Is Being A Stay-At-Home Dad Manly?

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 23, 2008 · 111 comments

in Fatherhood, Is It Manly?

Each Thursday we ask whether you think a certain object or subject is manly. Make sure to check out past Is it manly? polls. Now for this week’s question:

Is being a stay-at-home dad manly? Vote. Discuss.



{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Richard July 23, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Depends. I’d love to stay home and take care of my kids when I eventually have them. But if you’re just lazy, get your @ss a job and help out!

2 Rahsheen July 23, 2008 at 7:37 pm

This all depends. Are you a single dad? Do you work from home? I would say the only instance where this is not manly is if you are just a lazy guy.

3 Dirty Rotten Varmint July 23, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Doing what is best for your family, regardless of the opinions of others who do not have a responsibility to ensure the care and comfort of your loved ones, is manly.

4 Dirk July 23, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I’m sure this won’t be popular with the PC crowd, but no I don’t think being a stay at home dad is manly. Gender roles developed over thousands of years of time and they developed that way for a reason. Women are more nurturing and better with children. Men are nurturing too, but there is something inside them that craves real accomplishment-and no, changing diapers and making dinner is not an accomplishment. Men need to get out there and use their talents. They have a drive and focus that needs to be utilized. The stay at home dads I have met have a stale, defeated air about them, their manliness has gone soft (men with only daughters, and no sons have this same vibe).

5 retrorambler July 23, 2008 at 8:15 pm

RE Dirk

Hey caveman! In the modern world women can earn more than a man. It has only been since your type have been able to let a woman out of a kitchen that this could occur. I think that a man can be satisfied at home building a sweet ass organic garden, raising chickens for eggs and slaughter, and still get dinner on the table. It depends on what you choose to fill your day with. Being at home can leave you to do more manly activities than slowly dying behind a computer, you can create with your hands like REAL men do!

6 LS July 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Very manly!

More manly than many things commonly considered manly, in my book.

You surrender so many things to be Mr. Mum, for a job that doesn’t pay and you are likely to get ridiculed for, all to look after your kids properly.

7 LS July 23, 2008 at 8:36 pm


Exactly! There is so much at home that could occupy you in cool ways.

I’d love to meet a professional and setup my own aquaponics system for organic food, work in the garden, look after the kids and house. There is no reason in this day and age why such a thing is unacceptable(except perhaps men can’t breastfeed, heh)

8 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) July 23, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Tough question, but I can see DRV’s point. Is it the right thing to do and can you completely make it work? Of course. Is doing the right thing and making it work manly? Absolutely!

But let’s not ignore a man’s genetic disposition and drive that is quite different than a woman’s. It is not better or worse, just different.

I never believed this until we had a child of our own come into our lives. There is simply something genetic in a woman’s makeup that equips them better for the nurturing and upbringing of a child. Working around the house is manly, but being a stay at home caretaker of a family is a different question.

9 jon July 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

It is a man’s job to provide for his family. No where in that definition does it say that a man has to have a job and be the “bread winner.” you can provide for your family by caring for your children, growing the food for you family, providing a good home while your wife is out at work.

10 Jaye July 23, 2008 at 10:54 pm

If we want to get all anthropological gender Roles were in part created due to the value that women had in comparison to the men in ancient tribes… women could produce more children, men you can get any man to inseminate a woman, maybe one man inseminating many women… women were directly responsible for the generational survival of the tribal unit… they were held back and protected, men could go off and get killed by a boar or rival tribesman, and that would be a loss, but NOT the same as the loss of a woman capable of childbearing… many men one woman means one child every year or two… one man many women = children all the time. Men from this viewpoint had a value but not near as much as a woman… if you want to get all anthropological about it all. In tribal societies it wasn’t JUST the woman who took care of the children in fact it was the duty of the tribe as a whole, men and women… because they represented the future of the tribe… their survival to adulthood (a much younger age than what we consider adulthood) was paramount, any children dying due to negligence was probably constituted a death sentence to those who were not fulfilling their responsibility.

11 Thomas July 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm

it has only been since the industrial revolution that men routinely left home to work, and women where left to do housework and child raising alone. there should be nothing wrong with a man staying home to take care of children and housework, it is a part of human history.

so far in my own life, the only kid we have has four legs and barks, but I am for all intensive purposes a stay-at-home Dad/ househusband. aside from feeding and walking the our dog, I have many tasks I complete to improve our house, handle finances, organize and eliminate clutter, and other manly things to improve the quality of life for my family.

12 Elly July 24, 2008 at 12:32 am

I am surprised at the results here. Are so many men really that comfortable being stay at home? Or is this poll just being responded to most strongly by those few men who think that there is nothing wrong with that sort of thing?

13 Chad July 24, 2008 at 2:59 am

Can it be manly? Yes. Is it typically manly? No. I have to say that I’m surprised by the response as well. It seems that so far there is a majority that says it is manly for a guy to be a stay at home dad.

14 angelina July 24, 2008 at 4:01 am

i don’t care what the feminists say, the vast majority of women could not respect their man if he stayed home making domestic daddy while she hacked it through the corporate world. and the only women who prefer this situation are control freaks who want agreeable beta males that defer to their power. not manly, imo.

15 Zendad July 24, 2008 at 4:11 am

I think it’s manly any time a man steps up and looks after his children, period. Take a look around nowadays, most men don’t even live with their kids.

16 TJ July 24, 2008 at 4:16 am

My dad taught me that being a real man means doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to take care of your family. In his own life, that meant working multiple jobs, hard labor jobs, and often dangerous jobs. Sometimes all three at the same time. I wish I could tell you that his sacrifice meant that my mother could stay at home and do the nurturing thing like the old stereotypical family, but that wasn’t the case. I was a latchkey kid in a small midwestern town for years before I ever heard the term. My parents were gone at work when I woke up in the morning and came home anywhere from 2 – 3 hours after I got out of school.

In my life, Dad’s “whatever it takes” philosophy has meant working multiple jobs and/or hard labor jobs (I’ve been very fortunate in the danger department). But it has also meant being a stay at home dad. My wife and I have both been the stay at home parent, usually to support the other one while they attended college. There have been times in our life together when it just wasn’t possible for the second parent to get a job that paid enough to have any money left over after daycare, so it was smarter economically for one of us to stay at home.

I’m won’t lie: for me, being a stay at home dad was a soul crushing, ambition killing experience. I understand very well the defeated, “unmanly” air discussed in earlier comments, and preventing that from happening to you can be a daily challenge in that situation.

But you know what? My awesome, very manly father did his share of soul crushing, ambition killing work to take care of me. Tearing your body up on manual labor to build houses, waking up in pain every morning and knowing that if you died at 40 the coroner would find the body of a 70 year old–soul crushing. Being a long haul truck driver, away from your family for a minimum of a week at a time, endless days on the road to the point that you can barely remember what state you’re in, seeing and hearing about your co-workers being beaten, stabbed and/or shot for their cargo, their truck, or just the 30 bucks in their wallet — soul crushing. But he did it anyway. Even though it was hard, even though it was miserable, he what was necessary to take care of us until he found or made better options.

If I can at all help it, I won’t do the stay at home thing ever again. But if we find ourselves in a situation where my staying at home is the best available option and any other choice would mean depriving my children, I’ll do it again in a heartbeat.

17 JP July 24, 2008 at 5:06 am

I say… it all depends on how the stay-at-home dad raises his kid.

Let’s say our “SAHD” gets the kids up at a regular time and has food prepared for breakfast. He has the kids help clean, then he engages them in activities and learning lessons throughout the day. He feeds them a nutritious lunch, runs errands, and has the kids do assigned chores. Dinner ready for when the wife comes home, and final chores before bedtime. Having a scheduled, disciplined day for himself and the kids makes his job busy, challenging, and — in this instance — manly.

The other side of the coin is the SAHD who lets his kids sleep as late as they want. He lets them pour their own cereal while he plays his video games. He goes to McDonald’s every day for lunch, and his wife comes home to a messy house and has to cook dinner herself. This is a loser, lazy lifestyle and definitely not manly. He probably wouldn’t be married — and thus a SAHD — long.

I’ll go ahead and vote yes. I agree with above comments that being a man means doing whatever it takes to make sure your family is secure. If your wife makes enough money to ensure the whole family lives a comfortable lifestyle, then by all means. However… I do agree with Dirk above that gender roles are well ingrained into our makeup. I do believe that men will yearn for a certain amount of displayable success. It’s not about being a “caveman” as another poster put it. It’s just an evolved fact of our existence. A man will need some secondary pursuit in order to fulfill this need.

