – it is afterall all about balance – men are just as capable as women at looking after children, and women in turn are just as capable as men when it comes to fulfilling the role of principle breadwinner. As long as both roles are greated with mutual respect, what does it matter who fulfils them?