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Stay-at-home dads face a challenge

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 28-05-2008

According to 2006 data from US Census Bureau, there were 143,000 stay-at-home dads on Father’s Day two years ago, not including single parents, compared to 5.6 million stay-at-home moms.

That number has grown slightly in the last few years, the Associated Press reports, but then so has the number of moms.

Dads can decide to act as the primary carer for their children for a number of reasons, including finances, wanting to bond or because of single parenting.

However, the preponderance of mothers at nurseries, playgrounds and social events such as children’s parties can make it an isolating and lonely experience for men.

The Associated Press spoke to Mike Biewenga, a stay-at-home dad for the last four years, who noticed that moms would sit further away from him during visits to a reading group at a local library.

"There was a gap, then me, then a gap, then the rest of the circle … I mean, I shave, I comb my hair. I’m a normal-looking guy," he said.

Groups and websites have now been formed to help fathers who stay at home with their kids to network and share their stories, while moms are getting more used to seeing guys in the playground during the week.

And with increasing work pressures, the role of a stay-at-home day is becoming ever-more valuable.

A recent study from British children’s charity the NSPCC found that 59 percent of fathers questioned believe their careers keep them away from their sons and daughters.