18 Jen July 24, 2008 at 5:12 am

Great comments from everyone.

I don’t think that it’s unmanly at all if it’s the right thing for your family. There are situations where it makes a lot more sense for Dad to stay home for the good of the family as a whole.

And as a stay-at-home mom I can sure relate to the soul-crushing aspect of it- I adore my kids and wouldn’t make another choice (well, I couldn’t anyway as they have special needs), but it can be extremely isolating and routine if you’re not very careful to also give yourself options to feel like something other than “just” a parent.

That said, I think that the men who do manage to be great stay at home dads are fantastic (and in my experience, are usually doing a great job at it)- I think that it’s a lot more difficult for stay at home dads than moms in some ways. SAH Dads don’t have the theoretical support that SAH moms do…there aren’t a lot of Daddy and Me playgroups, and I can’t count the number of Dads I’ve seen at the park with their kids in the morning who are alone as so many moms won’t talk to them for whatever reason. If you can deal with all of that, and kids, then you really are a “real” man.

19 Matt July 24, 2008 at 5:49 am


I agree with what you say about gender roles developing that way for a reason, and the stereotypes you mention (e.g. women are nurturing) are accurate when talking about society in general. But there are two problems. First, the degree to which these stereotypes apply to each individual family varies widely. Second, it’s not all or nothing. The fact that a woman works doesn’t mean she has no time for nurturing, or the fact that a man stays at home doesn’t mean he can’t “get out there and use his talents.” An ideal family is one in which some roles are more solidly defined, but there is an ample amount of sharing.

20 Mike July 24, 2008 at 6:21 am

The first and most important part of being manly is to step up and take responsibility for the well-being of your family. Only you and your family can decide what that will be, of course. But if the decision to stay at home and raise kids is the responsible choice, a real man will make that choice in a heartbeat, even if that means sacrificing some personal ambition. Self-sacrifice is manly too. Good question.

21 Mike Bates July 24, 2008 at 6:30 am

@ Kevin, @ Dirk
Maybe you guys just aren’t as nurturing as your counterparts. Seems to me you’re generalizing based on your personal experience with your kids (which I have no doubt has been a positive one for both you and yours).

@ TJ
Right on all counts, dude.

22 Dr Awesome July 24, 2008 at 6:43 am

I’m pretty much inclined to agree with Dirk, my first response to the stay-at-home-dad question is “probably not manly.” But I do see the larger point everyone else is making about stereotypes. Here’s the deal though…we’re talking about things in a general sense, so stereotypes are what we have to go with. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, so we can find examples where the most responsible thing to do is for the man to stay at home. But like Dirk and others have said, the stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Generally speaking, men are better suited for doing the “outside the house” work like farming, hunting and gathering, commenting on blog posts during work hours (ahem), and so on. And generally speaking, women are better suited for doing the “inside the house” work like nurturing children and complaining about how men can’t seem to pee straight. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, and it doesn’t mean that men and women shouldn’t help each other out in their respective roles. Call me old fashioned, but with a hat tip towards the exceptions everyone is making, I’m going to have to say that the stereotypes are mostly valid. That’s why I voted no, even though I recognize there can be good reasons for a dad to stay at home. Even if you disagree with me, though, I think we can all agree that if the guy is sitting on the couch folding clothes while on the phone discussing characters from The Young And The Restless, he deserves a beating of UFC-style proportions. Have some self-respect, at least watch Jeopardy instead!

23 Paul B. July 24, 2008 at 7:01 am

If manliness in a family role means anything, it means that the man is primarily responsible for the external relationships of the family, providing for the family in being out and about working the broader economy. If you want to jettison “stereotypes” (i.e. gender roles), then in what sense is it “manly” to stay home (presumably while the wife is out working)?

24 Hallock July 24, 2008 at 7:22 am

Since when is personal responsibility for your children not masculine? It’s the modern age, women work, roles should be equally shared if need be.

25 Rickey Henderson July 24, 2008 at 7:45 am

Indeed, in what parallel universe is staying at home to mold your progeny like a piece of clay into a strapping lad not considered manly?

26 Israel July 24, 2008 at 8:16 am

for sure it is, if you spend the time with them and not neglect them.

27 JLow July 24, 2008 at 8:22 am

If I was a SAHD, I’d be hitting the gym more often than I do now, looking more manly than I do now.

Although I’d probably find something to do with myself still; blogging is one, but likely some kinda telecommutable type of role, that I can do at home…

Btw, I have the topic for the next poll! Which is also very related to SAHD and its stereotype!

Come on over…

28 Jachin Putnam July 24, 2008 at 8:24 am

LIke many have said already, I believe it all depends on the context of the situation.

If a woman leaves her home to take on a job, then that’s just not very womanly. If she’s forced to because her husband isn’t making enough to support the family, that’s not very manly. If he really is working his very hardest and trying his best but life situations are just keeping him from providing fully for his family, thus forcing his wife to take on a job as well…well, that happens.

Say, in this scenario, the wife just so happens to start making enough money to support the family all on her own, but not enough to pay for a babysitter in addition to everythijng else and the husband has to stay at home and take care of the kids. In that situation, it would be very manly to step up to the plate and do what you have to do to take care of the family. This should ony be a temporary arrangement, however, and they should continue to try to work it out to where the wife can get back in the home and the man can get back to work, because that’s the way that it is supposed to be.

I fully appreciate Angelina’s comments above when she brought the insight that women won’t respect their husbands if the roles were reversed and the husband stayed at home while the wife went to work.

Sure, every family has to figure out what will work best for them. Sometimes both husband and wife have to work to make ends meet. But, if given the choice, the man should work and the wife should maintain the home. This is the way it always has been and always should be. I will always absolutely resist anything that tries to reverse, or change, the roles of the husband and wife.

So, given the context, it can be very manly for the man to stay at home, but this situation should be avoided if possible.

29 Jachin Putnam July 24, 2008 at 8:31 am

I like the way Mike said it above. Thanks Mike.

30 __jym__ July 24, 2008 at 8:53 am

Woman are just flat-out more qualified to stay at home with children, especially babies and toddlers. I mean that in the most complimentary sense. There is a lot of talk about “If I was a SAHD I would go to the gym more and build a garden and do manly this and that…” The reality is that staying at home with kids doesn’t really allow you time for much of anything. Men naturally have a desire to work, and if you don’t, you’re lazy.

Dudes, just go to work, come home and be manly dads.

31 cory huff July 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

I do have to say that if it’s necessary, being a SAHD can be very manly…but I don’t believe that it’s the man’s inherent role.

Stereotypes aside, I think that some gender roles are divinely appointed, and I do believe that a man’s role is to protect and provide for his family. I believe that a woman’s role is to nurture the family.

Now, that’s the ideal. There are plenty of circumstances that warrant going outside of this ideal. If a man loses his job and the wife must work, I think a temporary shift in duties could be in order.

There are a multitude of possibilities, but in the end it’s all about your relationship with God and with each other. If you feel it is right for your family, then it probably is, despite what others say.

32 Brett July 24, 2008 at 10:05 am

Great comments everyone! I’m really enjoying the discussion.

@Thomas- You raise an interesting point about men leaving the home after the Industrial Revolution. For thousands of years before then, most men stayed at home. They either worked as farmers or artisans. Of course every now and then they would leave for hunts or wars, but for the most part they stayed at home to work. Consequently, men were able to play a bigger role in their children’s lives. For example, a man before the Industrial Revolution would teach their son the value of hard work by taking them to the fields or to his shop.

One of the interesting ramifications of the Information Age is that the internet with its remote working capabilities might return us back to pre-Industrial home arrangements.

33 Wayne July 24, 2008 at 10:30 am

Everyone that says women are more nurturing is wrong. Women have turned into tyrants. Their coping skills have devolved to an extreme. We are living in a world of divas. The stay at home moms I know (including my wife) aren’t as fun and creative as the men, they don’t want to get in the floor and goof off, and they are turning our kids into germaphobes. Their idea of interacting is making playdates for our kids, that way the kids are incapable of entertaining themselves. I was a stay at home dad for our first born, and my wife stays at home with our second. My oldest had far better coping skills than my youngest, and has far fewer tantrums. I have far fewer tantrums and better coping skills than my wife. Is it a coincidence our kids are the way they are? Me thinks not. Most women are bossy and opinionated control freaks, so let them have the corporate world and let the men raise the kids. At least the men that aren’t afraid to.

