Rhiannon Harries: Homedad reveals the truth behind the stay-home dads

Share
Related Topics

Whether you're a full-time mum or a childless nine-to-fiver, you've doubtless heard of Mumsnet, the online forum where mothers – and the occasional father – swap baking tips and interrogate the PM. But were you aware of its male-oriented counterpart, Homedad? Politicians might be lavishing their attentions on the mums, but given that research published last Wednesday revealed that the number of stay-at- home dads in the UK has increased tenfold in the past decade, they might be missing a trick by ignoring this burgeoning demographic.

It's the similarities rather than the differences between the two sites that are striking. OK, there is none of the nauseating OH (Other Half) shorthand on Homedad, and the recipes are more curries than cupcakes, but the practical and emotional support is essentially the same.

The finer detail of the research into home dads and working mums, carried out for Aviva, also proves that gender roles are exactly that – roles. And as they become more interchangeable, so do the emotional responses hitherto associated with a particular sex. Take the one in seven female bread-winners who admit to "occasionally resenting their partner because they have to go out to work" (make your own guess at how many more aren't admitting to it). Suddenly, expecting dinner on the table and a clean bathroom after a tough day at the office is less an assertion of patriarchal power than a simple human tendency to assume the grass is greener when you don't have to be on the 7.15 to London Bridge every morning.

Even the stats that seem to bear out an innate male aversion to child-rearing are less convincing under scrutiny. That 10 per cent of men say looking after their children full-time makes them feel "like less of man" is not surprising. What's surprising it is only 10 per cent. Ask stay-at-home mums whether spending the best part of their day alone with someone incapable of speech sometimes made them feel less of a person (if not, perhaps, a woman) and many more would surely agree.

However you divide up the practical and emotional difficulties of going out to work or staying at home to look after your kids, each partner, regardless of their sex, will be lumped with a particular set of problems. The best you can perhaps hope for is that each gets the set for which they are individually better equipped to cope.

Although I wonder if anyone is really prepared to cope with everything childcare throws at them, as a post on Homedad entitled "When the little sod won't eat?" demonstrates. Luckily, it sits not too far away from another: "Parenting Tip of the Day: don't resort to Tasering."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The landslide vote for gay marriage takes Irish society further away from the Vatican  

Ireland gay marriage: Church's decision not to lead No campaign recognised remarkable new reality

Paul Vallely
The Public Accounts Committee found widespread concern among civil servants that they would be victimised if they spoke out about wrongdoing  

Nikileaks explained: The sad thing about the Nicola Sturgeon saga is that it makes leaks less likely

Jane Merrick
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?