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5 Misconceptions About Stay-At-Home Dads

Nkem Ndem

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The socially accepted norm in Nigeria, is that: a man wears the trousers and provides for his family.

He is expected to engage himself in a job that takes him out of the house in the morning, and brings him home later in the day – to a wife, food on the table, and a clean house. When he starts to procreate, his wife is looked upon to cater to the children. He has no business messing with the day-to-day running of the home or even tending to the children. He cannot be the primary caregiver… that is why he has a wife.

But what happens when there is a domestic shift? He completely flips this expectation, and instead of being the cheddar-earning, suit-wearing, beer-drinking breadwinner husband or father, he becomes the cheddar-cooking, singlet-wearing, diaper-changing stay-at-home dad. Does this weaken his status as ‘the’ man?

Nigerians are raised with the notion of mothers staying at home with their children; as such, they are largely supportive of the idea. They cannot even bear the thought of a stay-at-home father. They thrive on so many misconceptions about men who chose to stay at home and play the role of “wife”. They do not understand that the socio-economics of parenting are changing, hard-charging women in demanding careers have less time for parenthood, and it seems only natural that we should be seeing more stay-at-home dads.

Here are some of the misconceptions they have about these stay-at-home dads:

He is out of a job
Why would a red-blooded male with male pride just sit at home to take care of the children, except he is has no other choice? Right?
Certainly, he must have quit a job situation that is not promising, or he was fired, and is now making the most of his time between jobs to help his wife with the children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some men actually prefer to take care of the home and kids. Some even do a better job at it. They make the conscious choice to take on this ‘wife’ role, on agreement with their partners.

He is not ambitious
The assumption is that a man who would easily give up the corporate world to stay at home to raise children is not ambitious in any way. But what exactly is the definition of ambition? The fact that he is staying at home all day with the children does not mean he is whiling away time doing nothing. Playing the role of a full-time dad could be a temporary move – a necessary step in a much larger scheme.

He is not masculine
Certain jobs such as engineering, business, and driving are classified as masculine, while others including teaching, sewing, and catering are ticked off as feminine. Of course being a stay-at-home is classified as feminine as well. Who created the standards for what is masculine or feminine anyway?
There is no clear justification for this job grouping; and over the years, it has been proven that anyone can do any job really. That aside, taking care of the children and home requires a lot of mental and physical energy which a man possesses.

He is not a strong role model
There is the argument that a stay-at-home dad will not be strong role model for his child, as he will confuse the child on what a ‘proper’ man should be like. The child, if male, would probably grow up having gender identity issues – because he had a father who plays the role of a woman.
This is one of the most unfair misconception. If anything, being a stay-at-home dad shows the child that a father is one who is always there for his child, and one who caters to his child – a good example for any child.

Their wives wear the pants in the family
The misconception is that the wife is the breadwinner, therefore she has also taken on the power that comes with being the head of the family. Unfortunately, being a stay-at-home dad does not in any way imply that man becomes a weakling or he surrenders his authority as husband to his wife. He still leads the family, champions the vision, makes the necessary decisions and protects his wife when need be.

Are you a stay-at-home dad? what are some of the struggles you have had to deal with?

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

13 Comments

  1. Fear God...

    June 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Paul Adeyemo, Bruno, Chief and John are coming to make rubbish of the first few points on here!

  2. Tutu

    June 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    The idea of a stay at home dad doesn’t just work for me. The Bible talks about a MAN that can not provide for his household and goes further to say he is worse than an infidel.

    • Onyie

      June 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      And you just proved Nkem right by your assumptions. Haven’t you ever heard about work-at-home jobs that even pay more than the 9-5 jobs. Not every stay at home parent is jobless you know. A lot of them are actually entrepreneurs or have jobs that don’t require them to leave their homes.

      Honestly you guys need to leave your comfort zones and what has been drilled into you by society to have explore and discover thousands of parenting styles that are being practised outside of your little world.

    • Olu

      June 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Here we go ……and yet we chose to blame the men for trying to negate such thoughts.

      newsflash ….even though an i have a downtown office, I’ve worked from home for over 10 years and make a lot of money at it. We also get to save money during the summer holidays because the kids don’t need to ‘live’ in a summer school….nor do I have to take time off for emergencies or home repairs.

      Instead of blaming the culture (and maybe religion) that has fed and bred these kinda of thoughts…

      ‘worse than an infidel’……….issorait….

    • Tomi

      June 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      @ Tutu is right. The article should distinguish; Nkem, are you talking about fathers who work from home, doing his business in agbada even if they do not put on corporate attired. Or men who have no job and are not looking for anything either but is being fed by a woman? I am sorry. I refuse to be politically correct. I don’t want that and will not smell it. Thank you.

