Being a Stay-at-Home Dad is a Privilege, Not a Sacrifice

stay at home dad

Anne Marie Slaughter, professor turned State Department officer under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned professor again, penned what became The Atlantic‘s most popular article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” three years ago.

Now, her husband Andrew Moravcsik, has published “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.”

I recommend reading the entire article because there are many truths and points of controversy; the piece is sure to start some discussion. But for the moment, I want to question the general premise.

Moravcsik assumes, as most casual observers do, that men are reluctant to be the at-home, primary care parent because they resent the lesser role as well as their wife’s position as breadwinner. I don’t doubt that those resentments play a part when men think through their parenting roles, but I believe the reverse resentment plays a much bigger and even more primary role in discouraging at-home dads.

I’ve known more than a few stay-at-home dads. The successful home-dad arrangements are the ones where the dads aren’t sacrificing to take over primary care, but the ones in which the wives let them; the ones in which she does not resent him for his time with the children or his easier life in the old housewife role; the ones in which she does not lose respect for him because she thinks that only a beta-male wimp would submit to the drudgery of childcare.

Many women will have us believe that men are not willing to do primary care and that their partner-men resent wives that are breadwinners, but what is unusual about the Slaughter arrangement, besides the Scandinavian social policies and the six-figure salaries for relatively flexible work, is that Anne Marie Slaughter lets him be The One.


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