34 Nuje July 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Yes, of course its manly if a parent is required to be home and it makes financial sense for the mother to work instead. If the kids are at school until 3pm and he’s staying home, maybe its time for him to get a job though.

35 hwcampbell July 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I’ll say no, but that is only based on the 2 or 3 friends of mine who do it. I have one friend who is a loving dad, a musician and maintains a lot of hobbies. The problem is that he is fully employable with a valuable skill set, but actually prefers to “stay home and hang out” rather than “get a real job”. (His words, not mine.) It’s not as though his wife brings home more than enough money. They scrape by while he practices guitar in the garage and the kids sit in front of the television. His wife works tons of hours in a difficult job to keep them afloat.

Maybe if he practiced cage fighting or was a writer it would be different, but in my opinion he is just lazy and was ruined by a mom who did EVERYTHING for him and a wife who puts up with too much s&*t.

I’d personally hate staying home. I used to have my son every Saturday while my wife worked, but I’m just not wired for that. I love my kids and relish my time with them, but I’m accomplishment/goal motivated and my career is intellectually stimulating in a way that I have never gotten from staying home with the kids. I’m much more comfortable in the “leader/coach” role with kids. Whether it’s coaching baseball or taking my kids on a hike and teaching them about nature, I feel like I have more to offer them since I have a pathological lack of empathy my sense of “nurturing” centers on protection and being a provider.

36 FingerSoup July 24, 2008 at 2:47 pm

summary: in terms of manly, meaning meeting some stereotypical 1950′s TV show version of manly, then no it isn’t.

In terms of having the guts to do what’s best for your family, in a given situation, then yes it is.

In terms of the “what will my wife think of me” department, hopefully you married the right woman.

In terms of how you raise your kids, That depends on how you do it… Ive seen 40 year old men who are more childish with rasing their children, and I’ve seen way too many kids either abused or coddled/overprotected. Raising your kids in a manly way means giving them freedom to learn their own lessons, while taking enough precautions to ensure they are smart enough to learn them withoud getting hurt too bad. It also means a healthy amount of discipline, and ensuring your kids know why they’ve been disciplined. One should always use spanking as a last resort, as it really offers no educational value or severity if used frequently.

Use it for things where your child endangers their own personal safety-”That car you almost ran into would hurt a lot more than my spanking – DON’T CROSS THE ROAD WITHOUT LOOKING, AGAIN”. Find other ways to punish your kid for misbehaving in public, swearing, etc.. And never, ever be the father who says “It couldn’t have been my kid” when a teacher, or other adult you have given charge of your kid to… It’s ok to ask for proof. But sometimes kids do dumb/stupid/cruel things, and your kid is no different..

But, yeah, it all depends on your point of view if it is manly or not…. Manly is as much in the mindset of the man as is how he performs the task he set out to do.

37 Matthias Galvin July 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

I work at home, as a Lawyer with my own small practice (consisting of me). Because of my career, it allowed me to stay at home and homeschool my son, while still working. I see nothing unmanly about it in that context. But I agree with earlier posters about the lack of manliness if it’s due to laziness or some such other unmanly reason.

38 John F McCarthy July 24, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I’ve been a stay at home dad from the time my children were born. They are all grown now. Happy, healthy, independent and responsible. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist. My office has always been in our home. This allowed me to set a therapy schedule that was best for our family. I also had a babysitter when needed. I got to go to their school for events and sports. I was the only dad when it was time to pick up our children. I got to give the mothers some free family therapy. I was raised during the early years of my life by my Italian Grandmother. She was my first experience of UNconditional Love. We lived in a huge home with my cousins and their families. Being present for all of these children was my Grandmother’s top priority. She absolutely loved children Unconditionally. I am so thankful for what I learned from her. AND, my Italian Grandfather taught me all the things that my father should have: Guns, fishing, driving, and working on cars. (I’m not a gun person but I know how to use them. I am a Black Belt in karate-only used it when I was in the Army. But I’m for Peace, whether it be in my family or the world.)When my family finally moved out on their own, I was ignored. My father worked four to midnight for his whole life. When he was home, he was either sleeping or didn’t want to be bothered. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to be what I learned from my Grandmother to my children. Also while at home, I did household chores: laundry, dishes, pets, watering, some shopping, etc. My wife was a VP for an advertising agency and worked long hour, but always took time to go to our children’s school with me. On the weekends she was a full time parent ,did chores, liked to work in the garden and loved to cook for all of us. I couldn’t be happier for the way we parented and how our children turned out. We’re still very close, see each other often, and travel the world together. A Loving Dad is very important to a Healthy, Loving Family. Being Mr. Mom has been a very Manly experience and is still a rewarding part of my life.

39 Marty Klopper July 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm

I raised my kid back in the late 80′s all by myself, and I can tell you for certain sure that it made a better man out of me. Born and raised in the John Wayne 50′s and I learned all about how to be a “real man.” Show no fear, no emotions (beaten out of me by the age of 5), couldn’t cook, clean, sew or raise kids because I was never urged to find out how to do “women’s work.” Raising a kid as a single father was the best thing that ever happened to me. Gave me more self respect and confidence then any other single thing I had ever done in my life. My son and I are closer because of it and I will never regret the lesson so hard won.

40 jcw July 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm

If you take pride in what you do, WHATEVER you do, than it is manly. This is the fundamental lesson I’ve learned after my first month of being a SAHD. My situation was different than most here…I actually made more than my wife (not a great deal more, but more)…however, my job required me to work insane hours for most of the year, including weekends. When presented with the option of my job vs. seeing my child grow up, it was a no brainer.

In fact, it’s just about the most difficult job a person can take on…there’s the isolation, and the constant need to remind yourself that what you’re doing is actually beneficial. It’s easy to lose that…you feel like you’re pulling some sort of scam. If you don’t take pride in EVERYTHING you do during the day, and see it’s inherent purpose, you’ll lose yourself. Take pride in a clean house. Take pride in reading to your kids and watching them learn. Take those few quiet moments you have and learn something new. Be sure you’re completely involved in all financial decisions, even if you aren’t chipping in monetarily.

Relatedly, I highly recommend anyone who takes this path join a gym, and use the membership daily. You’ve spent your entire day caring for someone else. Take an hour and take care of yourself. Blow off steam…aside from feeling better, you’ll avoid the spread that will inevitably come along with being at home, and you’re wife will get off on it. Believe me…

So in my long, roundabout way, my answer to the question is this…if you approach it with the same pride as you approached your job, then it is.

And on a greater note, if you worry about whether other people think what you’re doing is manly or not, then you’re not one…being a man means not giving a flying F*** about what others think.

41 Reid July 24, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Being a “stay at home” dad is full of virtue, but I am afraid it is not manly. Just like my cleaning the toilets at home is not manly, just a necessary virtue for the benefit of the family. Doing the right thing is not, be definition, manly. It’s just the right thing.

42 Alyssa July 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Watching a man take care of a child is very sexy. Every time I watch my husband rock out six-month old to sleep, I fall in love with him all over again. Having one parent (mother or father) stay at home is a very personal decision, and should be made by the whole family (and not based upon social norms). Anyone who is willing to break social norms to do what works for their family is manly.
To my detractors:

As long as he’s not being lazy: Anyone who thinks there is anything lazy about staying at home with the kids is crazy! It is a lot of work to take care of a child. I was on maternity leave for only six weeks, and I was glad to return to work because I wanted a break from being a full time mom.

Gender roles have been there for thousands of years are there for a reason: This was true. The thing you have to remember is our culture moves quickly and the rules change. There was a time when it made sense for the woman to stay at home with the children. She has to recover from giving birth, she had to breastfeed the child, and men made more money. But with the advent of bottles, formula, breast pumps, maternity leave, and the ability at earn as much as a man, there really is no reason for these gender roles to be so rigid.

Men have ambition and need to work outside of the home to fulfill that ambition: This is all fine and well except it implies that women do not share this same ambition. More and more, we are seeing women rise to the top of their field- in all areas. There are now more women in college than men. It’s about time that we ask men to make the same sacrifices that women have been expected to make for years.

