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July 3rd, 2009
12:11 PM ET

When Dads are Jealous of Moms

A recent survey finds that fewer fathers want to be stay-at-home parents after the baby showers and diaper cakes. The number who would give up their jobs – if their spouses could support the family comfortably – has dropped substantially over the past few years. Career Builder says in this economy, more and more dads are focused on financial stability.

Our Josh Levs spoke with a diverse group of dads about how the economy is impacting them. They opened up about topics you rarely, if ever, hear men discuss publicly: Are you jealous of stay-at-home moms? Are you a better dad than yours was? If you’re a “successful” father, what will you have achieved?

We hear from a stay-at-home father; a single dad whose first wife died when their two children were babies; a father who adopted a daughter with his male partner; and two dads in more traditional situations.

We’d love to hear your story. Weigh in with your comments below.

And join Josh Levs, Betty Nguyen, TJ Holmes and Reynolds Wolf tomorrow morning in the CNN Newsroom, beginning 6am ET/3am PT.

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Filed under: In the Newsroom • Josh Levs • Reynolds Wolf
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    when a man puts jealousy before love in a marriage then he needs to reavualuate his commitment ive been married for almost 12 years and the only time i get botherd is when i see some guy trying to get hot with my chick a guy with supurior tendencys is living in the past and needs to grow up .

    July 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  2. suhail khan

    the only time dads r jealous of mom when they feel they r lnot telling truth and the delima is they dare not say that 2 them other then that its just a word in the dictionary

    July 4, 2009 at 5:46 am |
  3. Kay M.

    Fathers today are undervalued. A lot is expected of them and I know a lot of women who are hard on their husbands. (Look at the shows on TV!) Couples need to be mutually supportive and respectful, but some ladies are just too demanding. My husband of 17 years pitches in on just about everything from diaper changing to cleaning, and he has a demanding job. Today's Dads are more involved with their children which is a good thing, but in raising our three boys, I am hoping that they will have respect in their home and in society.

    I am really concerned about how lop-sided the law is when it comes to men and divorce. My brother is going through an awful time and I had no idea how bad it could be for men! I wish CNN would do a piece on Dads and divorce.

    July 4, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  4. Lisa

    I'm not even going to comment on the first two responses because they're obviously illiterate and I have a secret hope that idiots who type like they are an eleven years old girl will somehow disappear.

    Kay M.- I agree. We have been taught to feel pity for the woman and that the man is the "strong one" who doesn't need any support. But divorce is hard on everyone. My father barely survived the emotional and psychological abuse- I think. However- Please don't judge men's hardship on TV shows... That is about the most biased, unrepresentative sample available. (I'm assuming you're talking about shows like "Jon & Kate plus 8") The entertainment biz only has to show you what they want to.

    July 4, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  5. Kevin

    I went through a divorce and a custody dispute. It was truly amazing how women are favored in the courts as well as by the custody evaluators. Dads are seen as nothing but a financial support system.

    July 4, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  6. hmmm

    This really is a very poor story. I have never been jealous of my wife, nor she of me. We married to be together and work together on raising our kids. If a father or mother is jealous of eachother, then the issues with the family are deeper then indicated. The point of being married is to work as a couple... and having the advantage of each using thier strengths to assist the other. My wife and I chose together as to her staying home.

    I think this gives a good insight, as to people are getting married for the wrong reasons... love eachoter and work together.. then there is no need for being jealous.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  7. Kirsten

    Here is how I feel. The men today are nothing like the men of our father's day. I see it day in and day out. Men who act like they have half a brain and want their wives to take care of everything for them like they are a little child. It is ridiculous. My sister is going through a divorce and her soon to be ex husband fights for more time so his support can be lowered. He does not pick them up when he is supposed to and leaves the kids felling unwanted. I know not all men fit in this description, but I feel that we as a society are pampering a bunch of lazy little boys and they are growing up to be dishonerable men. I have small boys and only hope they grow up to be fine young men who know how to take care of a family. Yes, I am married and my husband is a big offender. What we as woman do for love, loyalty, and keeping the family together is crazy!

