The next American Housewife in the series is Jonathan. We are redefining the term “Housewife” and Jonathan does this biologically. Lining up this shoot was quite difficult between three sick boys, weather, school closings, and unplanned home emergencies. The fact we were pre-empted so many times speaks to how important his role is.
I know of quite a few SAHDs (an unfortunate acronym for Stay-At-Home Dads) but each refused to be photographed due to gender roles and perception. This made me sad as it points to the baggage and outdated stereotypes that go with being a man. Jonathan enthusiastically embraces and celebrates the role! Focusing on being present and emotionally available for his boys is not only a conscious discipline, but reflects what he has chosen to change from his own upbringing.
Jonathan put his film and writing career on hold in order to become the primary caregiver. He and his wife felt it was best for their children to have someone at home and for purely pragmatic financial reasons decided he would stay at home while she works full time.
Some relevant stats:
- Of those with children 18 and under, 0.6% of stay-at-home dads choose to stay at home to care for family or children (420,000 dads) compared to 15% with stay-at-home mothers (10.8 million). (US Census Bureau 2014)
- 24 percent of married families with children under 15 have a stay-at-home mother, and 1 percent have a stay-at-home father. (US Census Bureau 2014)
- Married Couples: mother employed, not father: 1.45 Million (2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Although the stay-at-home father is defined differently by various organizations, one thing is certain – stay-at-home dads represent an increasing share of at-home parents. The percentage of at-home dads has more than doubled over the past decade (2014 Pew Research Center Study). However, the idea isn’t that an increasing number is important, it’s more about changing the perception of gender roles, stay-at-home parents – and “housewives.”
Here are some articles and resources discussing various aspects of the social perception of stay-at-home dads. It’s fascinating to see certain biases even within these articles.
The Brotherhood of the Stay-at-Home Dad