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Karl Cassel

ENGW 104

Critical Conversation Paper

October 28, 2015

The stereotypical American home has been evolving over the last few decades into a

place where there is no longer a cookie cutter format for the way a home is typically run. This

new style of the home comes with the introduction and rise in popularity of the at-home dad. In

regards to this emerging role of men in the home, there are a few areas to consider such as the

place gender stereotypes hold in the average household, the effect on children and their

upbringing, as well as the dynamics of an at-home dad in a society dominated by at-home moms.

As at-home dads continue to be introduced to the family sphere, what questions are raised, and

does the change in historically traditional home settings prove to be advantageous?

As a means of introduction, there are a host of peer-reviewed sources used to understand

this topic, beginning with an article by Noelle Chesley which discusses the ways at-home

fathers come to value their increased involvement in childrens care in ways that reduce gender

differences in parenting (642). Similarly to Chesleys challenge to reduce gender differences,

Petroski and Edley also discuss the ways in which societys resistance to nontraditional gender

roles are produced and reproduced in everyday life (16: 3 & 4). In contrast, Employee,

Mother, and Partner examines the environment created in a home with an at-home dad and

breadwinning, or income providing, mom from the moms side of the situation (Dunn, Rochlen,

& OBrien 3-22).

Next, going further than Chesleys picture of at-home dads and their involvement in their

kids lives, Sinno & Killen use the thoughts and interpretations of kids who come from families
containing at-home dads and breadwinning moms to extend their research (16). On a different

note, both The New Dad and The Daddy Shift use family backgrounds and histories of the

way families have looked over the generations to compare and contrast the evolving roles of

families today (Harrington, Van Deusen, & Mazar 10-11; Smith) . This is a powerful tool

because it allows a reader to see drastic change over the years in a short, condensed section of


Looking deeper at these sources I find myself in agreement with Petroski & Edley

regarding the idea that at-home dads need to maintain a sense of masculinity rather than be

subsumed into a feminized Mr. Mom identity (16: 3 & 4). Their solution to maintaining a sense

of masculinity lies in taking up fix-it tasks around the house or coaching positions on their kids

teams which have work and service mentalities associated with them which are masculine in

nature. These involvements at-home dads take up are quite important in maintaining their

masculinity because they offer their own form of parental care that is separate from mothering

or other attributes associated with women (16: 3 & 4). I could add to this study of at-home dads

and the ways in which they maintain their masculinity by looking into how they interact with

other at-home dads and the community formed between them as they fight to reject stereotypes.

In contrast, when viewing Dunn, Rochlen, & OBriens article, I think that they are

mistaken because in regards to the work-family relationship, the authors overlook the

disadvantages men experience in that relationship as well. The authors claim that breadwinning

moms experience the majority of hardships and frustrations rests upon the questionable idea that

breadwinning moms are most out of cultural context and frowned upon more than at-home dads

(12-13). By focusing on the injustices breadwinning moms experience, the authors overlook the

deeper problem of the ways in which the spouses, as a pair, deal with a society that is oriented
towards breadwinning dads (12-13). I could add more information to this argument through

researching the area of effects that couples engaging in at-home dad and breadwinning mom

roles are exposed to.

Though there has been a great deal of research conducted on this topic, there are still

relevant additions I can make to these processes in order to further learning and understanding of

at-home dads. Entering into this conversation is imperative to fully understanding the topic and

being able to make valuable and relevant observations.

Works Cited

Chesley, Noelle. Stay-at-Home Fathers and Breadwinning Mothers Gender, Couple Dynamics, and

Social Change. Gender & Society 25.5 (2011): 642664. Web.
Dunn, Marianne G., Aaron B. Rochlen, and Karen M. OBrien. Employee, Mother, and Partner An

Exploratory Investigation of Working Women With Stay-at-Home Fathers. Journal of Career

Development 40.1 (2013): 322. Web.

Harrington, Brad, Fred Van Deusen, and Iyar Mazar. "The New Dad: Right at Home." Boston College

Center for Work and Family (2012): n. pag. Carroll School of Management. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

Petroski, David, and Paige Edley. "Stay-At Home Fathers: Masculinity, Family, Work, and Gender

Stereotypes." The Electronic Journal of Communication 16.3 & 4 (2006): n. pag.

Communication Institute for Online Scholarship. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Sinno, Stefanie, and Melanie Killen. "Moms at Work and Dads at Home: Childrens Evaluations of

Parental Roles." Applied Developmental Science 13.1 (2009): 16-29. EBSCO Host. Web. 21 Oct.


Smith, Jeremy Adam. The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared

Parenting Are Transforming the American Family. Beacon Press, 2009. Print.