Dad sus­pects he’s judged for his stay-at-home sta­tus

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COMMUNITY/ENTERTAINMENT - Abi­gail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I’m at my wits’ end. I have been un­em­ployed for al­most two years. My wife has been work­ing dur­ing that time. We have two girls I take care of as a stay-at-home dad.

Although I have con­sis­tently searched for work, I haven’t found any­thing, and it’s driv­ing me crazy. I have edited and reed­ited my re­sume, but noth­ing has hap­pened.

My ques­tion is, do women (and men) think stay-at-home dads are lazy peo­ple who leech off their wives? I have to ad­mit neg­a­tive thoughts have crossed my mind, and I some­times worry that peo­ple — rel­a­tives — think I’m a low life or in­com­pe­tent. Is this true? — STAY-AT-HOME DAD

DEAR DAD: I know you are frus­trated, but you are be­ing need­lessly hard on your­self. While some peo­ple still think that way, an in­creas­ing num­ber no longer do. The tra­di­tional roles of the woman stay­ing home and the man be­ing the bread­win­ner have, of ne­ces­sity as well as choice, be­come in­creas­ingly re­versed since the be­gin­ning of the new mil­len­nium.

The re­al­i­ties of to­day are far dif­fer­ent than they were 10, 20, 30 years ago. I don’t know if your rel­a­tives feel the way you sus­pect they do, but if you think that’s what’s hap­pen­ing, talk to them and straighten them out. This tru­ism isn’t orig­i­nal, but it ap­plies to much that’s hap­pen­ing in the world to­day: The only thing that’s con­stant is change.

DEAR ABBY: My son and his wife live six miles from me. They have a 4-year-old daugh­ter and a 2-year-old son. The only time I am guar­an­teed to see my son and his fam­ily is on my birth­day. The most I have ever seen my grand­kids is four or five times a year.

Last year, I saw them on my birth­day and on my grand­son’s birth­day. They never ini­ti­ate any other in­ter­ac­tions. I oc­ca­sion­ally see my son if he needs to come by to pick up per­sonal items still at my house. I have the im­pres­sion that they see her fam­ily mem­bers fre­quently.

My son works two jobs and drives 70-plus miles to work four days a week. The only time they re­ally have to­gether is on Sun­day. I re­al­ize my son is very busy, but I would like to see them more of­ten.

Do you have any sug­ges­tions about ap­proach­ing him about more con­tact? In the past when I’ve men­tioned it he be­came de­fen­sive, as if I were try­ing to put a guilt trip on him. — HOP­ING FOR MORE

DEAR HOP­ING: Your mis­take may be in wait­ing for your son and daugh­ter-in-law to do the invit­ing. You might have bet­ter luck if you of­fered to stop by for a visit or to watch the grand­kids so their mother can have a lit­tle time for her­self.

Clearly, your son is on a tight sched­ule, and he does need to have time alone with his wife and kids. Granted, you would not be see­ing your son, but half a loaf is bet­ter than none.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www. or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. For ev­ery­thing you need to know about wed­ding plan­ning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wed­ding.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wed­ding Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

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