Women are more nurturing: This is probably the best argument, but it still has some problems. First, it depends on what you consider nurturing to be. As Wayne points out, perhaps turning our kids into germaphobes, and making play dates isn’t the best definition of nurturing. From what I can tell, the only thing that would make women (as a whole) more “nurturingâ€? is that they are more adept at language (both verbal and non-verbal) and more empathetic (probably due to being able to read people better). But does this really equate to being more nurturing? If you have a child that is constantly getting into trouble, isn’t better to discipline the child (typically a dad behavior) than to emphasize with the child? The other problem with this argument is that it speaks of women as a whole not individually, so it will undoubtedly fail in certain situations. Case in point: Britney Spears.

The vast majority of women could not respect their man if he stayed home making domestic daddy while she hacked it through the corporate world: Perhaps this is true for the older generation, but from what I’ve seen from the younger generation (including myself) this does not prove true. It seems to be about even.
and the only women who prefer this situation are control freaks who want agreeable beta males that defer to their power: actually giving up ultimate power over how the children (the most important thing in most mom’s lives) are raised seems the exact opposite of control-freak.

43 dfjlaw July 25, 2008 at 4:46 am

No. Stay home on weekends, play with the kids, and help clean the house. I once had a client who kept referring to himself as ” Mr. Mom”. It made me nauseous, do I want to have a beer with that guy, hell no. What could he possibly talk about that interests me.

44 santa July 25, 2008 at 5:41 am

Unless you wear panties, no man should be a stay at home dad. No wonder we almost had a woman president.

45 Richard July 25, 2008 at 6:47 am

FWIW, I don’t think that working from home and being a stay-at-home-dad are the same things. I work from home, but I’m sure not there taking care of the kids — I’m working.

Being a stay at home dad is fine, but your first responsibility is to provide for your family. If you can meet those needs, then yes it’s manly to spend your extra time with your family.

46 Neil Simpson July 25, 2008 at 7:07 am

Doing what is necessary is manly, no matter what that thing is.

Taking care of business, is manly.

47 Carl July 25, 2008 at 8:39 am

a few points. first puting the needs of your famaly and children above you takes real strangth, not always lift a log strangth, but more be thare trough tears vomit and drugery strong.

secondly the idea that aman is not as nutruring as a woman is a myth. the augument that “conditioning” has made men porly equipt to work with children is true only in the sence that “western culture” has foold itself in to thinking that.

And lastly as a male infint todaler teacher, I fermly beleve that men helping children to grow up strong, helthy, and well ajusted, is the most punk rock thing a man can do!

48 Michael July 25, 2008 at 9:12 am

The best situation is where the man is the main provider for his family and his wife takes care of the home front. I’m not talking about the wife being “barefoot & pregenent” in the kitchen and standing two paces behind & to the left of her husband. No, I’m talking about a Proverbs 31 wife (real men love Jesus, too) who is akin to a First Sergeant to her husband’s role as Company Commander. The man should be making the rules and deciding the direction the family should go while the wife supports and implements those rules allowing the man to concentrate on being head of the household and providing for his family.

49 Josh English July 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

I got fired three months before my wedding, and my long-term plans to go to graduate school got shelved. I became a house husband while recovering from one job and trying to find the next steps.

No children yet, but I would have taken care of them, and done it gladly, because I know fathers are important.

I agree with Carl, men can raise kids, and should be more involved with their children. That’s manly.

50 Will July 25, 2008 at 11:12 am

A man’s job is to go to work and take care of his family.

51 Joshua July 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

While I love doing the king of things that a stay at home mom, or dad, would do (i.e. cooking, gardening, taking care of kids, puttering around the house, etc.), it’s always seemed to me that it’s the husbands job to be the bread-winner in the family,

52 Travis July 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm

What is “manly” is very much defined by the culture you are in. Gender roles develop based on a number of factors, many of them related to where your culture lives and how they subsist in the place they live. What is manly is not a fixed thing. What is considered masculine in one culture has a feminine connotation in another. What is masculine in one time period can become feminine in another time period. The Romans thought the consumption of beer to be effeminate and the consumption of wine as masculine. In some cultures, the traditional male garment is what we would call a dress. “Manly” is a bit of a moving target depending on your context.

Physiologically and psychologically, men are as capable of taking care of children as women. I do say that with one exception. Based on my reading and experience around kids that this is only true once the child is done breast feeding. There are clear developmental benefits for a child to breast feed and be with the mother for at least a year but probably two years. After that though, pop can be the equal of mom in child rearing.

The whole issue of whether or not being a SAHD is manly or not is more of an ideological abstraction than anything else. Where the rubber meets the road in the real world, people will do what is best for themselves and their families, even if that means breaking some arbitrary social convention. If what works for one family is for daddy to stay home and take care of the kids then that is what they’ll do.

I don’t really care whether or not anyone thinks I’m manly because I stay at home with my three year old. The fact of the matter is that it makes sense on a number of levels for me to be the one staying at home. We want one of us to be the person that raises our child. We have no family closer than 12 hours away. One of us has to be at home and my wife’s income is quite comfortable. I cannot command that sort of salary. Whether or not staying at home is manly is the least of my concerns. We live well and my daughter gets good care. Period. Space. Full Stop.

Here is some information about me:

Eagle Scout, Former Marine Corporal and 81mm Mortar squad leader, professional craft brewer, every lawn/yard tool I own runs on “man” power (reel mower, scythe, axe, crosscut saw etc) with the exception of my grandpa’s chainsaw, I smoke a pipe daily, I’ve been hot lather shaving since before it was trendy, I hunt, I fish, I’ve slaughtered and butchered pigs, I’ve worked in warehouses, a brewery, and as a carpenter’s helper. I’ve been a stay at home dad for two years.

53 Mike Bates July 26, 2008 at 7:42 am


And the fact that you don’t care what anyone says about your decision speaks volumes about the kind of man you are, Travis. Good on you, brother.

It seems to me that anyone who believes that the “natural order” is for the man to work and the woman to stay at home because they think “that’s the way it’s always been” and will resist any changes to the larger society (not to your own lives, of course; I mean, that’s the point, do what you gotta do and what is right for your family) has an extremely narrow view of the world and of human history. And trying to hold on to an idealized past that never really existed will only disappoint you.

54 Tracy July 27, 2008 at 6:03 am

Boy is this ever a timely question for me. I have been struggling with this for some time now as I was recently diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and am no longer able to work. What is my role in the family now that I am no longer the “provider”?

I voted yes and heres why. I run the house like I ran my department in the cabinet shop where I worked until my diagnosis. The kids and I all have responsibilities that must be done each day. I have a garden that I tend which helps me “provide” for my family while my wife looks for ways to take up the slack financially. I still do what I can to maintain my “manliness”. I work on the van when needed, change the oil in my truck and teach my sons and daughter to do it too. I fix the plumbing, build the chicken coop, cut firewood… all the manly stuff I used to do around here, when I can. I also teach the kids the things that they will need to know to get along in the world as we homeschool too. I don’t do these things to be “manly”, I do them because they need to be done and it has fallen to me to do them.

I think that men can provide for their family in the home or at work and not be manly. They can gossip around the office or shop, or sit at home and play video games or surf the internet and neglect their responsibilities or they can step up to the plate and try their level best to hit the ball every time. Each day that we are given, we have to decide what we want to make of ourselves. I know men who talked a big talk but weaseled out of their child support payments, and I know men who have reenlisted in the National Guard knowing full well that they would be leaving their families to perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice. They each made a choice that day when they got up. The later surely seems to me to be the more manly, and I guess it all boils down to being responsible for you and yours.

I’ll pass the soap box on now…

55 Starre Vartan July 30, 2008 at 1:25 pm

As a woman who unabashedly has NO interest in staying home with kids (and there are more than just a handful of us out there!) what are we supposed to do if we want a family?

I have four options:
1. Make myself miserable by staying home with kids all day (not so good for kids)
2. Not have kids (best for the environment)
3. Get a nanny (ok option)
4. My partner/husband stays home with the kids and I do the work I love (good for kids, me and, as long as partner was into it, for him too).

Is it unwomanly NOT to want to stay home with kids or not want kids? I don’t think anybody except crazy Christian-right people would say I’m less of a woman for loving my work, so why should a man be less manly for wanting or needing to stay home with kids?

Staying at home with small children takes a certain kind of personality- one that I DO NOT have. If my husband or partner does, then he should do the job. As modern adults we should do what we’re good at, and what we love, if not, what was the point of all our forefathers and foremothers working so hard for equality, worker’s rights, etc. Certainly not to blindly imitate their tough lives.

