I have never let anyone guest post anonymously on this blog before, but today is an exception, and you’ll see why if you keep reading.

Every time I write about stay-at-home dads, tons of them write to me. They always want me to tell their story. The only emails I get that say “contact me if you want to interview me about my life” are from stay-at-home dads.

Not much ever comes of this, but there’s one exception: a guy I’ve been corresponding with for the last year about what life’s like as a stay-at-home dad. Today’s guest post is actually a bunch of his emails that I’ve edited, with his permission. I like this guy because he is more honest with me about his life than any other stay-at-home dad I know.


When a person asks “What kind of marriage works today?” they learn that there are so many more options available than there were even 25 years ago. My mother and grandmother never would have been able to ask that question because there was only one type of marriage in the past. My wife and I have pretty much taken the old template and switched genders.

But it’s hard on me having a similar education and background to my wife and yet having her be the big success in her field while I’m not in it at all. There are many times when my wife accomplishes something and I say to myself that I never could have done that. And as my wife spends less time with our family and more time with work people, my focus and my social circle is different from hers.

So let me give you two of the positives about being in my position as a stay-at-home husband.

First, it is so great that my wife has a kick-ass job, makes good money, and provides so well for our family. She rocks. And it’s great for the kids.

Second, she’s really good at letting me do what I do. Not a lot of second guessing or interference. She’s never ever complained about anything I’ve spent or what I do. Not that I’m irresponsible or frivolous, but it’s just nice knowing that I can pretty much do what I want to do. I wouldn’t be staying home at all if not for her income.

Yes, there is a power imbalance, but I’ve gotten used to it. If I thought about it a lot, it would probably drive me crazy. But that imbalance comes with some of the perks that I embrace. Being able to commit and make this huge leap of faith is something that I’m very proud of myself for doing. And I know that my wife very much appreciates it. It’s certainly made me more vulnerable, but it’s added strength to our relationship.

But I’ve also been amazed as to how many propositions I’ve received since becoming a househusband. I have a pretty good sense of myself, so take my word that I’m not Brad Pitt but I’m not The Elephant Man either. But until I started staying home, I was never the object of this kind of attention.

Especially one winter, tagging along with her at a business conference.

On the first day I met a woman who really had her act together, single, about 50, and from Boston. A real flirt too. I flirted back. Same thing the next day. Each time we talked, she would talk about the seminars and other BS she’d attended (which my wife never does), and basically roll her eyes while giving the company-line on all the “interesting” things that she had learned. It was pretty funny.

On the second to last night, she said that, finally, tomorrow afternoon, she was actually looking forward to a meeting. I asked her what it was about. I’ll never forget what she said: “The two of us. I’m leaving the morning meeting early. Come to my room and we can have lunch and the afternoon together.”

The next morning, slinking around and probably acting like a burglar, I knocked, went in, and we spent three really great hours together. And that was it. At the last cocktail party, we bantered again.We’ve emailed a few times since them, but never gotten together.

At times I can’t believe the course my life has taken and I doubt that my wife has a huge amount of respect for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a chauvinist and always had a condescending view of women who stayed home, who live very pampered lives. Well, now I’m one of them. But I have to say that I’m really no different than a lot of women who are married to power husbands and play a supporting role. I just do what they do, with a masculine twist.


ADDENDUM: YIKES!!! The comments below (there are now about 40) ask the same question over and over again: What is the point of this post? So here are some questions that I think the post brings up:

Is being a stay-at-home dad any different than the life that Betty Friedan and Sylvia Plath worked so hard to get away from?

Is the world really ready for stay-at-home dads? Will the world ever be ready? We have done a more successful job, I think, integrating women into the work world than men into the domestic world. Are women crossing these boundaries more validated than the men who cross the boundaries?

Why is the world not talking about the downside of being a stay-at-home dad? Moms complain about this lifestyle all the time –when they are doing it — but men don’t.

Do women respect their stay-at-home husbands? I wonder if women might have to work very very hard to respect their husbands who stay at home. Perhaps gratitude comes easily, but respect takes a huge effort and a lot of mental tricks.

Why do women hit on stay-at-home dads?

