House Husbands – A Role Reversal

For centuries, we have been locked into gender roles of male as the provider and protector and female as home maker and nurturer. But the 21st century has seen the beginning of role reversals within the family. Men are opting to stay at home and become house husbands. The West, especially Canada, UK and USA, has accepted this new concept of stay-at-home husbands. Asian and Indian families are still a long way from doing so. Muslims believe that it is unislamic for a man to take on the role of a woman.

Reasons for Change:

• As mid-life approaches, many men feel trapped in stressful corporate jobs. They long for less demanding occupations and believe that house work and care of children is easier and will leave time for recreation and hobbies.

• There has been an unprecedented rise of women in the work force. Higher education and professional skills have shattered the glass ceiling, so that women are able to take on jobs which were once the prerogative of men. In many instances, they may be drawing higher salaries than their husbands. Sometimes women are the sole bread winners. Feminist ideologies, availability of contraception and the influence of the Media have also contributed to the rise of working women.

• Unemployment and loss of white collar jobs for men.

• Marvels of telecommunication allow men to work from home and thus ensure a regular pay packet. Working hours and patterns are flexible.

Advantages of being Full-time Fathers:

1. This eliminates the need for home help which is becoming expensive and unreliable. There are many instances of maids starving, sedating or ill treating children. Sometime ago, an Indian newspaper reported that a working woman came home in the middle of the day to find her child missing and the maid happily watching TV and munching peanuts. On questioning, the maid said she had sedated the baby and given him to a beggar woman, on a rental of Rs.100 per day.

Theft of food articles, money or jewelry has also been reported from time to time.

2. Children need not be left in child care centers during the day.

3. Participation of fathers in the parenting process is said to enhance the physical, emotional and behavioral development of children. They become more emotionally balanced and develop better coping skills. They grow up to be confident and self assured.

4. Mothers can pursue their careers without feeling guilty that children are not well cared for. Because they are stress free they are able to give their best to their jobs. When work is over, they are relaxed enough to spend quality time with the family and make up for their absence during the day.

5. Husbands become adept at managing the kitchen and discovering their latent culinary talents.

6. Men are likely to spend frugally and balance the budget efficiently. Women are sometimes prone to over-spending on things they don’t need or hoarding more than is required.

7. Housework is not discrediting …

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