Let’s all open our minds to the infinite ways we can all be human! I was raised by a very progressive community and I can say I’m the sanest person I know because of it. Subvert the dominant paradigm!

56 Tina July 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Women who say they won’t respect their husbands if the the husband stays at home while she goes to work drive me nuts. Staying at home with the kids, if you’re not just lounging around on your ass, IS HARD, CHALLENGING WORK.

If you’re a woman and can’t respect that, you’re crazy.

Raising children well and keeping the house in order is often harder and more draining than going to the office, fooling around with MineSweeper and internet porn, then having a leisurely lunch break and maybe checking some email after if the boss is watching. Those of you who have seen SAHDs all drained and “soft”, please remember how many trapped housewives in the 50′s were on Valium to escape from their oppressive lives! This is not a gender-exclusive thing. Staying at home is tough all over, and not everyone, male or female, can take it.

I actually know of more than one woman who recently divorced her husband because he not only expected her to care for the kids and keep the house clean, but to feed, clothe, and practically wash him too when he got home from work! (One guy’s contribution to childrearing was to spend maybe half an hour playing with the kid as long as the kid was clean and in a good mood, then handing the kid off to mom if it started getting disagreeable…) They said it was like having one more very big kid. Not very manly at all, I’d say.

57 Michele August 2, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Wow – my faith in the male gender has been restored! It’s great to see so many men so open to do what’s right for the family whatever it takes, whatever the role. I find that strong and sexy!

58 Keith Frohreich August 11, 2008 at 9:04 am

It had better be since I am one (man) and I keep my live-in ATM very happy.

59 Mike August 12, 2008 at 6:53 am

dfjlaw and santa, you guys are bums, your kids are probably bad and your wives, well you are probably divorced. I thought I was pretty damned tough until I had to stay home with my kids. I left a “manly” job and other “manly” men were jealous that I was going to get to spend time with my newborn and toddler while they were growing up. Men do miss out on a lot of stuff. The money I have made in the past has made our financial situation pretty easy so I am able to afford this.

60 ibfast August 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

its all situational! and its all seasonal! sometimes situations happen or opportunities come a knockin! hey, if its to better the home team you gotta do what you gotta do…
i was workin, bring home most of the bacon and my work was not really making sense anymore and wasn’t very condusive with our new addition to the family. I was in retail management making about 60k a year. not to shabby for not having a college degree.
we came up with a plan that would take a lot of sacrifice : for the season. I was gonna take care of our son and go to school!
my wife is in a great position in marketing with a lot of opp. to grow. so we made the move. shoot, if you snagged up a good lady that’s doin in out there in tha real world and she’s makin it . its ok to let her do her thing…
here you go: who’s gonna raise your son to grow up to be a man? daycare??? I don’t think so…sometimes it takes MORE of a man to step up to the plate and do the dirty work…to get your team (family) where you want it to be . its easier to stand back and just work than do to something SO different.
it takes alot for someone who has never even had a father to step up to the plate and take one for the team. (someone who has no clue what to expect)…i can only be what I would have wanted… if yoU have the strength to do and be not what you have seen or didn’t have… I have learned more about patience, gentleness, and love in the past 10 monthes than I ever have in my life. these things make you A REAL MAN!!! but to say to lose manliness over a lifestyle change makes you less manly. PLEASE. ITS TAUGHT ME TO HOW TO BE A REAL MAN !!!!

61 ImnoOne September 4, 2008 at 8:17 am

Define manly?

Is it manly to work til odd hours of the night and have children who don’t know you? Not in my opinion.

Sometimes during the day, I’ll be playing tea time with my daughter. Some times I’m playing GI joes with my son. Other times I’m baking cookies for school functions. In my free time I’m at the shooting range or helping friends and neighbors with projects from sewing to rebuilding engines.

Does this make me more or less” manly” at times? according to gender roles, yes. But, we don’t follow gender roles here. I like to sew. I like box at our local gym. I like to bake cookies and make nice healthy meals for my babies and my wife.

I’ve never cut our lawn. My wife loves it. Its her “job” here. My wife has never cooked one meal in 14 years. I’ve done all the cooking. She has no clue how to fix a rip, let alone make an entire outfit from scratch. She taught me how to change brakes.

Is this not manly or womanly? probably not. But, people who don’t like our lifestyle can push off. Most people who have wuestioned it have been told their opinion doesn’t matter, and if they kept going, we disowned them. This includes a mother and father in law and two brothers. Its none of their business how we run our lives. We make more money on a single income by double than they do as a working couple but somehow they feel the need to lecture.

Anyhow, if you’re worried about it being “manly” my advice is to worry about how YOU feel about it and tell all the others to piss off.

62 ImNoOne September 4, 2008 at 9:37 am

I should add, my wife hated staying at home when she did it. She was clawing at the walls and crying by the time I got home. I gave up my six figure a year job so she could take her dream job, making six figures a year. Both of us could work, but we don’t think strangers should be raising our kids. If my wife loves to work and hates stayign at home, why shouldn’t we? Women fought for equal rights, and they have them. Anyone who thinks a woman can’t be a good breadwinner is a piece of sexest garbage imho. Anyone who thinks being a stay at home dad is a “lazy” job, is obviously so far away from reality, that no words will be able to correct their tiny mindset. Its hard work being a stay at home parent. When I’m not cooking, cleaning, teaching the alphabet, doing math, coloring barney, doing our daily tea time or gi joes, taking them to the childrens science museum and the zoo, I’m taking care of the wife. I get one day a month for 4 hours of “me time” where I can go to the shooting range ALONE. Can you, as a man opposed to stay at home dads honestly say you’re strong enough to lose yourself for the better of your entire family? I doubt it.

63 Tracy Swager September 11, 2008 at 9:16 am

Ok, shameless plug here. My hubby is a FANTASTIC SAHD! Well, we kind of refer to him as the “primary parent” since he keeps some office hours at the church where he youth pastors. But, he’s the one to get the girls from school and then they spend the afternoon with him. I don’t think anyone can look at him and think he isn’t manly. :o) Seriously, our children have a relationship with their father that others will never have because he has invested so much into their lives! It is hard work and a hard balance – with some hilarious learning in between. Look for his book in bookstores next February or so, Daddy Do My Socks Match? by Toby Swager.

64 IdleHands October 2, 2008 at 1:51 pm

It matters not what a man does only how he handles himself while he is doing it.

65 Philip October 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Which animal is the king of the jungle? And who is it that does the hunting?
nuff said.

66 Krista November 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm

@Kevin (ReturnToManliness)

Don’t forget, gentlemen, that the “genetics” you speak of when you speak of women being more “nurturing” is not exactly the case. From a scientific perspective, I’ll assume you mean “hormonal,” because it is hormones that drive women and men’s behavior patterns, not genes.

(Also, try telling Amazon women that they are more nurturing than men. They’d probably cut your leg off.)

Consider this: hormones are different in everyone. Some women have more testosterone than the average man, some men have more estrogen than the average woman. I think the notion than women are somehow “better” at parenting than men is not biological at all: it’s cultural. It’s left-overs from a time when baby formula didn’t exist. Think about it: it made sense for women to stay home with their children if that was they only way the infants could eat. But today, it’s quite easy for men to feed their children, and that’s probably one of the main reasons we’re seeing an increase in stay-at-home dads.

Don’t you think it’s a teensy bit sexist to say that men crave accomplishment, and not diaper-changing, while simultaneously assuming that women do not crave accomplishment, and aspire to a job that men so eagerly discard (read: raising children and keeping house)?

All-in-all, I’m really pleased to find out that stay-at-home dads are “manly.” I just hope that career-mothers are still considered “womanly”

67 Jason November 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Phillip, “We’re not just animals, we are human beings.” I’m a stay at home dad who takes care of a 1 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. My wife knows what she wants to do with her life, and I don’t, simple as that.

I feel I did a good job, when I take care of the children all day, do the laundry, dishes, keep the house clean. I also work on ebay to bring home some extra cash. Since that has not been working lately, I will more than likely find a part time job on the weekends, and possibly nights.

It’s hard when certain people in your life feel you need to “get a job” to be a lazy bum. All that does is cause a rift in your family. Hello mother in law. My mom thinks it great, my mother in law thinks I am a lazy bum.