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178 replies
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  1. Sara
    Sara says:

    It’s hard to say for sure since the post is short and anecdotal, but what I gleaned from this story is that it sounds like the guy feels almost… justified (or at least doesn’t sound like he feels guilty) in his actions because of the role he’s in. If anything, it’s convinced me that personality is less affected by one’s daily role than I may have thought. I bet if this guy was a CEO and his wife was home with the kids, he’d be banging his secretary and still feel alright about it.

  2. Joselle Palacios
    Joselle Palacios says:

    @jenniferp: Just to clarify since I asked “Why is he not a success?” I don’t think choosing to stay home to raise children is a loser move at all, for mothers or fathers. I was wondering why he was not a success in his profession because that’s how HE put it in the emails. Is the reason he’s staying at home because he couldn’t hack his career? Or because he wanted to do it for his kids? Those questions aren’t answered but they’re important.

  3. Shane
    Shane says:

    Back to see further reaction…

    Who are these tools insulting P.Trunk and unsubscribing? Geez! One blog that isn’t as well-developed as her usual high standards, and it’s hit the road?

    Penny, you’re better off without those clowns. I hope you haven’t taken some of the arsehole traffic that is leaving personally. That’s just pathetic. Anyone who has ever blogged knows you can’t hit a home run every time.

    I expected interesting dialogue in the comments, not derision and stupidity. Not sorry to see them go at all.

  4. Ken
    Ken says:

    In a nutshell, stay-at-home spouses resent that their partner is working outside the home, and to compensate, they find a piece of ass.

    When will you post a story about a stay-at-home parent?

    I’m hoping the end result isn’t the same as this one…a three-hour fling just because the opportunity was there doesn’t paint anyone in a good light, much less someone who is home with the kid(s).

    Penelope: is this a recap of your marriage? It kind of reads like your writing, so maybe you’re spilling the beans about an affair your husband had while he attended a conference with you, thus the real reason for your divorce.

    Please advise.

  5. Jill
    Jill says:

    So after his relationship was strengthened, he cheated on his wife while attending her business conference. What was the relationship like before? I was hoping for more insight from this, since generally I get so much out of this blog…

  6. david rees
    david rees says:

    I was wondering that Ken, but I discounted it because:

    1. its a bit too obvious
    2. the conversations were email – I doubt her husband would reveal that in email
    3. he says his wife provides well – I could be wrong, but reading between the lines, they seem to be stretched a bit
    4. he said it added strength to their relationship – when PT recounts her life, it seems the SAHD thing did the opposite

    Also – why do women hit on SAHDs? Here is my guess:
    1. They may *seem* easier to control
    2. Marrieds in general and stay-at-homes in particular have a lot to lose by confessing an affair
    3. They are readily available and are probably not being carefully monitored
    4. They seem different – perhaps more sensitive or conversational
    5. Maybe it is the inverse of the attraction men feel towards powerful career women.

  7. Ken
    Ken says:

    Hey David,

    I agree that the chance of her ex e-mailing is remote at best, but maybe it seemed a perfect disguise.

    “No one will think I’m writing about my situation if I pose the communication as several e-mails!”

    Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the obvious things in life because they seem TOO obvious.

    Plus I signed up for Twitter cuz o’ Ms. Trunk…I saw in one of her Twitters she was blogging about her hubby when he startled her.

    This post is the nearest I can find that could pass for a blog about her husband.

    Just a hunch.

    Maybe Penelope needs someone to talk to other than her ex, friends who encouraged her to walk a way and lawyers.


    Although if she does start to talk about the proceedings, I think many of us will find it refreshing.

    Oh, the life of a voyeur!

  8. Ken
    Ken says:

    What’s with my incessent use of spaces?

    It was overkill in my last comment!

    Maybe I’ll trademark it.

  9. quibble
    quibble says:

    The 5 paragraphs dealing with the affair don’t make much sense to me. It just seemed off topic to go into a story about him cheating, taking up almost half of the post. Especially, because his motives and the relationship between him and his wife don’t seem clearly explained.

    We only get hints as to why he would have cheated on his wife such as: “I doubt my wife has a huge amount of respect for me”, or where he mentions the power imbalance. The article glosses over the motives. Does she not respect him because she found out about the affair? Or did she not respect him before, thus leading to his affair?

    I just wish their was more insight into how the relationship is working (how he feels about himself, his wife, kids, parenting, cheating, etc).