    July 4, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  8. John Shipp

    Great point Kay M. Men are definitely held way more accountable in our legal system when it comes to divorce and parenthood. A lot of times divorced men working as much as they possibly can, aren't even left with enough money to live on after paying court demands like elevated Child support and Alimony payments. Their ex-wives who sometimes don't even need to work because of the revenue they collect from him, work the system with their attorneys and judges almost always side with them.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  9. Jana

    with regard to divorce, who ever controls the most money – will have the most bullying attorney and therefore win.

    In Illinois, it's very chavarnicstic.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  10. Ted Gresham

    Jealousy is an emotion based on a sense of ownership. No person owns another so then Jealousy is a hurtful emotion for all parties.

    I am a stay at home father who became a father at age 45 in an instant when CPS delivered four children to us January, 2003. We began as foster parents of four, ages 2 to 8, all in bad shape from their previous lives.

    Soon after we took the kids in I lost my job and became a stay at home dad with no experience keeping children. For the next two years we kept a total of ten children, up to six at one time, ages 5 days (a premature infant of five pounds) to thirteen. In February 2005 we adopted three of the children.

    A few months later we quit the foster care system because in Texas it is a horrible system. Foster parents are mistreated by CPS. The community holds a low opinion of foster parents too. Children are sometimes more abused by the system than they are by birth parents.

    From 2005 to today I've been a stay at home dad. My wife has a career she likes and due to my age and the job market there are no jobs for me. Even if there was child care is so expensive and hard to find we could not obtain it. Thus I have little choice in doing what I do. Even so, I would not trade the time with my kids for anything. They have taught me far more than I've taught them.

    For over a year I've also home schooled our kids. We chose to home school not because of religion but because of the condition of our schools. I've had the two little ones at home all day every day for over a year. They are ages 8 and 9 now. Our teenager is in a public summer school catching up from what the public schools never tried to teach her and she was not able to get at home.

    There are times I miss being in the workforce but the truth is my children are my entire life. Whatever humility or sacrifice or lack of reputation caring for them forces upon me is more than worth it. Our kids are our future and the future of humanity. My job is to teach them compassion, respect, honesty, and selflessness as well as their responsibility to be good, peace keeping citizens concerned for the welfare of all.

    There's nothing greater in the world than being smothered with hugs and having my children tell me they love me. Keeping them and teaching them is a job I would not trade for any job in the world.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  11. Randy Dowdy in Providence NC

    I would happily stay at home and take care of my children. But it is not very likely that my wife will ever make enough money on her own to support all of us. I would love the opportunity to try it. That would also give me more time to enjoy my property and get it in better shape.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  12. Marshall Ward

    Like Title IX has destroyed the prospects of many young men playing a college sport (Non football), young boys not making the grade in K-12 schooling and falling through the cracks, many women are abusing their husbands in a variety of ways, emotionally, verbally, and the role of parent. It is amazing to me that many men are being bullied by their partners and seem to think that is just the way it is. There is a difference in doing the right thing for the right reasons as opposed to feeling intimidated for fear of divorce. I know that men have had it pretty nice throughout history, but these role reversals, abuse, and down right disrespect are very destructive! I guess paybacks are hell!?

    July 4, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  13. James

    I know CNN wont post this but Im going to submit it anyways:

    Trying to sneak a homosexual couple in here is par for the course for CNN's breaking down of the nuclear family and redefining of what makes a family. The article's title says "When dads are jealous of MOMS"....what does a male homosexual couple have to do with this?

