Monday, December 5, 2011

Stay-at-home dadding: Turns out I'm a trendsetter

You wouldn't know it from Fitler Square, where I'm often the lone daddy in a sea of mommies and nannies, but it turns out that stay-at-home dadding is increasingly common:
Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32 percent were a regular source of care for their children under age 15, up from 26 percent in 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Among these fathers with preschool-age children, one in five fathers was the primary caregiver, meaning their child spent more time in their care than any other type of arrangement.
I'm lucky, in that my career and skills make it possible for me to earn money while staying at home with my son. It's an economic no-brainer on one hand: Child care is frickin' expensive, and my staying home while writing subtracts that cost from our burdens while still letting me make enough money to pay the rent.

And I'm also lucky that I get to spend so much time around my son during his formative years. My dad was a hard worker: When I was young he was in college and worked full-time, and after he graduated he was on the road a lot; I got plenty of fathering, believe me, and everything he did was in the service of supporting his family. But I also know that I've had more of a chance to watch my son grow than he—or, really, all but a few men of his generation—ever did. There's a tradeoff: I'm not getting rich or skyrocketing to the top of my profession right now. Often, though, I wake up these days with my 3-year-old son climbing into bed with me and throwing his arms around my neck. It's a privilege to receive that and earn money, I realize. I might as well enjoy it.

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