    I just have so many questions. I don’t understand why he did that. It initially sounded like things were alright, but then the affair made it sound like he was unhappy. And finally, he sounds almost indifferent about the whole thing, maybe even proud of his sexual conquest. I just don’t get it…

    One question that I think must be answered: Is he still married to the women he cheated on?

  10. Jeremy (Discovering Dad)
    Jeremy (Discovering Dad) says:

    Came back to read more comments – I think my biggest problem remains that the post does not support the title, from my experience. If this dude feels good about his life, and you think it is representative of SAHDs, well, you’re both entitled to your opinions – it is nothing like what I’ve been through and experienced though.

    On a side not – you sure do have a lot of people who like to defend you Penelope. It seems kind of silly though, in a taking my ball and going home, good-riddance kind of way.

  11. Gretchen
    Gretchen says:

    Penelope, I’m sorry but Maggie explained the issues a lot better than your anonymous stay at home guy. She at least put it in context.

    I think the cheating thing shouldn’t be framed as an issue of gender. I don’t think that this or anything else has suggested stay at home dads are more or less likely to cheat than stay at home moms.

    There is a whole kettle of fish here on the topic of stay at home dads, but to address just one issue, I don’t think more women hit on stay at home dads. I think they have more time to pick up on the fact that they are being hit on.

    Just my pulled out of thin air theory.

  12. sophie
    sophie says:

    As I regularly read Penelope’s posts and comments, the same re-occurring thing always comes to mind. Career first, kids second, or wherever they fit in. Many of you are going to some day look back and say, wow, what was so dang important about my career and why the heck did I spend so much time on that rather than my family?

    I have nothing against both parents working, one working, one at home…whatever. But as I approach 50 and I see how fast my life is going and my children have grown, I find it’s my family that is giving me most satisfaction and meaning. Work and the career are really falling far behind. I imagine this will only continue as I get older.

    What’s really great about this is 30 years ago, my husband and I somehow realized…through know brainiac idea of our own…that these kids of ours were pretty important. The time we spent with them then is what’s making them so enjoyable now.

    Always keep in mind the song “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

    That said, the SAHD is a total loser. Scum. Good riddance to him. Hmmm, Penelope’s lawyer told her not to write about her husband..directly, that is.

  13. Mat leave mom
    Mat leave mom says:

    Re: the issue of a SAHD being hit on. I don’t think the stay-at-home-parent scene in any given neighborhood is that different from any social setting (broadly interpreted). If there are vastly more women than men in a workplace, or in a college classroom, or wherever, chances are the good looking, outgoing men in the group will be hit on –even if everyone knows they are married or otherwise in committed relationships and not theoretically available.

    And the reverse is true too — women in professions dominated by men probably find they get hit on more than women in professions dominated by women or that are more equal. It’s a numbers thing.

    When I take my kids to a local drop in parent-tot gym, or a parent-baby class, or some such place, if a SAHD (or a dad with Friday’s off who spends it with his kid) is there, and is outgoing and clearly a good, involved parent — as opposed to quiet and shy and awkward with his kid — he has a gaggle of giggly mums around him.

  14. debbie
    debbie says:

    “respect takes a huge effort and a lot of mental tricks” WTF!!! I am so sorry that your marriage didn’t work out – but don’t think for a minute that most working women with SAHD require mental tricks to respect their husbands. I stayed at home for 3 years, before my husband took over – I have NOTHING but respect for what he does!

  15. Jim Eiden
    Jim Eiden says:

    Ther ewas a movie about this exact topic. It was called “Mr. Mom,” starring Michael Keaton. He almost has an affair with Ann Jillian.

    This post just seems like the Mr. Mom movie to me, except that the Husbad in question closes the deal.

    In my case though, we live in Chicagoland and my wife works in Kentucky. She flies to Kentucky every Tuesday morning and comes home Thursday night. When she is not in Kentucky, she is in North Carolina, Nevada, or in China or Vietnam. When she is overseas, she can be gone for 2 weeks or more at a time. I work too. But I do not travel.

    Here is my schedule:
    6:00 – 6:30 – Wake up kids and we all get ready
    6:30 – 7:30 – eat breakfast sign / review homework
    7:30 – Send kids to neighbors house
    7:30 – Leave for bus
    7:52 – Take bus to train station
    8:12 – Take train to Chicago
    work through lunch until 5:15
    5:22 – take train back to suburbs
    6:00 – take bus back to parking lot
    6:30 – 7:30 – get home, pick up kids from soccer practice
    7:00 – 9:00 – Make dinner, do dishes, do laundry, get kids to bed
    9:00 – 12:00am work on side projects, blogs, etc. until bed.