    July 4, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  14. Chris

    Kay M. – I know exactly what you mean. The law is extremely lopsided when it comes to child custody issues in particular. My hope is that someday the prevalence of same-sex marriages will dilute the lopsided-ness of family law. Something NEEDS to be done NOW! It is really unfair when you look at how fathers are treated. For example:

    Person 1:
    Holds a dual-major degree from a top educational institution
    Has always been employed since high school
    Has never gotten involved with drugs, alcohol, crime, etc.
    Has always been very responsible financially speaking

    Person 2:
    Holds a GED
    Has claimed to be disabled despite not being disabled (and thus collects disability insurance)
    Has gotten involved with drugs and alcohol (and continues to do so)
    Has associated with criminals
    Has been terribly irresponsible with finances

    What do you think should be the outcome? Oops, I forgot to mention that Person 1 is male and Person 2 is female. Now you know what the desired outcome should be! Person 1 should be forced to pay 25% of their gross income to Person 2 for at least 18 years (but hopefully not as many as 23 years) AND Person 2 should be allowed to have a greater influence over their child by spending more time with them!

    Yes, the family law system needs an overhaul.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  15. va. Boomer

    For four years I was a stay at home "Parent" and loved it! It was the hardest and best job I ever did for free or for money. I recently lost my Job, and I'm back being a @ home parent while my wife works.
    Spending the summer with my 10 & 12 YO boys is the best thing that has happened to me in the last year. I will always remember and treasure these times that we spend together going hiking, doing yard work, and building relationships for them to teach their kids.
    If you are unemployed and can't find a job, this is the perfect time to spend time with your kids, so they can reflect one day with their family and say, " my parents spent the time with me to teach me the right things in life and make me a better human being." It's all up to you!
    Latch key kids are not a acceptable means of raising kids. IMO

    July 4, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  16. Teresa

    Go Kay M! I completely agree with you. My husband is a wonderful father. He was a stay at home dad for almost 5 years when our twins were born and due to a layoff last year has taken on that roll again. We are truly blessed that is able to be at home with our boys. He is teaching them to be good people. He shows them daily how much he loves them and what it means to be a responsible and caring man. How could I hope for anything more?

    My husband is also the father of an adult son from his first marriage. And he wasn't as lucky the first time around.

    The courts should be much more supportive of divorced/divorcing fathers who want to have a positive impact on their children.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  17. P.

    I think too many dads take the easy road and le ttheir spouse do all of the hard work and be the "bad guy." My husband is a wonderful father to our children and I think he is a great role model. I know that there are other fathers out there who are involved in their children's lives, who take the time to sit and talk to them, who care about who they are as people. Yes, my husband wishes he could spend as much time with them as I do but we both are so glad that my being at home with them is important to us both.

    Dads are hugely important and need to realize how key their help and support is to the family (not just income support).

    July 4, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  18. Mara

    Dads and mom's are both are losing jobs. The stresses on a family are
    enormous if half or even if a 1/3 of the income is lost. If the family is willing to downsize as the dads in this piece are doing -these years however long they last- will always be remembered by their children more than the toy not purchased.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  19. gOOber

    American media has been mocking the man in relationships for the past 20 years. Apparently, we are inferior morons with no social skills or moral compass. I chalk this up to the proliferation of feminazis and homosexual men in media. They are haters.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  20. Mike

    My ex kicked me out of our home using a restraining order with charges of abuse. No burden of proof plus no presumption of innocence, with no penalty for her false charges equals no Constitutional rights for me in family court. New Jersey has recognised this flaw in the law and now requires proof of abuse.
    But I'm in California.
    The court made way for her drug addict boyfriend to be there.
    If I had turned her in, we stood to lose our jointly owned home and children to the system. Also her teaching position would have been in jeopardy. I have no desire to hurt her.
    I have no record of violence, and am law abiding, but the court treats me as guilty.

    July 4, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  21. Teresa

    Kay M. I couldn't agree with you more. Regarding both fathers being undervalued and how the laws on divorce for dads are lopsided. I have seen it first hand in my family also.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  22. Gus

    I'm a stay at home dad, and I love it!
    My wife makes enough to support us easily, and we only have one kid, so I think our situation is perfect. But it is a hard job. I tell people "it's easy to watch kids, it's hard to raise them"...

    July 4, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  23. Salma


    July 4, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  24. Will

    I've been a SAHD going on 3 years now. I also work around 20-30 hours a week average from home. There is nothing better to be available to your children at all times. Helping them before school, being their when they get home from school and making sure things get done.

