Following on from the debut success of Channel 9’s new parenting drama series House Husbands, which set a ratings record as the number one new Australian Drama on Monday–we’re shining the spotlight on the rise of the stay-at-home-dad…By Katie Martlew
The quirky dramedy, centred around four Melbourne-based stay-at-home dads, fittingly comes at a time when new data shows the number of stay-at-home-dads in the US has more than doubled in the past decade, a trend that’s steadily catching on here in Aussie homes as well.
Dubbed one of the most significant social trends since 2000, the modern-day trend of the ‘house husband’ is redefining old-fashioned gender roles, and helping to change the perception that the male must be the main ‘breadwinner of the family’.
Contributing factors in the rise of the stay at home dad
Although economics is playing a big role in this trend, other factors fueling the increase include; the fact women have more opportunities than ever to develop long-term career goals in the workplace, which means more women are becoming the leading breadwinner of the household–and the increase of women returning to work shortly after childbirth. In some cases, financially, it ‘just makes sense’.
Aside from these fundamental factors, the rise of the stay-at-home dad can also be attributed to the fact today’s generation of dads have a stronger urge to be more actively involved in their role as a parent.
For Jules Trudeau, the decision to become a stay at home dad over four years ago of his now three and four and a half year old children–was primarily a financial one. “My wife and I have run our own web development business together for years. As my wife’s background and role within the business was sales and marketing strategy, mine being a designer, it was critical that we play to our strengths so we could make do the best we could financially,” he says.
Challenges and social stigmas
With any progressive shift in long-held social trends, comes the stigma attached, and stay-at-home dads are no stranger to social judgement, with some dads feeling shunned from organised playgroups, isolated and disapproved of by even their own fathers.
“I’d say challenge-wise (and there’s been plenty of them) says Jules, “but the ones that spring to mind are the loss of contact with work peers and as such the increased isolation, a sense of emasculation at times (we’re our own worse enemies at this) and lastly to learn to be utterly selfless and have an unending supply of patience!”
“However, the rewards far outweigh the challenges, says Jules. Just the pleasure at being able to witness first-hand every developmental step of your children. To know that you are their ‘go-to’ person and their source of comfort is something else too. Most of all though is to feel true unconditional love, on both sides, theirs and mine. Thank goodness for hindsight!” Says Jules.
Jules Trudeau is the founder of www.moderndaydads.com, an ongoing documentary, both photographic and of interviews, following the inspirational journeys of ‘stay-at-home’ dads. Dads who are the primary carer of their brood, who sometimes do battle, not only with their dear little loved ones, but with social stigmas as well. Any stay at home dads out there who wish to share their stories, contact Jules via the website.
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