    I have someone watching my kids in the morning and someone else meeting them after school and getting them to soccer practice, helping with homework, etc.

    My wife makes great money and her company has been very good to her. My day job is contract IT consulting where I get paid by the hour. I am on my wife’s benefits.

    It is not easy at all, I am practically a single parent. But the kids are 12 and 9 years old. I am trying to get them to be self reliant. They make their own breakfast in the morning, so that helps.

    I have gotten used to being alone almost every night.

  16. Sidney
    Sidney says:

    Another classic post. Starts with a Letter from the Penthouse Forum as Debbie and Lori so accurately pointed out (the email is definitely a fake-from either “the guy” or Penelope). Then, after the obligatory sex scene, you can add subtle digs at SAHD’s to irritate the soon to be ex. Finally, a good collection of racuous comments including Clarissa’s and Mr. STTM (Shane The Tool Man) who apparently like their dialogue one-sided and fawning. I guess Gen-Y’ers have no need for reflection and critical analysis.

    More reasons why this is one of my favorite blogs to check in on before the end of the workday. Never a dull moment :)

  17. Rolly Keenan
    Rolly Keenan says:

    Wow, that guy sucks! First of all, I don’t think you need a reason to put anything on your blog so I’m not going to ask you, “what’s the point?”. With that said, I’d love to hear more subtle issues working dads like me wouldn’t think of when suddenly juggling the daily schedules of the family instead of juggling life at work. SAHD and the issues that would surround it is very interesting. Reading about this total slimeball was not the most interesting (but you have every right to blog about him :)

  18. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    I loved the candid-ness. As a female professional with a high income (six figures), I am very worried about what will happen when my other half and I get to that point. I am the major bread winner but I know without a doubt that he will resent me for reminding him, and really resent me if I were to suggest that if someone stay home financially it should be him. Gender is clearly a huge factor; women are told to expect to be pampered by their man. Women get funny looks if they say that their husband stays home (trust me, I have a family member who has taken to lying to avoid this situation).

    Women know what “must” be going through a man’s mind, but seeing it in black and white is interesting. Men and women must fulfill the roles they feel are right for them (whether they are right or not?) or else their relationships will be dysfunctional. And it’s so sad too, because sometimes people don’t realize their strengths. The problem really starts when one spouse puts a role on another.

    Why must stay at home parents talk about their kids? Why always the kids? Goodness, but don’t they see them enough to talk about something else when they can? My sister said it best when outside the home and asked to talk about her kids (she is a stay at home mom): what? Are they here too?

  19. Alice Bachini-Smith
    Alice Bachini-Smith says:

    Why do women hit on stay home dads?

    Stay home moms: because they’re the only men in the playgroup.

    Wealthy successful career women: because they think stay home dads are dumb pushovers who will act like office juniors when told what to do.

    (Then there are the nice women of course. They don’t hit on stay home dads at all. But we’re not talking about them, are we.)

  20. James
    James says:

    Hi Penelope, I’ve never commented on a post before, but I was reading through the comments here and I thought I’d just put in a word of support. I actually thought this was a well done post. It was honest, nothing more, nothing less. The guy didn’t say that he hated being a stay at home husband, he didn’t say he liked it either.

    My wife is a stay at home wife (no kids yet). She’s the one with the degree, and I’m the one with the career. So posts like these make me try to get into her head, and really get an understanding of how she may or may not be feeling. It helps me just be aware.

    Thanks Penelope!

  21. Lala
    Lala says:

    Wow today I realized you can subscribe to blogs instead of simply navigating to them. Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can escape notice until brought up in conversation. Now I’m signed up. (-:

  22. Ken
    Ken says:

    I’d like to say, by the way, that your blog is as intriguing/interesting as Casey Serin’s was (back when he was on) when you drop bombs like this.

    You have a lot of talent, Ms. Trunk.

  23. Encouraged
    Encouraged says:

    I’m glad our world is changing to allow something other than the career husband and homemaker mother to be acceptable. We don’t have to fit into those cookie cutters anymore and lets face it so many people in history never did fit.

