Voluntary stay-at-home dads hardly a trend
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Sunday Gleaner's lead story on the reported phenomenon of more stay-at home dads reminded me of a comment made by the late Professor Aggrey Brown when he was head of CARIMAC. In reviewing a book published by a colleague university lecturer, he said: "It stimulated to frustrate."
It may well be true that more men are now staying home doing stuff traditionally undertaken by their wives or common-law spouses, but no data was published in the story to confirm a trend. Only one family's arrangement and the husband's perspectives were specifically cited and quoted.
Reference was made to the situation in slavery and analyses of data by anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle and his citing the Social and Economic Survey. I would have found it more convincing, however, if some of that data were published to underpin the assertions. Several questions come to mind, a few of which were alluded to in the article.
How many men are stay-at-home dads by choice? That is to say, they have deliberately given up jobs or professions to take care of the children and do household chores to free up the women in their lives and depend on their incomes to carry the household?
How many are in that situation because of circumstances, i.e., because they are unable to find jobs to match their skills, training and inclination?
In many respects, while the example of Charles Hyatt Jr is interesting, his is not typical in the Jamaican context. He held down a managerial job at the US Embassy and, according to the article, he was also doing online work from home. His wife is a senior financial officer in an international organisation. They perhaps have been able work out an arrangement that suits them based on their financial assets and other factors.
I suspect that while some men may be at home by default, it would not be as comfortable and workable as apparently the Hyatts' situation suggests.
Additionally, it would have been good to have had other examples from different social strata to give credence to the thesis.