68 Joe November 20, 2008 at 8:56 am

Working or staying home I am always Dad and manly. I passed the manly test way back in the day, and everyone I know knows it. I don’t even consider what society thinks of me much less care.
This role reversal discussion is all nonsense and annoying it is the only bad part of staying home, the moms and there endless questions.
The few that hit on it were right in that, doing what is best for the kids is manly, sacrifice is manly, walking the walk that I talk is manly.
I was taught family first, I did when I deployed in the infantry, I did when I chased bad guys, and now I do it when they need me home.
If I or any of the other SAHDs make you uncomfortable get out of my area of occupation. I think ultimately we will have a very positve influence on our kids, their education system and 9-5 lives that have been overly feminized for so long especially if you have boys.
My guys want, to play ball and win Not TIE every time, they want to use tools, Not crafts and beads, but I would let them do whatever and Mom wouldn’t. The traditional rolls only matter to women, I just do what I MUST as did all the men I knew.

69 DaddyWolf November 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Well, let’s see…
Is there anyone here who wants to tell a disabled military vet that staying at home to take care of his kids is not manly? I doubt it. There are a multitude of reasons for a dad to stay at home and raise his children. My father-in-law, who is also a disabled vet, stayed at home and when our son arrives next march, so will I. Did I plan my life this way? No, absolutely not. My wife and I had an agreement – whoever was making the least would leave work and stay home with the kids whenever we decided to start a family. In this case, my health decided for us. Anyone who says that it’s unmanly (John Hagee – kiss my ass) had better sit down and think about the answer. Assuming that all stay at home dads are a bunch of lazy losers is not only insulting to vets like me and my father-in-law, but an insult to every man on the planet who decides that he’d prefer to raise the kids than sit behind a desk 8 hours a day. Which is manlier – teaching your kids or wasting away at an 8 to 5? If I had my way, not only would I be an at-home dad, but my wife would also be an at-home mom. Too many studies have shown that kids with an at-home parent are not only better adjusted, but that they also do better in school. Now, pass me my black apron with the skull and crossbones on it and get out of the way – I’ve got dinner to make.

70 Dad @ Home December 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm

A real man is someone who will stay home taking care of the kids (if necessary) for the welfare of his family. A wimpy man is someone who kisses ass in the corporate world to move up and make more money.

71 Cos December 13, 2008 at 11:25 am

I came across this blog researching the decline in Germany’s birth rate believe it or not. Some are attributing this to the breakdown of the traditional family model. The women there simply don’t want to have children there for various reasons.

It is always manly being responsible and taking care of your family in what ever role is necessary.

IMO I think it is most certainly manly to do what ever it takes to ensure that your family is provided and cared for. TJ’s comment was very close to how i view it. If that means you staying at home while the mother works than so be it.

BUT, if you asked me to do it voluntarily so that the mother could pursue other interests I would find myself HIGHLY reluctant to do so. I think that I would find being a stay at home dad and fulfilling the traditional roles of caretaker, teacher, maid, cook, party organizer, home decorator etc. I would go nuts. I would find this to be “soul crushing” work for me. I really believe that for me to keep my sanity in such a situation I would drop the “maid, cook, party organizer, home decorator” aspects and end up fulfilling both provider and caretaker roles. I would end up either finding a part time job, or finding ways to provide more for the familly such as building furniture in the garage, farming, programing, etc. stuff that can be done at home or while the kids are in school. Or at the very least going to school building for a “better” career.

I think that the reason women landed the role of “caretaker” throughout history is simply because they had the child to begin with, and there is never a guarantee that the father will be there when the child arrives.

I don’t know how to post questions here but i suppose the real question should be:
“is it manly to plan and become a stay at home dad when you first start your family while your wife goes to work?”

72 Joey Miller December 22, 2008 at 11:02 pm

In response to the “it’s in womens genes to nurture and in mens to make a living” it’s just not true. Yes, because of the long gestational period women have, and because men are physically stronger, men do end up going out to put food on the table with women at home with kids. But childhood is a relatively new concept, and as children get older it’s obvious they need guidance wherever it comes from, and not necessarily a soft bosom to cry on. Moreover, workers do not need physical strength to earn money today. So if a woman in a family is capable of making more money, and the man is capable of raising the child (which can’t be genetic since until very recently children were adults at puberty and worked from about school-age) what’s the problem? Being a stay at home dad is very manly because it means ignoring the chest-thumping nonsense from other men in order to make a better life for your children. And what’s more manly than passing on that genetic material?

73 Anthony Rowland January 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I am a stay at home dad currently. My wife and I have an extremely disabled daughter who requires doctor visits at least twice weekly and constant supervision from people familiar to her and her needs. We were both working up until recently, but were having to rely on grandparents and other relatives to get her to and from her appointments throughout the day. Daycares could not care for her in the way it is needed. As she ages she will become too big for elderly grandparents and even my wife to lift, bathe and care for. So, she would have to be hospitalized permanently if I continued to work. Recently my wife was offered a job in another city where we know no one, but with high enough pay to where we can comfortably live without me working. We were given an opportunity to protect our future. Before quitting my job I made plenty of money for my wife to stay at home, but as my daughter gets bigger my tiny wife is having trouble performing even the simplest of tasks. My daughter cannot walk or even sit up. Me being at home secures our family will stay together for long. Now, I have the opportunity to work out for multiple hours daily preparing for when my daughter is a hundred and twenty pounds and needs to be bathed or maneuvered. If you think what I am doing is not manly you are a fool. I am in incredible shape and can probably easily beat the crap out of any of you fast food eating fools who sit behind a desk all day slaving for the almighty buck. I have the opportunity to watch my children grow up and can fish pretty much whenever I want to. I get to do all the things working men only wish they can do while they sit on their ass at work getting fatter and only wishing they had the freedom I enjoy daily. I never have to miss an NFL game or even the great games replayed on NFL Network throughout the day. Call me unmanly all you want, but I enjoy nearly complete freedom and my wife is always turned on by my manliness. I say shut up to the jealous puppets of money who say I’m not manly.

74 The Dad At Home January 19, 2009 at 11:09 am

Being a SAHD is definetly manly. Just think about it. I go to school to drop off my 5 year old daughter and I end up being the one and only man in the entire school. If that doesn’t make you feel manly, I don’t know what will.

Thanks for reading…Happy Fatherhood!


75 Lissa February 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm

When my fiance and I started talking about children, I knew I didn’t want to be a sahm. I am NOT good with children and never would have considered having any until I met Dustin.
With that in mind, I told him that I would consider it if he were willing to be a sahd.
I make more than him, but not by much. However, we did the math and after all of the childcare expenses of us both working, the extra income would only really bring $1500 a year that wasn’t spoken for in childcare and other associated bills etc.
I have been with my company longer and Dustin is just a more parental type than I am. While I love our now 4 year old, I would never has considered being a stay at home parent, I don’t have the patience. So, while it was slightly controversial in our small town, neither one of us regret our decision. Our 4 year old is now in pre-k, so he has gone back to work, but at the time, it was the best for our child and our marriage. A man that can do that, is the most manly thing ever to me and i never lost respect for him even though I was the one in the workforce.

76 jim February 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I’m currently a stay at home dad for our 6y/o.and find it very difficult at times. It’s like i’ve given away my power. While my wife climbs the corporate ladder I stay at home and pick up the mess she leaves behind. I can’t plan anything as her needs come first being the bread winner. Working on the home and gardening for food are great, but where’s my bank account? and is my work appreciated? no, it’s critisized and resented. If I want to buy something for me (a small fishing boat) I have to ask her for the money! She says “we don’t need that” and go buy herself a mercedes. She has all the power and loves it. She speaks to me with total disrespect in front of our child.Calls me a loser and not to blame her because i don’t know what to do with my life! We discussed the arrangement beforehand and I CHOSE to stay home and quit my job while trusting her. Now I want to go back to work just to get something of my own, but how? her job takes her out of town often. Who watches the kid? how can I work .go to college ,anything! So no I don’t find it manly to be controlled this way, then put down for everything I do! The only reason i stay is for my child and I am a good father. But for my wife, she’s got my balls and i want them back!

77 David T February 4, 2009 at 4:00 am

I consider myself to be manly, except when I am playing with Barbie dolls with my daughters.

78 Tamara February 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

I am a new mom, with a 3-month old infant. Although I would love to stay home with my sweet baby, I am better educated and have significantly more earning potential than my husband. Plus, he hated his job–it was just a way to make money–but I love my job and would want to do it even if I didn’t bring in the bucks. So, yes, it just made sense for him to be the one to quit his job and stay home. The option of daycare was out–why would we pay almost a full salary to have a stranger raise our baby?