    I most likes the descriptions in the comments I have read so far about even more alternative work/parent situations. Day care is damn expensive!

    I think Penelope should run for office. Her associate feels well respected by their spouse AND gets laid.

    “Sex for everyone!” could be your platform.

  24. kristi
    kristi says:

    As the wife of a SAHD, I was not surprised by the post, but it was sad to read. My current husband has been at home as long as we’ve been together for one reason after another.
    With my ex, I stayed home for years and worked hard to make sure the household was running smoothly, volunteered, baked/cooked etc.
    I would have so much more respect for my husband if he would take his role as seriously as he would an outside job, instead of doing things half-way.
    My schedule: wake up at 7, in car by 7:30 drive to work for an hour then work thru lunch to 5:30 and drive home for an hour. 2 out of 3 chance I will have to make dinner for myself and kids when I get home.
    His schedule: sleep til 10am – toddlers get themselves up and watch cartoons, snacking on dry cereal. Surf internet and occasionally change diaper or get drinks/food for toddlers until midday. Watch TV until teens get home to take over babysitting, then back to internet. Occasionally do some laundry, but leave it in baskets for weeks.

    He calls himself a stay at home dad, but it doesn’t compare to what being a stay at home mom entails…not even close! Yet, he gets way more credit for his choice because people assume he does what a woman would be doing in his shoes: ie. cooking, shopping, cleaning, childcare, and just parenting in general.

  25. Alexis
    Alexis says:

    Penelope, you ask if women respect their stay at home husbands and why the world isn’t talking about the downside.

    My husband was a stay at home dad.

    Now we are divorced and I’m still supporting him financially even though his definition of what it meant to be the stay at home parent and mine were much different and for the last 2 years of our marriage I was begging him to get a job … alas the divorce.

    I would have respected him as a stay at home dad if he would have committed himself to it fully. If he had made parenting our children the purpose of his life, we’d probably still be married.

    But, I came to discover that he was a stay at home dad because he had no other purpose and he thought it’d be the easy thing to do.


    Thanks for raising the issue. Once again, you’ve inspired me to post on my blog about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ll track ya back.

  26. Kiran Denniz
    Kiran Denniz says:

    This can’t be a post by a real SAHD. The context’s too close to PT’s situation. And he doesn’t even talk about being a dad. Either way, the guy comes across as a whiny loser who needs tail to feel better about himself.

    Kudos to Ed Borden & Jeremy (Discovering Dad). I don’t think I could juggle so much if I were in their places. Whoever stays at home needs to have a fair bit of inner strength – male or female. You guys rock.

  27. PG
    PG says:

    sooo much has been said already so it’s hard to add anything new here, but DUH!

    Opinion of course….

    Not going to waste another moment on it.

  28. Recruiting Animal
    Recruiting Animal says:

    This post was about the sexiness of guys with kids. That’s it. And, if true, it didn’t even prove his point. He got a proposition from one 50 year old woman and went for it like a starving dog.

    When the Gen Y Revolution changes everything, assholes like this are going to end up in the dustbin of history. If a Gen Y husband says he gets hit on, you’ll know it’s by two or three girls in their 20s and 30s every time he takes the kids for a stroll.

    And he might be a bit flattered but he won’t accept any of their value propositions because he’s seen his own family wrecked by the poor behaviour of his Baby Boomer parents and doesn’t want the same for his wife and kids.

    And in the future, once the evil baby boomers are gone, people won’t need to cheat on eachother because they’ll have a better set up with relatively brief serial marriages that don’t allow partners to get bored. (Once everyone starts living to 130, lifetime monogamy is going out the window).

    And everyone’s going to be telecommuting anyway so there won’t be any more househusbands or wives.

  29. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    @Penelope – thanks for the post.
    @Kristi and Alexis – thanks for your comments on this post as it easily demonstrates to me the importance of comments on a blog and has helped me to understand this particular issue.

  30. Perplexed
    Perplexed says:

    Love the blogs about managing your career, and frequently share them and enlist new subscribers. Not at all interested in the ones that are self-serving (eg, this one and the one about fighting/flirting with your business partner.) It’s putting yourself out there in a negative way.

