Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I became a stay-at-home father largely because of what I now know to be the very patriarchal attitudes of top management at my workplace. While my immediate supervisors, who were women, were very sympathetic to things like requests for time off because of a sick child, the male head of our organization was quite the opposite. Frankly, my wife and partner had a far more difficult time cancelling her day to stay home than I did. She was, in fact, the primary wage earner for our home, and a lost day of work for her affected us far more than a lost day for me did. But whenever I had to take time off to stay home, our director was the first to ask, “Well, why can’t his wife do it?” He constantly made comments in front of other (female!) staff about how it wasn’t really my “place” to take time off for that. Ultimately his feelings about my situation resulted in my being assigned to duties and hours that were more and more difficult until they became untenable. Unfortunately I chose simply to leave rather than to fight the situation. I chose to stay at home full time. We have never regretted my decision to stay at home, but I often regret having allowed this individual to get away with perpetuating his stereotyped ideas about what constituted my proper role as a worker, as a parent, and as a man.