So, is it manly? Heck yeah! I totally believe that my husband has the more difficult job. It takes discipline to manage your time, energy, and resources without having to report to a boss. It takes creativity to keep an infant entertained while getting the house cleaned and preparing meals. It takes strength to cope with the isolation, since there are few (if any) established ways for SAHD’s to meet up. It takes courage for him to go against the social norm (even stronger in our religion) and do what’s right for us. I believe discipline, creativity, strength and courage are very manly characteristics!

I also don’t believe I am any less womanly for being the bread-winner. My husband brings my baby to the office for my lunch break so I can nurse him and spend time with him, then I care for him at night while my husband finishes dinner and then goes to the gym. I am the one who is up all night with the baby, who bathes him and sings to him, and I spend every moment with my son on the weekends. I feel very connected to my baby still, and I feel safe knowing he’s well-cared for in my absence.

One other note–I HATE the term Mr. MOM!!!!!!! IT IS SO DEGRADING!!!!! I am still the mother, and my husband cannot take my place as the mother simply because he is a SAHD. Likewise, he’s all DAD. He’s fulfilling his fatherly role by providing a safe and comfortable home, which doesn’t diminish his title of DAD. Please, people, realize that calling someone Mr. Mom is sexist and offensive. It is even worse to say he is “playing” Mr. Mom!

79 ata February 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm

If he is help out, but you come home to a dirty house. Let the kid do what ever, come home to homework with the kids. He is not contributing to society.

Dirty dishes, dirty landry, dirty house. You have worked all day, can not make ends meet. Short on paying bills all the time. A second income is needed badly.

80 danel March 1, 2009 at 3:37 am

Heres howi feel. maried 12 years ,2 kids.10 year oldand 18month old , wife went toschool became dental hygentist makes good money.I worked 2 and 3 jobsfor 9 years and now shes full time im stuck at home.See i dont have degree i was everything from a pizza delivery boy ,newpapercarrier, door sales man i worked somuch i missed out on tons of beach days and family outing parden my runon setences.SO i get a job say 10 bucks a hour 400 aweek minus childcare taxes gas towork andback what am i really making .ill tell u about 1.70 a hour profit. Hard to work that cheaply .But on the other hand hard tosit at home 3 months in im losing confidents self ambition .and wifes new job she go tovegas chicago all over the place expences paid on weekends like 4 or 5 tmes a year is this how it is if one person has career and other is stuck with kids.

81 silverarrow March 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm


I’m not married, but I stumbled on to your blog, and I have to say, that I think that a stay at home dad is very sexy..having said that, is the real problem of whether or not staying at home manly? No. The real problem is finding a work life balance that both the mother and the father can rely upon. Why can’t one stay home for one year with the kid, while the other work, then perhaps switch when the kid is 2? How about finding an arrangement when the kid is old enough for daycare?

Work-life balance is the most important, and even if women are more nurturing, most women don’t want to give up on their careers permanantly. Look at Japan, their birthrate is lower than the States, and it is more male-dominated. The men work 11 hour THAT manly?? The women are discriminated against in the workplace after becoming pregnant. If there is a way to balance out work-life family, then do it.

82 mason April 2, 2009 at 3:42 am

no i had a freind that turn into a retard after he was a stay at home dad
this in not what i think but what i saw

83 Mike April 29, 2009 at 7:57 am

Taking care of your kids is manly and rewarding. I am now a stay at home dad and check out my blog.

84 ralph May 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Is a woman going out to work womanly? Maybe not. Perhaps we should keep women from taking up jobs and careers that men could be doing.

85 Tabetha June 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I find it disturbing that so many people on this site seem to espouse an essentialist viewpoint – i.e., attributing to genetics that which is socially constructed. I will say off the bat that I am an egalitarian, an academic, and know that the stereotypes DON’T have a basis in genetics because none of the feminine stereotypes apply to me. My husband is much better at running a household than I am and I cannot imagine not having a career. Since I was a young child I have known that I do not have the personality to be a SAHM. This is not knocking women who do; I am simply saying it is not in MY nature to be comfortable in that role. My husband and I will both pursue careers in the long run and will share childrearing duties, but since I am currently finishing my doctorate and he is currently working as a waiter, it will make sense for him to takeover the daytime childcare duties while I collect my dissertation data. (We are due to have a baby in about 6 months.) He will continue to work evenings, except on the 2 evenings when I teach. After I finish my PhD and get hired somewhere either as a prof or researcher, he will pursue a Master’s degree and will be focusing on childcare as well. Eventually we will both have “real-world” accomplishments which we both crave and we’ll both bond with our kids. We both respect each other and know the traditional model of dad as breadwinner and mom as homemaker simply doesn’t work for us. If it works for others, fine. I have no problem with that. However, I do have a problem with people who think their way is the only right way and try to back it up by claiming it is the natural order, a claim that always seems to include making sweeping assumptions about men and women as groups. Not everyone fits into that little box. Stop trying to force the issue.

86 hillmatt June 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm

No, it isn’t particularly manly there isn’t anything wrong with it I guess but there isn’t anything manly, at least not by my definition of manly. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, or maybe I’m a misogynist but I could not handle staying at home not bringing money into the home, I think a man should be out working and supporting the family. That being said however the idea of my wife making more money than me doesn’t bother me as long as I have a productive career of my own, and I really don’t believe the woman’s place is in the kitchen.

87 Fireman_Bill September 11, 2009 at 10:22 am

I have a unique situation. I do have a fulltime job, about 50 hours a week avg. I am a Fireman with a large dept in the NW. I work two 24hr shifts a week so I am home a lot. I have two boys 4yrs and 1yr. My wife is a Dental Hygeinist and works 4 days a week. Being a SAHD is defianatly a double edged sword. While I used to be able to go fishing and hiking whenever I want. I seemed emersed in Spongebob and Transformers. I now understand the plight if the stay at home MOM. We do have a sitter that watches our children on shift days (about 5-8 days a month). I can honestly say that I do not like her parenting style. She is raising 3 girls and maybe does not understand the psyche of the young male mind. That being said, what is the alternative? I guess I have to do it myself. Where else are your children supposed to learn about being a “man”? I know that in this PC and non-gender society that is being placed on our heads, that this might seem a little rash. For example…my child was at preschool and was playing with a stick. He called it a sword, a teachers asst. came up to him and took the “sword” and broke it. She said,”we don’t play like that here.” Why did she feel the need to snap the stick in front of a 3yrs old? Seems a little harsh to me. I guess if he was playing house, this never would have occured. Being a MAN is about taking responsibility. There are plenty of people that can father a child…how many of them stick around to raise them?

88 Shannon November 18, 2009 at 4:05 am

As long as your family is provided for monetarily, I say spend as much time with them as possible. If not, well…
Personally, I’d rather be bringing home the bacon.

89 Emily April 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I would have to say YES, totally manly.

My dad was more of a mother to me then my actual mother ever was. He would be an *amazing* stay at home parent. He cooks better (and more often) then my mom, cleans more then her, and was basically a stay at home dad that worked outside of the home. My mom was always “tired” when she got home from her job as a teacher at an elementary school, and basically didn’t do anything motheringly (she never cooked, cleaned, or anything). My dad would come home from his job (he got up at 5am most days to go to PT, and worked longer hours then she did) and did all the things you would expect of a stay at home parent (often the things associated with the mother: cooking, cleaning, child care, etc.) without fail. He also never missed anything we ever did. Soccer games, band recitals, dance classes, Girl Scout events, science and book fairs, volunteering in our classrooms, whatever.

I think any man who can work long hours all day then come home and make dinner, clean, mow the grass, walk the dog, bake cupcakes for the party at school the next day, help the kids with their homework (I can’t count the number of school projects my dad helped us start and finish at 11pm the night before it was due), bathe them, read them a bedtime story, get them to bed, do the laundry, and then go to bed himself to start all over again, is more of a man then most. That’s a lot of work, even without the added full time job. Being a good stay at home parent is hard work.

My dad isn’t feminine in the least. He plays sports, was in the military for over 20 years, and worked on our house after Katrina ripped apart our town (he also worked to rebuild the homes of others as well). He was the go to guy in our house for jar opening, fixing stuff, etc. He knew his way around power tools and grills. He knows stuff about cars that I will never comprehend. He is also really smart. Street smart as well as book smart (he went to class full time at a university while working full time and essentially raising 3 kids by himself).