    You have a certain talent that can make you famous and RESPECTED. We all know you’re in tremendous pain, and many of us sympathize or even empathize. Be careful not to sabotage yourself by allowing emotion to preside over intelligence. Focus…

  31. John H.
    John H. says:

    As a stay at home dad, there are aspects of this article and the comments that followed that are upsetting and also hit the nail on the head. Until 2 months ago, I had been a stay at home dad. When I lost my job at the world’s largest retailer, we were left financially strapped and ended up fialing bancruptcy. With all out debt eliminated we decided that financially it would be in our best intrest if I just stayed at home with our then 1year old daughter. As a stay at home dad, I never recieved and propositions as stated in the above artical. Even if I did, I would have rejected them, because I loved my wife and respected her to much to even think of such things. Unfortunatly that’s where the issue of respect comes in. As a stay at home dad watching a toddler all day long, I felt like my wife didn’t respect me, or what I did and the sacrifice I was making for our family. I hated being a stay at home dad. At first it was nice, sit at home, play with my daughter, play compouter games while she napped. But it’s still a Job. There is cleaning to do, dishes, laundry, and most importantly, caring for a child. All with no pay. Yet my wife would come home from work in the US Air Force and would complain about her job, bitch at me for something not getting done that I didn’t think was I didn’t think was important, and immediatly go lay down and fall asleep. It got real old, real fast. But I kept tellimg myself it would get better, we just have to adjust. Well now I am back in the work force and going back to college to get my degree, my daughter goes to day care, and my wife and I are getting a divorce (I found out that durring those years that I was a stay at home dad, she was having affairs with my friends and her co-workers. And now she’s engaged to a Canadian even though we’re still married and she’s still in the Air Force). It wasn’t easy, and damn anyone who says that stay at home dad’s are lazy bums. I worked my tail off to make sure our life stayed as normal as possible. I love my daughter and I give her everything she needs and so much more. The one thing that was the best about being a stay at home dad… being able to raise my daughter durring those key years of life. I wouldn’t trade that for the best paying job in the world.

  32. Dorothy
    Dorothy says:

    Of what this man is facing and what you are trying to show your readers. But I would disagree that this guy is a complete jerk and (gasp) think that a lot of the comments directed at him are sexist.

    I think if it had been a woman in his position you would see other posters stroking her ego and forgiving her, probably blaming her husband for neglecting her needs and offering advice to her on how she can make her SAH life a little more rewarding. So lets try applying that advice here….

    I think the Dad/Husband in question does sound like he is a little restless and unchallenged (intellectually and perhaps sexually speaking). Like a lot of women in his position he probably feels like he can’t burden the breadwinner with his needs because he stays at home and his life and pressures are probably seen as less than hers. Maybe he and his wife should try a little harder to find private time or plan date nights, maybe he needs to ask for that time and feels awkward about it?

    His anxiety about seeming or realizing he is chauvanist reveals a lot but not what I “think” he is looking for. I think he just feels surprised that he sympathizes with women in his role and yet feels emasculated for having to talk about how he’s feeling to his wife. That, to me, doesn’t have anything to do with his SAHD status, I think that happens in any relationship, regardless of circumstances. The SAHD is just there to blame, when in fact, there are plenty of men who work full time who feel the same apprehension about approaching their working wives about the very same thing.

    To me, his SAHD status is a scapegoat for a routine marital problem that he shouldn’t feel embarrassed about. Plenty of spouses feel confused in this role and even more face need fulfillment issues without being at home all the time.

    Lastly, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe he needs to figure out how to find time for his own career or intellectual needs. A hobby, classes in something he likes, or activity outside the home? Again, I do think that advice of this nature would have been heaped upon him had he been a woman and while I don’t excuse cheating, the causes behind it are not because hes a male or a jerk.

  33. Dorothy
    Dorothy says:

    In case the first sentence of my comment looks confusing, I had put “I think I get the essence”. It was a lead in to my first sentence. :)

  34. Nina
    Nina says:

    How insulting to all the REAL Stay-At-Home-Dads. I’m disappointed that you chose this guy over the TONS that supposedly want YOU to interview them. You are obviously a poor judge of character or you posted this just for the attention you knew it’d get you. Sad.

  35. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    It seems that if you want to have a real conversation about the topic of stay at home dads, which you have brought up several times, you need to post some real conversations/interviews with both the husband and the wife. This topic is great, truly intersting and important for people with young kids or thinking of having kids. However this approach leaves me feeling as though this was posted to rouse comments- not to really explore the issue.