    • Anne

      June 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Whether you work from home or not. I will not have an unproductive man sit at home and do nothing unless you are taking out time to wait on God and of course He will answer you (that should not be used as an excuse to do nothing forever) . At this juncture, we need to define Nkem’s stay at home dad. If he works from home, thenwe cannot call him a stay at home dad he is actually a work from home dad. It is an insult to your maker for you to remain unproductive on earth. He deposited gifts and talents in you. I will not condone in a husband what I do not wish for my sons simply because he is from another mother. My view is not societal, it is Biblical. I am my own greatest critic. I don’t take it easy on myself. We have to stretch and chase out bad stuff. Even if society permits a man to stay home. Let’s think about it without being politically correct. Is it good? Is that why God put you in this world. Not at all. Why should someone else control your being alive. That means that if your wife does not put food on the table you won’t eat. I know a family where the man stays home with the children during the day and works at night. He is better in sciences, wife is not so educated but she works during the day.He is being productive and his girls respect him. Everyone in that family is doing something productive. You don’t need to work outside the home but you should be productive and you can achieve that without kidnapping or engaging in 419.

  3. Yinmu

    June 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I think the write up would have made more appeal if it’d painted a picture of a man that sometimes stay at home to help with the home front. You cannot have a father figure that manages the homefront always from the house. You could occasionally work from home or be available for reasons like;being in-between jobs, on leave or simply relieving the wife when unplanned circumstances arise but to become a house husband is a NO NO. Except he has an home office. Even at that,he can’t always be at home as meetings and work/business engagements will definitely take him out of the house. A man cannot abandon nor reverse the role (for a prolonged time) in the family setting and not raise eyebrows and good ones at that…

  4. Bodunade

    June 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Nkembuchi, I see you bae. Nice Try.
    You have graduated from ‘My friend told me one story about how Men are Scum” to fighting misconceptions about men.
    Nkem, Nkem, Joan of Arc, Aare Ona kakanfo 1 of Men’s rights. Keep it up dear.

    • Nkem Ndem

      Nkem Ndem

      June 21, 2017 at 9:28 am

      LOL @Bodunade I actually laughed out loud reading this. *side eye*

  5. Akara Pancake

    June 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    There are more stay-at-home dads in Nigerian homes that one would think.

    Personally it is not for me, but if a couple agree that this is an arrangement that works for them, then why the hell should critics, wicked relatives and olofofos complain?

    There is an unfair stigma attached to “stay at home dads” even in the western world to some extent. In fact there is a statistic, that stay at home dads have about 60% less sex than working ones, as their wives find them less attractive. I guess some women are attracted to sweat, push and grind (no pun intended).

    Some other general untruths about stay at home dads include:

    – they were jazzed by their controlling wives and are mugus for love, and that is why they do not have the courage to “go and find work” or “hustle for money with torchlight”

    – their dress of choice is perforated singlets and boxer shorts

    – they like reading newspaper at home, and sucking on oranges

    – they boil hot water for their wives’ bath after she returns from work

    – they answer names like Frank, Johnson, Jamerson, Lawrence

    – they prefer Africa Magic to football games

    – they depend on their wives for pocket money

    • Amaka

      June 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      My own view is not societal at all. I am specifically referring to cases where the man chooses to do absolutely nothing with his life. Even if he works three times a week, has a business or even leaves work early that is still something. Go and ask most of their wives if they like it. Why should a woman carry everything, she will still do her exclusive breastfeeding and take care of other children. Yes, let us not assume that working mothers with house husbands just stretch their legs when they get home . Most of these women still take care of domestic affairs. They work hard on all fronts. Some women cannot even leave a child with their husbands for a week. A number of the men put their wives under untold pressure and hardship making her feel guilty for being the bread winner. I’ d rather a man who works and has time for his family.

    • Nkem Ndem

      Nkem Ndem

      June 21, 2017 at 9:30 am

      @Akara P “they like reading the newspaper at home, and sucking on oranges”…lol. why oranges though? lol

  6. Glory

    June 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Speaking from my personal experience. As a woman, I feel very uncomfortable and unhappy seeing my husband be the stay at home husband. It all started when he lost his job over a year ago, and he decided to never get a paid job any longer, and at the same time he has refused to take up any of the online or freelance jobs available. I am a work from home woman, and I have had to take care of the bills for this long. The effect: it made me lose respect for my husband. Fine, he’s great at helping with the kids and the home, but it’s not my dream that I have to be the breadwinner and still feed a lazy husband. Biblically, this is wrong. God called Adam to “till” the ground and not his wife.

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