Are Stay-At-Home Dads Targets for Divorce?

It wasn’t too long ago when a stay-at-home dad was an object of jokes and criticisms. Remember the 1980s movie, Mr. Mom, where actor Michael Keeton had to learn the hard way to navigate a carpool line, and shop in a grocery store with a toddler determined to grab every cookie box within reach? In that movie, the stay-at-home dad ultimately triumphs by getting back the job he lost and returning the housework and kids to his happy-to-leave-the-rat-race wife. Moral of the story? Men could be Mr. Mom while the wife was the breadwinner but ultimately, everyone was happier with the traditional go-to-work dad and stay-at-home mom roles.

Now jump 20 years in the future to today. It isn’t so shocking to find men happily enjoying their stay-at-home dad positions. Maybe some of it is due to the terrible economy and instead of considering oneself in the negative as an unemployed dad it’s better to be positive and be a stay-at-home dad. Maybe some of it is due to women being better able now to earn enough money to support one parent staying home to care for the children. There is a serious downside to the acceptance of stay-at-home dads and that’s divorce. Whether the choice to stay-at-home is voluntary or involuntary, “… a recent study published in the American Journal of Sociology shows that for men, unemployment in a relationship is more a prediction for divorce than unhappiness.”

It seems that women who work and control the household income are more likely to start divorce proceedings than those who don’t and the stay-at-home dad is a victim of this phenomenon. So what should you do if you are a stay-at-home dad? Maybe start a small business or find a part-time job that doesn’t interfere with your childrearing responsibilities. No matter how far society has come with transforming traditional gender roles, it seems that the stay-at-home dad is still unacceptable for many.


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