  36. Dave Atkins
    Dave Atkins says:

    this is depressing…the whole thread. People waste too much time worrying about how others live their lives. It is possi ble to live in difficult circumstances, in challenging times and choose “happily.” Who cares why some women hit on SAHDs? Unless you are a bored SAHD.

  37. Phil
    Phil says:

    So the only thing I am seeing with this post is the common factor that you both enjoy flirting with other people??? If this was meant to be eye opening, all it did was show that there is one guy out there who is a sponge and living the life of Reily. His wife doesn’t care because she is probably out a lot herself on “business trips,” and she gets off on being empowered by being the money maker. Sorry, but this was a frivilous post because it said absolutely nothing about being a house husband. Have you been flirting with him as well?

  38. david rees
    david rees says:

    Way off base Dorothy – the people who have been hardest on the man in the article are the fathers and husbands. Thats not being sexist, thats just men being men (although to some, they are synonymous)

    Of course we would approach it differently if it was a woman – you would still get disdain and disgust, but it would be from a different angle. Despite all the truly great progress that has been made, men and women are still different.

    Men interact, bond and judge men in ways that are entirely different than the ways we interact with women. This is nowhere near changing and that is why, as a man, I can say with complete confidence that the guy in the story is a disgusting example of what a husband and father should be.

    Any men want to speak up for him? Give him a little sympathy? Aw, poor guy, maybe he had issues growing up and always had a thing for cougars…

    I motion to pass a man-law resolution affirming the male in the post to me an unmitigated asshole.

  39. Dorothy
    Dorothy says:

    I disagree. I know that men and women are different, that wasn’t what I was arguing. I think that couples face real difficulty expressing their needs in marriage and esp when you are changing traditional roles. I wasn’t sympathizing with him or excusing cheating, I was offering a source of a deeper problem.

    I don’t think he was an unmitigated asshole and the convenience of doing so may be entertaining but at its root, there is a more fundamental communication problem worth addressing.
    I was just arguing that such problems exist regardless of whether or not he is a SAHD and if anything, was arguing that he shouldn’t use his role to excuse his behavior. Choosing to focus on male-bashing seems a little adolescent and out of date.

    Generalizing for cheap clarity is not what Penelope’s blog is about, perhaps you should check out Perez Hilton instead.

  40. bill martineau
    bill martineau says:

    Wow! some of you have some serious relationship issues that you may want to work out for yourselves.

    Not to say that I was impressed by this guy, but since I’m the bread winner and my wife stays at home to take care of our children I viewed it as what she might think/feel about me, my work, our relationship, and how I can/should/will do a better job of making her understand that her role is just as important(if not more so) and just like me she needs to have more than just her work in her life. Of course, I believe that is the hard part for the stay at homers since your “work” is your family.

  41. Neil C
    Neil C says:


    One of my biggest disagreements with you is that you put self fulfillment (ie. selfishness) above all else. The 2 reasons the author likes being a SAHD are selfish ones-the money & he gets to do whatever he wants.

    You have no objective standards of right & wrong-your philosophy seems to be “find self-fulfillment however you can” no matter what the costs to others. This guy is a piece of crap who should be first worrying about raising his kids & being the best dad he can be.

    As far as getting chicks from being a SAHD-this is ridiculous. Any guy with social skills can pick up chicks in today’s society. If he feels good about himself for hanging with some old bag that is pretty pathetic.

  42. Shefaly
    Shefaly says:


    Here goes:

    * Is being a stay-at-home dad any different than the life that Betty Friedan and Sylvia Plath worked so hard to get away from?

    Yes, and that difference lies in two factors – choice and the complex feelings/ response created by socialisation of genders

    * Is the world really ready for stay-at-home dads? Will the world ever be ready? We have done a more successful job, I think, integrating women into the work world than men into the domestic world. Are women crossing these boundaries more validated than the men who cross the boundaries?

    The world really does not give a damn. Those, who think too much about others paying attention to them and worse, laughing at them, really should see a shrink to take the clinical paranoia test. People really do not have time to think about others’ life style so much as these clearly-idle-stay-at-home folks (of either gender) think.

    * Why is the world not talking about the downside of being a stay-at-home dad? Moms complain about this lifestyle all the time – €“when they are doing it – but men don't.