I deeply respect my dad for all he’s done for us, as a father and parent in general. I hope I can find a man like him to live out my life with. Except I’m the opposite of my mother and love to cook and be with kids. I actually really want to be a SAHM and raise my children. But just because your wife is a SAHM, doesn’t mean that takes away all your father duties. I hate when I hear about men who “babysit” their own children. That’s parenting, not babysitting.

I’d also like to add that men who are raising only daughters are NOT less manly then men with boys. My father has raised three talented, smart girls who all have good heads on their shoulders. Girls can do anything boys can do. I’m not sure what he missed out on having daughters and not sons. (And none of us are the tomboyish, masculine girl types.) He took us to sporting events and taught us the rules of the game. He taught us how to throw footballs and shoot basketballs. And he doctored our scraped knees and wiped away our tears after failing miserably at sports. He showed us how to throw a punch but told us to never start a fight. He braved The Pink Aisle of toy stores alone to buy us Barbies. He also has passed the true test of manliness (buying tampons for your daughters), hundreds of times over. He wasn’t “less manly” because he was raising girls, he isn’t one of those fathers who gives into every tear and sad face, but he is nurturing and loving. I think it’s about being both of those. He didn’t raise the little “diva princess” girls you see running around with words like “hawt” or “sexi” on the back of their Toddler Size 4 shorts. He raised well rounded young women.

That’s manly.

Plus, they say girls marry their fathers, in the sense that they pick out a life partner who has the same character traits as their fathers. If you don’t want your daughter marrying some misogynic jerk who thinks women belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant; then you can’t be a father like that. You should remember that you, as your daughter’s father, are the first man she’ll ever love. And as such, the standard she’ll set for all the other men she has in her life.

90 sam May 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

who are any of you to say what is manly. the whole thought of manly is a stupid concept. a penis makes you a man nothing else. as for evalution setting a role for a man, thats idiot idealology. it is good for one parent to stay at home and take care of the house and kids. most people don`t have that option, but if you do then you should. the biggest problem with youth in the past 50 to 60 years is the rise of single parenthood. look at the evadence, jails are full of people from a single parent family. which means there was no parent in the house to stear the child in the right direction.

91 Sheila Huerta May 19, 2010 at 8:09 am

Staying in the house is okay when you like to watch your children. But, of course you have to find a job. If the father really wants to stay in the house he can find a home based job. Like on this book called Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel. You can learn more about it here: It will be published in May. Feel free to contact Leila if you might be interested in reviewing it for your blog.

92 Luke Mooraj July 8, 2010 at 2:30 am

This is something that I am currently struggling with. On one hand is my need to go out and provide for my family, to be the bread winner…the hunter if you will, on the other hand, I know that I need to be with my children as they mean the world to me ( my wife is busy starting up a business in another city)…I have been quite honestly, torn between satisfying my ego or looking after my kids…I know that I need to be there for the children, its just that at times I get really really depressed and let it out at my son…God, I feel like I’m drowing sometimes..I wish I could just let the ego go….but it keeps coming back!!!!!!

93 k August 11, 2010 at 6:05 am

i would love my husband to stay at home. i would be so proud of him. Helping out around the house. isn’t that also called “Rent A Husband”?

94 Tony September 26, 2012 at 5:03 am

Staying at home and taking care of the children is not manly in a classical sense.

However. Providing for the family IS manly. If the family needs care more than the finance a man can provide, it’s a manly decision to step up.

To a random female commenter, that said it was not manly to a female breadwinner I say – if that’s the case, the particular female should not have procreated with the said man. She is not a woman for a manly man, because she does not aspire to be one.

A womanly woman will always appreciate a manly man for what he does. A manly man will always aspire to provide and care.

95 Adam K. September 27, 2012 at 1:29 am

I work part time, but the bulk of my time is spent caring for my two children at home. To be honest, I am kind of on the fence on this one. On the one hand, I think being a stay-at-home dad is ultra-manly. As a father, you are absolutely on the front lines of your children’s lives. You are in an ideal position to show your daughters how a true gentleman treats a lady. You also have maximum contact with your sons to teach them to been kind-yet-tough studs.
On the other hand, I have to admit that I, myself, wrestle with not being “out there” maximizing my potential and being, um, manly.
I would say that there are two paths. The one is for the man to say, “Well, I guess I have to do this. Might as well hang up my Y chromosomes.” THAT is not manly. The other path is to say, “I, yes I, will raise the next generation of my family to be strong, respectful, compassionate, and excellent. And my actions will have a lasting impact on my family name for generations.” That IS VERY manly. Just be prepared to sip some strong scotch or smoke a pipe or chop some wood or make passionate love to your wife at the end of the day to make sure those Y chormosomes stay awake.

96 deadcat42 October 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I see this conversation is 4 years and 4 months old, but I just found this awesome website and this conversation. I also just happened to find it on a Sunday morning when I’m solo Daddy-ing. How appropriate! I have a 4 year old son and a 4 month old daughter, I’m an AGR (active guard reserve) for a National Guard unit. I do Army stuff all week and when my wife, who is a gigging musician and private educator and a “stay-at home-mom,” goes to work on the weekends, it’s all me. I thought about this a lot while walking with the little girl in the stroller and my boy riding his bike in front of me. It all comes down to what you define as “manly” I guess. I had 10 days of paternity leave when my daughter was born last July, I took my son to some sort of event or to a park or something every day. I imagine that’s what I would do if I were a SAHD. I got home and put the boy down for a nap and turned on Metallica and washed the dishes one-handed while holding my infant daughter in the other. I hope that’s somewhat manly… I did not however, look at the most fashionable sewing patterns or knitting patterns. I didn’t cook lunch in the crockpot, I cooked it on my gas bbq (in the rain! Hell Yeah!)

I have a friend in my unit who’s a full time SAHD, during his days, he brews beer (he has a 12% icebock that he just finished and I have an awesome headache from it right now), he also writes and arranges music professionally, and gigs at nights when his “sugar-momma” gets home from her job. Pretty manly I think. Music is a tough industry.

There are some examples of what I would consider manly full time parenting. Now the question is what’s UN-manly parenting? Does that mean it’s effeminate or that it’s ineffective?! I would argue ineffective stay at home Daddying would include spending your time on yourself and not on doing the job (video games, time on Facebook, watching tv all day…). Effeminate stay at home Daddying would probably include sewing patterns, crock pots (I don’t ACTUALLY think that’s effeminate, but my wife uses a crockpot, I bbq, just different choices), knitting, and pantyhose. If that’s you’re bag Daddy-O, go right ahead, it’s better than ineffective parenting!

I’m still looking for what this website defines as “manly.” I keep getting distracted by other cool articles!

97 Zack October 30, 2012 at 11:00 am

Being a stay at home dad is despicable. One may as well stick one’s penis between one’s legs and wear a tutu.

98 Brandon Hamilton November 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

I’m obviously pretty late to this converstaion, but as a Stay at Home Dad felt like posting anyway.

When my wife was offered an excellent paying job, we discussed options and decided that I would stay home with our daughter and work parttime in the evenings for supplemental income.

Since then we have been blessed with twin boys, quite manly I feel, NAyway I always wondered how it be accepted living in a small town with an older population.

I have been stopped by multiple men, mostly older guys with grown up kids. At first I thought I would be reprimanded about being lazy and get a damn job. But all of these men, mostly very manly, war vets and stuff like that, have encouraged me and said its great to see a Dad with his kids. Some of them even having a bit of regret for not spending more time with their own kids, their words not mine.

Children need strong role models, male and female, Dads, you need to spend whatever time you can with your kids. Ensuring your children have a childhood where they learn to grow up to be educated, well-rounded, caring, strong adults, well, thats probably the manliest thing you can do as a father. Whether that means you work and provide the income for your family or stay home and teach them values and skills from home. Do what you have to do to create the future generation

99 Deborah November 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Yes, I agree to a woman there is nothing ore manly then watching her husband taking care of their children. I read somewhere being a man means attending tea parties. For the simple matter that they are their being involved in the raising and upbringing process is truly important and vital to the kids themselves. I believe that the mother should not just focus on her job and leave the husband to handle it all but help as well. So you are co-parenting. If it is possible unless of course you a single dad of course then that makes it harder.

100 Anthony December 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I stay at home with my daughter during the day, and I love it. Its really nice to get so much time with her and to see her grow. At night I go to work. I work 12 hour shifts so i have half the week off. It provides me lots of time to do both.

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