Is it OK to be a stay at home dad?

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EKSB SDG

Puritan Board Freshman
Without knowing a lot more about the whole situation, including goals and motivations, it's not a question that can be easily answered. My wife has been a stay-at-home mom for the last 22 years. Although she's been at home, she has and does work very hard. Besides all the day-to-day household stuff, she has homeschooled our children (oldest of which is a senior in college). On the other hand, I've been a stay at home dad for the past five years -- because I was able to take advantage of an early retirement pension from my employer (at age 50). There have been some upsides to my being at home, but there have also been some downsides. In addition to have lots more time with my family, I've been able to be much more involved in a number of activities and able to volunteer my time (e.g. church, pro-life, and political).

Having said all that, I think the bottom line in answering this question is found in thoroughly searching Scripture. Is it Biblically normative? How can you best serve and honor Christ? How can you best serve and honor your family? What is your responsibility to provide for your family? What are your motives? I'm still wrestling with those questions and right now I'm leaning towards going back to work.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Since there was no blurb to know what the podcast would say and I don't want to invest in something without an idea of what they'll say, I admit I didn't listen. But as a stay at home mom, I think I can say that I really am working. A lot. And if we believe that God is commanding us to work and we believe that mothers are obeying that command by working in the house, then I think we are saying that the type of work that mothers do is real, godly work. Or, in other words, for work to be pleasing to the Lord, it doesn't have to come with a paycheck. (We'll easily say this about men regarding Saturdays. The stuff they do around the house is work. They are not sinning by not working at a job six days a week.) So if:
a) it is a real job to take care of a home or a home and kids and
b)work is not dependent upon the paycheck and
c) when a man is working at home he is not sinning

Then I think that were a man to be a stay at home dad he'd not be sinning in that.

For example, if a family were filthy rich and had no need for income why would anyone say that the man must still work outside of the home and make money in order to not sin? I think it'd actually be more questionable for him to spend the bulk of his time away from the home when he could afford not to. And I don't truly think this only falls on the filthy rich, but I wanted to get rid of the providing for family argument. Like with a retirement fund that keeps the family cared for, I think it could be better for the man to ease the wife and children's burden if he were able, rather than work for work's sake.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think I can do justice to the podcast with a short blurb, but here is the beginning, just to let you know where they come down.

The question goes like this: can men stay at home? More specifically, is it wrong biblically for men to be "stay at home dads"?

No. I think a lot of the pressure that we feel as Christians is much more cultural than biblical.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't think I can do justice to the podcast with a short blurb, but here is the beginning, just to let you know where they come down.

The question goes like this: can men stay at home? More specifically, is it wrong biblically for men to be "stay at home dads"?

No. I think a lot of the pressure that we feel as Christians is much more cultural than biblical.
I didn't realize that Genesis 3:17-19 was cultural.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
If the question is, "are men and women parentally interchangeable?" The answer is "no."

Men are not biologically (anatomically evident) and dispositionally suited to be the primary care givers for infants and small children, except for shorter periods (mom needs a break) or in extremis (mom has left, by death or desertion). A man would almost certainly seek female assistance in the later sad case. Both special and general revelation would witness to this.

I don't know if this anwers the question, as many unaddressed scenarios might be in view. But I'll stop here for now.

Peace,
Alan
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quoting the podcast]No. I think a lot of the pressure that we feel as Christians is much more cultural than biblical.
On that note, let me suggest some food for thought. The Bible does not give a list of all the possible cultural applications of its principles. It expects us (via the fifth commandment) to learn from the wisdom of our ancestors where their wisdom is not sinful. It is popular in America (and by now the rest of the West), within the church to think that we should "reinvent the wheel" and apply brand new cultural expressions of biblical principles with each new generation. This is folly.

When it comes to an established cultural application of biblical truth, I think we need to ask whether we have solid biblical reasons to throw out the wisdom of previous generations of Christians before we do so just because "There isn't a list in the Bible that demands we apply the concept of X in only this one way." It's true that our application of the details of how the creation order plays out in society will look somewhat different across cultures within biblical limits, but let's not be so quick to throw out the fifth commandment and ignore historical cultural application where it is wise. There should be a high standard of proof that it is not wise.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't think I can do justice to the podcast with a short blurb, but here is the beginning, just to let you know where they come down.

The question goes like this: can men stay at home? More specifically, is it wrong biblically for men to be "stay at home dads"?