    See above. Also it is a _choice_ to have children. Ergo, a choice to outsource that baby-rearing or to stay home and do it yourself. If one is adult enough to procreate, one is adult enough to deal with the consequences.

    And which moms are you talking about? The few of my female friends, who are SAHMs, do not complain. They have a full life and others envy them their freedom while thanks to no complaining, few see the downsides which, obviously, then do not get discussed.

    * Do women respect their stay-at-home husbands? I wonder if women might have to work very very hard to respect their husbands who stay at home. Perhaps gratitude comes easily, but respect takes a huge effort and a lot of mental tricks.

    I think you are much better-placed to answer that question yourself than most others, no? :-) For the rest, here is the rub – some people just cannot respect others, whether at home or in the workplace. Others have a greater dose of empathy and good sense. Most people, who do well and are liked at work, carry the same values at home and at work – fairness, hard work, respect.

    There is no real gender divide here, except when imagined.

    * Why do women hit on stay-at-home dads?

    For the same reason that random male readers hit on women bloggers; the same reason why men cat-call or whistle at women in general; the same reason why anyone picks on a minority – a combination of ‘exoticness’ hence rarity value and general gender issues.

    If you do not already know of it, you may want to follow a Sunday column called Slummy Mummy here in the UK. There is a character Sexy Domesticated Dad in there. He is friends with Slummy Mummy, Lucy, but she almost always reads more into his texts than he means. This is not a conclusion, just a suggestion that it _is_ possible to jump to conclusions with little or no data.


  43. meg c
    meg c says:

    If he feels good about himself for hanging with some old bag that is pretty pathetic…

    Neil: What bunch of BS. If SAHD had been with a 20-yr. old “chick” would his self-esteem be more understandable than “pathetic?” What kind of standard is that? A single 50 yr. old with power and moxy is not an old bag.

  44. Neil C
    Neil C says:

    My point is that this guy does not feel good about raising his kids just about hitting on some woman. Whether she is 20 or 50 does not matter.

  45. Ed F.
    Ed F. says:


    First let me tell you that I have always looked to you as a beacon of wisdom about today’s job environment… however this is one in a long of posts that have progressively declined in quality. You seem to be repeating yourself a lot recently and perhaps you picked up on that, and in an attempt to break that pattern you hastily found the best example you could of a stay-at-home dad. However I agree with many of the comments above. What was the point of putting in the part about the affair? Even if it’s the truth…Did you not think that would automatically make your readers HATE this gentleman and COMPLETELY discredit anything he had to say?? I know it did for me. Sorry, I appreciate the attempt to break with your recently-stale posts, but it was a miss. Look forward to some more outstanding, fresh ideas soon!

  46. Viv
    Viv says:

    Wow, what an inflammatory post. It’s no wonder you are deluged with comments–this post is like a troll to stay-at-home Moms and Dads, on the one hand suggesting that corporate women can’t be trusted with other women’s husbands (or, it seems, share their life with their own). On the other hand, the post suggests that stay-at-home Dads have nothing better to do with their time than make assignations with their wives’ associates.

    Where, exactly, is the “Dad” part of this post? And why, with all the fantastic stay-at-home Dads out there working hard to raise their kids in an empowering environment, did you pick this one guy, who admits to having been a chauvinist “in the past” (ha!) and sneaking around behind his wife’s back (whether or not anything sexual happened is beside the point; this is not a trustworthy man).

    You say you get mail from stay-at-home Dads all th time asking you to talk about their lives: again, why pick this one? You’re insulting them by even suggesting this guy is the typical SAHD.

  47. Russ
    Russ says:

    I’ve been a SAHD for over two years now. Never once has anything like this ever come up. If it had, rest assured that it would have been cut off at the pass.

    Why is it so hard to fathom a man as a stay at home parent? The only thing that we can’t do is breast feed. The rest, not a problem. But men can hate doing laundry just as much as women.

    As for the content of the article, totally off base. Are you asserting that nary a SAHM has had some “outside” entertainment? If not, then were do all the milkman/mailman jokes come from? Does that mean that women are not fit for child care?

    I think that whomever you were chatting with (dare I say flirting with) is not fit to be married (I can’t comment on his child care abilities). Furthermore, to condemn SAHD because of one instance is to be painting us all with too broad a brush.

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