Number of stay-at-home dads on the rise amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 5:11 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 17:54:19-04

(WXYZ) — The number of stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled since 1989.

And that number is rising as more women obtain higher paying jobs in the workplace, and experts say the pandemic has only accelerated the trend of more men holding down the fort at home, while their wives become the breadwinners.

For some men, it’s a choice. Ferndale’s Colbert Lucey happily left his teaching job to raise his now 18 month-old daughter. For others, it's a necessity.

Redford Dad, Chris Townsend was called into action guiding his 9-year-old son through remote learning when schools abruptly shut down last year.

Townsend had always intended to return to his retail job but had a change of heart, and now he’s back to school working toward an online based job that allows him to continue steadying the ship at home.

About 39 percent of Metro Detroit dads tell 7 Action News during the pandemic they’ve picked up more hours as the primary caregiver.

But yet, the prevailing stigma remains, one viewer writing to Channel 7 on Facebook that... “it’s a responsibility of a dad to work without fear.”

Dave Brown has helped countless men battling that traditional mindset, as the admin of a growing Facebook group for Dads. The Sterling Heights father of two left his IT job six years ago to be home full-time.

"Anytime gender roles are changing and evolving there’s going to be some push back...People might have these negative ideas about it, but once it's their brother or son or close friend who's a stay-at-home dad they see... that it is not unusual, that men are perfectly capable parents. So you change those minds one at a time," said Brown.

All three Dads say despite the pushback, the response they get is by and large supportive and positive.

Great resources for Dads to connect with other like-minded individuals are a Stay-at-home Dad Facebook group and the organization National at Home Dad Network.