7 Myths About Stay-at-Home Dads

So many misconceptions swirl around Stay-at-Home Dads. As the workplace is becoming a more even playing field for women, many couples are finding themselves in situations where having the dad stay home with the  kids makes more sense.

With social media at an all time frenzy, people are free to share their thoughts instantly with the world. As thoughts are shared, debated and morphed, over time certain ideas seem to stick. As the number of Stay-at-Home Dads (SAHDs) has slowly risen, a few myths have begun to form.

I have decided to take a look at some of the most common myths I have encountered.

MYTH 1: SAHDs Can’t Dress Their Kids in Matching Clothes 

I think this one might be a hold over from the idea that a husband can’t dress himself without his wife picking out his clothes. Unless you are part of some bizarre high-fashion child runway show, picking out an outfit for a toddler is not rocket science. Most of the time babies are wearing rompers and onesies…there isn’t even anything to match, it’s just one piece. The idea that a man cannot properly dress a child is just silliness.

MYTH 2: SAHDs Cook Their Kids Spaghetti O’s and Hot Dogs Every Night

Some of the greatest chefs in the world are men, so to assume a Dad cannot cook a nutritious meal for his family just because he is a man is non-sense. Sure in the general population some people are just better at cooking or enjoy it more than others but that doesn’t mean all the lousy cooks became Stay-at-Home Dads.

MYTH 3: SAHDs Can’t Keep A Clean Home

I know quite a few Stay-at-Home Moms (SAHM) whose houses are disgusting. I also know several SAHDs who are borderline OCD when it comes to keeping a clean house. Every person is different with the amount of dirtiness they are comfortable with, gender has little bearing on this.

MYTH 4: SAHDs Are Essentially Babysitting Until Mom Gets Home

There has been quite the push lately for dads to spread the idea that “Dads don’t babysit, they parent.” It’s incredibly naive to think that a father cannot be a good parent by himself. Are a mom & dad team better than one parent all alone? Of course! But the idea that SAHDs just barely keep their kids alive until mom gets home is not founded in any truth.

MYTH 5: SAHDs Can’t Nurture Their Kids Properly

I’m not sure why it is assumed when the child of a SAHD skins their knee the dad yells “suck it up and rub some dirt on it you pansy.” Thirty years of bad sitcoms have conditioned us to believe men don’t have feelings and are incapable of expressing any emotion. Again, on an individual level, you may very well come across a SAHD who isn’t a very good nurturer, but the same holds true for SAHMs as well.

MYTH 6: SAHDs Were Forced Against Their Will Into Their Role and They Want to Get Out

There are so many reasons why families decide to have the Dad stay home that it is silly to attempt to generalize the reason, but for some reason this idea seems to stick. It’s possible this was the mindset of the first SAHDs decades ago but it certainly isn’t the case today. So many SAHDs love what they do and enjoy getting to play such a vital role in their kids’ lives.

MYTH 7: SAHDs Are the Only Dads Properly Involved With Their Children

This myth closely resembles the Mommy Wars debate as to whether a working mom can be a good mom or not. Some of the greatest dads I know leave the house everyday to earn a paycheck, but when they return they are loving, nurturing positive role models for their kids. SAHDs are getting a lot of buzz lately but they certainly aren’t the only dads out there who are busting their humps to be great fathers.

On an individual basis it is certainly possible that one or more of these myths may be true for a dad, just as they may be true for a mom. It’s time to stop assuming dads are incapable of being good parents and focus on encouraging and supporting all parents who are trying their best.

31 thoughts on “7 Myths About Stay-at-Home Dads”

    1. Plenty of dads were more or less “forced” but certainly not all, and like you said, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace it and become good at it.

  1. Your post was a very honest and interesting look at today’s SAHD and the myths that society and the media have created. I remember that movie, Mr. Mom, that showed the SAHD in exactly the same light your myths here mentioned… I’m glad we are moving beyond that and your post helped to do so… Thank you!

    1. Thank you. Yes as I was writing this I got to thinking about that movie. I wonder how exactly how much that movie is to blame for these stereotypes or if the movie was just playing off and reinforcing already existing stereotypes. As always Lia, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are having a good week.

  2. Wow!!! I just have to say that this was brilliantly written. I don’t know how much time you spent thinking about the seven myths but you totally nailed it. Seriously, this is really good stuff. Really really good stuff. it is so easy to fall into those age old stereotypes. Stay at home dads are fighting the same types of battles as far as perceptions go at home that working moms used to fight in the workplace. Maybe they still do. I really enjoyed this, man. Everyone needs to read this. I APPRECIATE THE SHOUT OUT IN Myth #7. Wait, you weren’t referring to me?!?!

