Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stay-at-home Dad

By Anonymous

My partner and I are becoming more serious and thinking about our future. For the past few months, we've been talking about marriage and our thoughts on starting a life together. One day, as we're having our usual conversations, without thinking or properly framing my thoughts, I blurted out, "I want you to be a stay at home dad!" As I watched his eyes bewilder and confusion spread across his face, I realized this was more threatening then what I really meant. 

As supportive, progressive and understanding as he can be, staying at home and taking care of our child(ren) is still very much a women's job. It took two different conversations to help him see where I was coming from and be comfortable enough to support my suggestion of our roles. Even though he initially didn't receive the idea very well, he was completely on board after our talk. He even volunteered himself for all sorts of household responsibilities. My partner was more ecstatic than I was about taking care of kids and doing house work!
You see, the expectations from cultural and patriarchal systems was instilled so deep in him, his aspiration was never explored or flourished. As I give him a supportive space to share his thoughts and ideas on family planning, I'm realizing what a great partner he is and a much better "stay at home parent" than I can ever muster up to be! Upon our conversation, I learned that he's very creative, discipline, family-oriented and has a strong desire to be more than the financial provider for our child(ren). It was interesting to me, watching him carefully unravel his family planning ideas as he also tries to balance the stigma and compromises he would have to make with his masculine image.
Of course, I also compromised and offered him my support by validating that he is still "working" and contributing to our family even if he's not the bread winner. We don't know what our future holds and what situation we may come across but at the moment, this family plan seems to best fit us. If anything shall arise and the situation flips, where I need time at home and he needs to go out and work, we're also willing to do so. I'm so thankful he can see pass the expectations and willingly take up a bigger role. His willingness and unconditional support is the kind we need from more partners.

I don't believe women are better housewives and my partner is one example of many. I can't help but wonder, how many male partners would be comfortable with the idea of being a stay at home dad if they were given a system of support? How many women would be supportive of their partner if they wanted to be the stay at home parent instead?

I'd love to hear other thoughts! 

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