Looking for an alternative to the Stay-at-home dad label

Looking for an alternative to the Stay-at-home dad label

image for Looking for an alternative to the Stay-at-home dad label

Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

Do Stay-at-home Dads (SAHDs) need a title? Anne-Marie Slaughter, over at The Atlantic, argues that dads who are the family's primary caretakers need a word to describe them that makes "male caregiving attractive to men" and makes it "cool."

From The Atlantic:

We need a new vocabulary to describe men who choose to be at home as caregivers all or part of the time. In my last post I linked to Abigail Rine's description of her "feminist housedude," a term that is catchy but unlikely to spread beyond the hipper spots on the West coast. Mr. Mom is obviously out, as is househusband. Stay-at-home dad is neutral but not exactly enticing.

One alternative is the phrase that a number of men are using, calling themselves "work-at-home" dads. Most of them mean that they are working on income-generating projects out of the home while also taking care of kids, but we use work-at-home mothers and work-at-home fathers for any parents who are not actually going into an office, whether they are working for pay or not? Or we could try to ignore gender altogether and call men or women spending time at home caring for children, aging parents, or any other family member needed care full-time or part-time caregivers, while calling anyone who works for pay, whether from home or an office, a full-time or part-time breadwinner.


Caregivers and breadwinners is the right frame of reference for thinking about work-family issues as a whole, as it takes account of both straight and gay men and women in a wide variety of roles. But it feels too abstract—dare I say it, too academic—to be part of everyday conversation. Similarly, work-at-home mothers and work-at-home fathers seems too politically correct and simply does not provide the information that the questioner wants to know, rightly or wrongly, which is whether you work for pay or not. The deeper problem, of course, is that when someone asks you "what do you do," unless you tell them you work for pay they will conclude that you don't actually "do" anything. Caregiving doesn't register as an occupation, no matter how demanding and rewarding it might be. But that's a much bigger conversation for another day.

My point in raising the entire question of a vocabulary to describe men at home is to find a way to make male caregiving attractive to men—indeed to make it cool. Any term that is just a male version of a female term, like househusband instead of housewife, won't do it. It is easier for a woman to be masculine than for a man to be feminine, the gay rights movement notwithstanding. Stay-at-home father does not have that problem, but in a society that prizes dynamism and movement as much as Americans do, any label that starts with "stay" is not going to be cool. Contrast "stay at home" with "go out into the world": which would you prefer?

 

Read more: The Atlantic

See also...

image for Video - Importance of Communication Part 1 - The Cornerstone of a Healthy Military Marriage

Video - Importance of Communication Part 1 - The Cornerstone of a Healthy Military Marriage

One of the first things I learned from interviewing male military spouses who have successful marriages is that they all talk with their wives. I'm not referring to common daily small talk, but actual deep communication about their feelings, desires, and fears. The stuff that can make most men squirm; talk of love, dreams, hope, and sometimes about what just happened on the Bachelor are all conversations these guys aren't afraid to tackle.

This video is the first in a multi-part series on communication that features Scott Stanley, PhD. University of Denver, and male spouses from across the nation sharing insight into why it's important for military families to practice good communication skills.

(Interviews with Scott Stanley, PhD., Patrick Donaldson, Glen Mixon, Francis Guerrero, Bill Keller, and Jeremy Hilton.)

image for The First  Male Military Spouse Day and Scholarship Giveaway

The First Male Military Spouse Day and Scholarship Giveaway

MMSScholarship.jpgThe School of Firearms Technology (SFT) at Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) and Macho Spouse have announced the first ever Male Military Spouse Day dedicated to the male spouses of America's service members. To celebrate the launch of Male Military Spouse Day, SDI is offering a scholarship opportunity for male military spouses. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be a member of the MachoSpouse.com community (registration is FREE and all we ask is your email address). This year's debut Male Military Spouse Day will see one spouse within our community win a full-tuition scholarship for the School of Firearms Technology professional Gunsmithing certificate course. The winner will also receive a complete build of an AR-15 rifle, for a total award value of more than $3,000.

SFT created this course specifically to fit within the MyCAA scholarship. However, you do not have to qualify for MyCAA benefits to be eligible for this scholarship opportunity.  Hear from Terry Fields, a male military spouse on this great opportunity in the video above.

Male Military Spouse Day

The first Male Military Spouse Day will be May 7, 2015 in order to honor the lives and struggles of our under-recognized population.
With nearly 190,000 male military spouses globally (per DoD), our large but scattered group faces significant challenges. Stigma and social disconnection complicate common military spouse issues such as underemployment and family stress, leading to a divorce rate nearly three times higher among military-affiliated couples in which the wife is the service member. (Just released stats show this high % of divorce for male military spouses to be dropping, great news, but we still have a lot of work to do!)

The purpose of Male Military Spouse Day will be to raise the public profile of this group in order to facilitate awareness of male military spouse concerns and the development of solutions to preventable problems such as social isolation and educational access. Here's what Macho Spouse founder, Chris Pape, had to say about being a part of Male Military Spouse Day: “Considering that Macho Spouse is the only legitimate resource available to male military spouses, it is a great feeling to be part of an official "Male Military Spouse Day." In fact, given that this is probably the first official Male Military Spouse Day ever, it's even more exciting! Now, throw in the fact that one or our members will be awarded a life-changing opportunity to receive an SDI Gunsmithing scholarship, and this will be one hell of a day!”

Gunsmithing Scholarship Opportunity

SDI's scholarship opportunity offered in conjunction with the first Male Military Spouse Day is intended to showcase the resources that are available to male spouses who have yet to take advantage of their military-sponsored My Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) education entitlement. However, the Gunsmithing scholarship recipient does not need MyCAA eligibility to qualify for the award.
The School of Firearms Technology's Gunsmithing certificate course is an introductory class that teaches the knowledge and skills required to obtain an entry-level position as a gunsmith. All coursework is online and accessible from any location. Hardware for the course is shipped to the student as needed.  Graduates of SFT's Gunsmithing course will receive a certificate to present to employers as evidence of their training in the building, maintenance, customization, and legal sale of different types of firearms. Certificates can be used to obtain valid employment as a gunsmith. Many graduates take the course to get more knowledge on an enjoyable hobby or to get started on their own business. With military connections, they have a ready-made customer base.

Follow-Up Information

Macho Spouse and the Sonoran Desert Institute are initiating Male Military Spouse Day and the 2015 scholarship giveaway as a gesture of recognition and solidarity with male military spouses who struggle with economic or family stress. Readers can learn more about Gunsmith training at the online home of SDI's School of Firearms Technology or register as a member of Macho Spouse before the May 7th announcement of the scholarship winner.

About Sonoran Desert Institute: The School of Firearms Technology began in 1921 (that's even older than the NRA!), under the name of the School of Gunsmithing. Since then, it has transformed into an internationally recognized school offering multiple programs, including one of the only Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degrees in the country, some of the nation's best Gunsmithing Certificate programs, and a diverse armorer's programs. The School of Firearms Technology's elite faculty and staff include celebrated military personnel, nearly 75 years' worth of combined higher education experience, nationally recognized firearms experts and more.