By: Scott Pepin
I want to preference this article by saying I find myself applying gender roles when it comes to my son. These roles have been engrained in me by my parents, grandparents as well as their past generations. I am working on trying to change that mindset in myself for my son and future generations.
A little background on me, I grew up with basically a single mom for most of my life. She filled the role of mom and dad as well as the only source of income for our family, often working two jobs, and never really having a day off. So when it came to it she filled all roles regardless of her gender. I think this has played a significant part in me being willing to change my attitude towards typical gender roles as I have started my own family.
I am a chef by trade but now I am a stay at home dad with a son almost 21 months old. My wife works in the corporate world in a job that can be pretty demanding and also stressful. I am fortunate to have a wife that can support me being at home as well as us financially. She is a strong independent woman and a great mom. So when it comes to typical gender roles the book has been pretty much flipped in my house.
I have noticed especially with men in my generation that it has become more common to see this example of breaking thetypical gender roles in this way, which is awesome. Just about every SAHD I know seems to not mind staying home and taking care of things. This is definitely a good sign for future generations of men and women pertaining to gender roles.
Now on the flip side there are a lot of men and women who still do not get or understand this, which is unfortunate. A lot of them make assumptions about me when they find out I am a SAHD. Oh he can’t get a job or he is lazy that’s why he stays home. They don’t express this verbally but I can see it in their eyes when they look at me judgingly. The sad part is they have no idea I am fully capable and love being a SAHD. I would never give it up for anything. Don’t get me wrong there are tough days. Also I miss being in a restaurant kitchen because I love being a chef but being with my son during the early years is truly priceless.
I get questions from other dads that work, about how I do it? Why do I do it? Do I feel like less of a man? Does my wife wear the pants in the family? All these questions are asked because of typical gender roles. It’s like they think it’s a bad thing to be home to take care of the kids and the house and like it’s the woman’s job to do that. I feel sorry for them because they do not get to know their kids like I get to know my son.
In the end for a lot of people typical gender roles still apply. I think it’s important to teach our children to not rely on typical gender roles and to be themselves no matter what society dictates. We would all be better off being ourselves instead of worrying about gender roles.