  3. I think you should have ended with pictures of the kids all dressed in mis-
    matched clothes, the house a mess, dirty dishes in the sink etc. however
    it was a good message.

  4. Great post buddy and spot on with all of them. It’s so infuriating to hear all of these but it just shows what us stay at home dad’s actually do against the myths. Some days it’s laughable but others it angers me. I love the ocd dad one….he says putting the bowl of bleach and his toothbrush down…..my house can get messy but in no way is it dirty where I know some mom’s where it’s the reverse.

    Great post and brilliantly written.

  5. I love this! One of my pet peeves is when people say that daddies are babysitting. I always feel the need to inform them that it is called parenting when the kids are yours;)

  6. As the T says ‘dads are parents, not babysitters! But I feel even that goes some way to enforce the gender stereotypes that we see every day, rather than break them. As you point out, it’s all about the individual, and our need to put everyone in a pigeon hole.

    1. Valid point. You’re right, sometimes in an attempt to break stereotypes we point them out first, which has an odd effect of keeping them alive. Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Wrote a nice long reply and my internet connection cut out. Anyway I really appreciate your honest look at gender/parenting stereotypes in the roles we play. My husband is the exceptional cook in our house and I’m the one that tells the girls to get tougher when they scrape their knees. As two career parents I hate how people assume having a career makes you less of a parent so thank you for addressing that.
        Angela @Stepping into Motherhood

  7. Awesome post and I completely agree with you! When my oldest was born, my husband switched his work hours so that he could be home with her during the day while I was at work and then he’d go to work when I returned. While it was hard for us because we didn’t see much of each other, they really bonded during those first few years!

    Now, he wasn’t the best with housework but he is such a great father in every other way that I can look past that 🙂

    It sounds like your wife and kids are very lucky too!

  8. First, I read your response above and all I have to say is that if you get that guest appearance of Myth Busters you better invite me! LOL I love that show!

    I absolutely loved this post!!!! My Uncle has been a stay at home dad for over 15 years now and I personally think that he is an amazing dad just as he has been an amazing uncle! The stereotypes are just ridiculous because I know quite a few SAHD’s that do a way better job with their kids then the mother’s do!

    That being said, I think the stereotypes were created in a lot of truth back when I was a kid! My own father NEVER “watched” us when we were kids my Mom was forced to take us EVERYWHERE with her, she worked, and cleaned the house on her own. Even my husband who is nine years older than me is a lot like my father in some regards. It is a generational thing.

    Men my age and younger are changing the Daddy role for better and the perceptions of Fathers as a whole needs to change and begin to acknowledge just how many FABULOUS Dad’s, like you and Casey, are really out there! Oh, and those Mommy Wars are ridic too! I was a working/career Mom all of my daughters’ lives until about four years ago when I was forced to stop working. And I was single for the majority of the time as well. I use to get all sorts of rude comments about not being at home raising my kids like a good woman would do type of things.

    Terrific post Mike! Then again I love all of your posts! 😉 Thanks for being an amazing co-host over at the #BigTopBlogParty!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx

  9. These all sound about right to me. As an at-home dad, I can proudly say these are indeed big fat myths!

    I nurture our daughter with endless love, cook healthy meals she enjoys daily, and keep the house fairly clean. Maybe I’m not the best at matching, but when you go through 3 pairs of pants b/c the diaper leaked, it doesn’t matter what goes on, just as long as it’s clean and dry!

    Love the post!

    1. Ha! So very true! After the third time of changing wet pants, you start to lose motivation for fashion. Plus, I think miss-matched colors are becoming a fashion trend. Way to be a trend setter! Haha

  10. I’m not quite sure whether I’m a stay at home dad or if my wife is a stay at home mom. We are both working from home in our small business, and it’s hard to tell some days. You’ll have to check with my wife, but I’m the cook (healthy and tasty) and can at least get outfits to match (my teen girls ask my opinion often). As far as cleaning with loads of kids at home, it doesn’t matter whether it’s me or my wife hassling the kids, the house oscillates from a complete mess to “passable” occasionally several times a day. The kids come to me all the time with questions, skinned knees, and social woes, so I consider myself a significant part of the nurturing and parenting process (again, check with my wife).

    Great job on knocking the stereotypes. Dads can be quite adept at parenting with practice–and SAHDs get plenty of practice!

  11. Good for you for setting these things straight! My husband works outside the house, but he is an equal partner. Nothing offended me more than when someone would ask if he was ‘babysitting’…no, he is parenting. And he cooks, and cleans!

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