Dad suspects he’s judged for his stay-at-home status
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. DearAbby.com 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.)