New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner are all set to challenge parenting myths as the latter plans to be a stay at home dad, upon the arrival of their baby. The PM took to Twitter to make this pregnancy announcement.

Clarke Gayford, who is a host of a television show “Fish of the Day” and Ardern is a perfect example of how parenting duties should be borne irrespective of gender. We agree that in this the mother to be is the Prime Minister of a country. However, the fact that her partner is willing to support her decision to keep her position and stay back at home, while she runs the country is heartwarming.

No matter where you go in the world, parental duties fall on the shoulders of mothers primarily.

Many women sacrifice their careers for the sake of motherhood and associated childcare responsibilities. But why are we so against the idea of stay at home dads?

Age old reservations

The main reservation among people regarding stay-at-home dads is because it challenges their age-old notions about gender roles. Men will fetch food, and women will stay back at home to cook. This theory not only binds women to the premise of the house, it also deems men incompetent of performing household duties.

It is sad that for most men, taking up household duties and caring for their child comes as a threat to their manhood. Also, due to the gender pay gap, many men have to continue being the primary breadwinners for their home, because their spouse will be paid lesser, even if she holds the same set of skills.

This gender bias, has come in the way of our intentions of having a society, which will respect personal choices, irrespective of gender.

Breaking the age-old Parenting Myths

Actor Rick Moranis, who starred in popular film franchises like Ghostbusters and Honey! I Shrunk the Kids, gave up a flourishing career to take care of his children, after his wife died of cancer. He said, “When my kids came home, there was music, and there were lights on, and there were great smells coming out of the kitchen. And it was just a joyful place to be, and that’s what I wanted.”

There are numerous men, for whom devoting their time to family, tending to all the needs of their kids, is much more satisfying than hopping up the corporate ladder. Men are increasing their involvement in-house duties willingly. They want to make sure that their kids grow up in an environment, where the father is as actively involved in caregiving as their mother.

This shift in approach towards parenting is motivating several dads to take up the position of stay at home parent, while the woman of the house steps out to pay the bills.

A couple is equally responsible for running the house. Who goes out to work and who stays back to take care of the house, should be a matter of will and skill. If the female partner is more skilled and is doing well professionally, then her partner should not be discouraged from staying home to take care of the tribe.

We hope that the appreciation extended to Jacinda and her partner will be extended to other stay-at-home dads as well.

Also Read :  Stay At Home Dads on The Decline in The UK

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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