No. I think a lot of the pressure that we feel as Christians is much more cultural than biblical.
I didn't realize that Genesis 3:17-19 was cultural.
If you are taking your argument based on this passage, every man should come home and be a farmer. The point is that the husband is supposed to be the head of the house and the provider. Sometimes that is just not possible. Are we going to condemn a woman because her husband may be so ill he can't provide and the woman has to be the one to work? I doubt it.

Should men behave like women and women behave like man, no!
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Is the OP focused on what is permissible under less-than-ideal circumstances, or is it focused on what is ideal under normal circumstances?
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't think I can do justice to the podcast with a short blurb, but here is the beginning, just to let you know where they come down.

The question goes like this: can men stay at home? More specifically, is it wrong biblically for men to be "stay at home dads"?

No. I think a lot of the pressure that we feel as Christians is much more cultural than biblical.
I didn't realize that Genesis 3:17-19 was cultural.
If you are taking your argument based on this passage, every man should come home and be a farmer. The point is that the husband is supposed to be the head of the house and the provider. Sometimes that is just not possible. Are we going to condemn a woman because her husband may be so ill he can't provide and the woman has to be the one to work? I doubt it.

Should men behave like women and women behave like man, no!
I would imagine that situations were in place for disability in the OT, but the norm was that the man had to work and provide. It was the result of the curse.

It is also obvious that the curse of the woman is that she will WANT to be the leader and rule, but she is to submit and have the husband rule and provide.

So in my opinion, the modern stay-at-home dad is typically the woman succumbing to the curse and the man wussing out.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
Please take it from someone who is a stay at home father. It is so depressing not being able to be the bread winner of the house.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Good post, Jason, and that hit's it on the head. Yes, it's allowable and at times necessary. How could there be any question? Does anyone here assume all men are in good health, perfect finances, education etc..../???? How cruel people can be.

But no, it's not optimum.
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
In regard to men having to work as a result of the fall, let's take this the other way. Is it permissible to limit pain in child bearing, as that is the woman's result of the fall? Or should we not do with medicine what God has blessed us with?

It boils down to this: Can God bless us with things as believers, essentially tempering the effects of the fall?

I'd say yes, absolutely. So can a man stay at home? He may, as God blesses him to do that. He may bless his woman with an extraordinary mind, or a work-ethic that seeks to provide for their family, at minimal effort. For instance, I know a family who has the woman work as a pharmacist for 10-15 hours a week. THis is all it takes to provide all that the family needs and more. And he is a very godly man, who is willing to work at a moment's notice if it becomes necessary.

I for one would love to stay at home with my wife and spend all the time I could with her, working 40 hours a week to serve her and cherish her rather than a boss.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Several posts so far have read "stay-at-home dad" to mean a dad that stays home with his wife. That is not how the term is normally used in our culture. It means a man who plays the same role as a stay-at-home mom while she works a normal day job.

I think those who have pointed out that there are extraordinary cases (e.g. medical reasons), but that we should not argue from the extraordinary to the ordinary, have it right.
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can I find my own post helpful?

:D

---------- Post added at 11:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:00 AM ----------

Several posts so far have read "stay-at-home dad" to mean a dad that stays home with his wife. That is not how the term is normally used in our culture. It means a man who plays the same role as a stay-at-home mom while she works a normal day job.

I think those who have pointed out that there are extraordinary cases (e.g. medical reasons), but that we should not argue from the extraordinary to the ordinary, have it right.

I think that there may be times where the mother may be ill-equipped to take care of the children in a right manner, and the father more suited to do the child rearing. No doubt, women and men may fail or do poorly at their respective roles due to sin. I see no reason why a man cannot step in and "lead" the family by commanding the wife to work outside the home while he takes the home matters into his hands. It needs to come from the man, however, and not be a submission of the man to the woman's desire to work outside the home.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I would agree with Austin. It's all going to come down to why is a man staying at home and not working? Another important question would be does this mean that the wife is out working to provide or are they simply financially stable enough that neither have to work outside the home?
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
In regard to men having to work as a result of the fall,
Who said work is a result of the fall???


Here:



I would imagine that situations were in place for disability in the OT, but the norm was that the man had to work and provide. It was the result of the curse.

It is also obvious that the curse of the woman is that she will WANT to be the leader and rule, but she is to submit and have the husband rule and provide.

So in my opinion, the modern stay-at-home dad is typically the woman succumbing to the curse and the man wussing out.


