THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Show stopper: Myths of the stay-at-home dad

For those of you who don't know, my husband has brought up divorce. Many people have suggested that they would divorce me for writing about my marriage. But in fact, this is not what's troubling my husband.

To be honest, I'm not totally sure what the problem is, but I think it's career-related since I have a great career, and his stalled when he became a stay-at-home dad.

I know there are a lot of stay-at-home dads, and while it may seem like there are a lot who are happy, I think it's really just that every single one of the happy ones is writing about it.

There are a lot of stay-at-home dads in my neighborhood. After all, I live in a town where you can buy a house for under $200,000, so living on one income is not that hard here. That's part of the reason we moved to Madison, Wisconsin.

So my friend who writes for a huge and widely read publication needed some stay-at-home dads to interview. And I said, "I know a bunch. I'll give you names." But you know what? None would talk. (Naturally, my husband would not talk, because stay-at-home parenting has been a disaster for us.) And if you ask all the high-level women who have men at home with their kids (there are tons), their husbands are not talking.

So I'm going to tell you the truth about stay-at-home dads: the happy ones are working part-time at something they love. This is not surprising because research from the Pew Research Center shows that the majority of women with kids would rather work part-time than either stay at home full-time or work full-time. Which explains why we're done with the stay-at-home dad routine.

Not that I really know what my husband is doing, though, because we are barely talking. We're doing what I imagine lots of couples do when things fall apart: acting totally normal at events where normal families show up as families, and then pretending we don't know each other at home.

And I do feel a little like I don't know him. Last night I accepted a LinkedIn invitation from a friend. I went immediately to see our common connections– my favorite thing to on LinkedIn– and there was my husband.

I wasn't shocked that she knew him. I was shocked by what he wrote for his profession. Stay-at-home dad, former online game producer.

Surely writing stay-at-home dad on a LinkedIn profile cannot be good. But that's what he is, so what else is he going to write? I went to LinkedIn to investigate the stay-at-home situation. When I searched the string "stay at home," I got 471 results. It makes sense, I guess, because the biggest problem people have when they leave work to take care of a kid is that they lose their contacts. So LinkedIn would be an obvious thing to do to make going back to work easier.

The list was mostly moms. The first guy I saw was not only a stay-at-home dad, but in his special skills section he listed "baby stuff."

As the career expert in my household, I always think I'm ten steps ahead of my husband. But I didn't know that somewhere in the back of his mind, while we're at soccer games and swimming lessons, he has been wrestling with the question of what to write on LinkedIn, which is really the question of how to present himself professionally when he's abandoned his profession. I feel very lucky that I'm the one who kept up a career.

So we are interviewing babysitters because my husband needs time to think, and you can't think about the state of your life and what to do about it when you're taking care of kids.


1 comment

This is the most pathetic, passive aggressive catty attack I've ever read, and it strikes me that if you spent as much time trying to communicate with your husband as you have trying to eviscerate him in your column, perhaps he'd not be considering divorce.