---------- Post added at 11:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:19 AM ----------

I;d have my wife only work for another woman.
That seems like you'd just be encouraging the cycle of women working outside the home.
nah, just other woman who were commanded by their husbands to work outside the home. I'd have to do background checks...
 

bug

Puritan Board Freshman
Interesting, I was made redundant (with a large payoff) from an IT job just after our first child was born. I counted it a privilege to be able to spend so much time with my daughter and still be the bread winner. I split my time between looking after the Kid(s) and completing my ministry training which allowed my wife to continue working part time as a medical doctor. I say Kid(s) because my second child was born during this period as well. As my wife doesn't take well to pregnancy I doubt we would have been able to have another child and still care properly for our first had I not been on hand to help. Even now, as a Pastor I work from my study at home as much as possible to be around for the kids, if anything the problem we face in the west is dads not spending enough time with their children!

My point in telling this little tale is to point out that as with most things like this it is not a simple yes/no answer, there are many factors to consider, for example a man made redundant and being unable to work, whilst his wife can get a secretarial job. I obviously have no problem with my own situation, yet pastorally I will tell a man to get back to work if I think he is staying home through laziness etc.

The issue is not about being a stay at home dad, the issue is about does the man live up to his God given duty to be the head of his house, and if he doesn't how does the church help/ train him to fulfil that role. And because of the fallen nature of the world in which we life, we have to remember that some times the situation is 'make do' and often every Christian involved in a situation that is not ideal, feels that and wants to do something about it.
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Man was to tend and take care of the garden in Eden. He did not labor or toil as much as he was able to work without exerting himself, I believe. This changed after the fall. in addition, after the fall, it said that woman would INCREASE the pain in child bearing. The pain would be added to pain already there. SO even without sin, child bearing would have been painful.


I reiterate:
In regard to men having to work (more) as a result of the fall, let's take this the other way. Is it permissible to limit pain in child bearing, as that is the woman's result of the fall? Or should we not do with medicine what God has blessed us with?

It boils down to this: Can God bless us with things as believers, essentially tempering the effects of the fall? Can we as Christians reap the benefits of God's care for us? As He has given us minds to create medicines and procedures to temper the painful effects of sin, may we also utilize the gifts He has given us to temper the effects of labor (the workforce) as well?
 

J. Dean

Puritan Board Junior
I;d have my wife only work for another woman.
What's ironic about that is that most women, when given the choice, would rather work under a man than under another woman.

BTW, I would LOVE to work from home, a la being an author. I know it's not quite the same as the OP, but two of my bandmates work from home and they seem to find it quite good.
 

smhbbag

Puritan Board Senior
When I hear 'stay-at-home dad,' I hear a lifestyle choice, rather than a concession to necessity that everyone involved hopes is temporary.

In that sense, no, it's not o.k. to be a stay-at-home dad.
 

bug

Puritan Board Freshman
When I hear 'stay-at-home dad,' I hear a lifestyle choice, rather than a concession to necessity that everyone involved hopes is temporary.

In that sense, no, it's not o.k. to be a stay-at-home dad.
Well sometimes it is, and then it is the churches job to correct such a man, sometimes it is because the wife is a very strong personality and it seems the roles have been reveresed in the home, that too needs to correction, yet pastorally I have come across situations where necessity has dictated who stays and home and who works.

One interesting example I came across was a couple who were burdened to translate the scriptures into their native tongue, the wife was a skilled linguist but the man not, he choose to look after the children, so that she could do the translation work. Both them considered that they had sacrificed there right to their natural roles for the Lord, right or wrong, I wonder?
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jonathan, I think what is primarily important in situations such as you mention is the attitude of the wife (and the husband) toward each other. In a family, what is important is the biblical model of submission and love to one another and to Christ. If the roles must be reversed for a period of time for whatever reason, I don't think that we make even question what someone else is doing unless we see an obvious problem in their treatment of one another.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Well sometimes it is, and then it is the churches job to correct such a man, sometimes it is because the wife is a very strong personality and it seems the roles have been reveresed in the home, that too needs to correction, yet pastorally I have come across situations where necessity has dictated who stays and home and who works.
Why is it the church's job to correct this situation? Isn't this a family decision? The church has their sphere of authority and I don't know that it extends into household, familial decisions. The husband has authority over this area. Of course, the question would then become is it a sin for a man to stay home. While I certainly have my preferences, I don't know if one can make the case from scripture that it's an outright sin for a man to stay home while the wife works. I am willing to be corrected though.
 
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