    My wife is unemployed, but now has the opportunity to go to school (graduating next year) and will be working out of the house.

    Growing up, I was always bounced around to different babysitters, some who were nice, some who were not so nice (many wooden spoons were broken). I didn't like how I turned out as a kid due to not having my parents around and being in daycare all the time.

    My wife and I decided that we wouldn't let other people raise our children, even when I do need a break.

    We've had nothing but positive outcomes from being with the children all the time. They've excelled socially and academically since we've both been available to help them instead of coming home at night after work, heating up some quick dinner and then going to bed.

    It's nice to enjoy kids and wish everyone had such an opportunity.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  25. Jeff

    I am a stay-at-home dad and I love it! I have two Step-daughters that we play, study math, and read together during the summer time. Most of the time they would rather play with me than their friends because we have a blast! I also have a toddler daughter that loves being around me so much. My wife likes me staying home because she knows she can trust our kids are getting great supervision and parenting.... and most of all safe (too many issues at day cares now). Anyone who doesn't want to stay at home with their kids needs to have a childhood like me -- no dad and was taken care of by my grandparents and sister because mom worked three jobs.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  26. Kelly

    When I was 9 years old I was playing little league baseball. I was the pitcher. It was the bottom of the ninth and I was pitching in the championship game with the score tied. Unfortunately, on the very next pitch, the other team hit a home run and we lost because of the pitch I threw.

    Crying on the drive home my father pulled the car over, turned the car off, and asked me, "What are you crying about?

    I replied, "I let you down Dad". I said, "You grew up and became a war hero, (Vietnam vet with 2 purple hearts) I wanted to grow up to be a great baseball player, so I could make you proud to be my father."

    My father said, "Kelly, listen real close. I don't care if you grow up to be the president of our United States! Or if you grow up to be the most famous movie star that ever lived!"

    He said, "Or if you grow up to be a Doctor, or a Lawyer, or even a Police Officer or a Fireman! I don't care if you grow up to be a banker, or the person who works behind the counter at 711, or just a plain old mail man or garbage truck driver."

    Finally, he said these words, "Kelly, if you want to make all my dreams come true as your father...." He said, "Just grow up to be a GOOD PERSON!"

    I wrote this because it made me stop crying at the time, and from that point on, my childhood was the funnest ever! I felt no pressure from that day on and went on to play varsity baseball, basketball, and football. The most important part:

    I am a father of a 9 year old daughter and 2 year old son. The most wonderful thing I have done with my life so far is be a good person. This has involved a tremendous amount of sacrifice and personal pain. I had no idea when my father told me this at 9 years old that this would become the most difficult/challenging thing to accomplish in my whole life! It sounded and felt so easy at the time but what I have learned trying to actually be a GOOD PERSON, is that it not easy!

    My ultimate goal as a Father? To raise good people. My father saw first hand what bad people do fighting in Vietnam and this is why I believe he came up with this philosophy and why I believe out of love and respect to my father, I will always live to be a GOOD PERSON.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  27. Fred

    I'd say dads of today need to remember that they are role models. They should act like men, and embrace their role as father and leader of their families. Compromise with your wife, take care of things for her, interact with your children and have fun with them, and when you're needed, stand up and pull your weight. Teach your kids right from wrong by example and I'd say most of all, make sure they understand that you love them no matter what they do, but that when they make the wrong choices, there are consequences to their actions.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  28. Matt

    YES I AM STRESSED ! ! ! !

    July 4, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  29. LM

    I wouldn't trade positions with my wife and mother of our three beautiful children for "all the tea in China"... I sit at my desk in a climate controlled office, BS with my colleagues and occasionally leave at noon to golf or take a client to Cub or Sox games. It pays well, but it is nowhere near the back-breaking and emotional roller coaster kind of work that is required being home with three children. I am in awe of stay-home moms. I am also in awe of men who's job has them punching the clock with two coffee breaks and a half hour lunch – who are doing some form of repetitive and physically demanding, albeit, necessary job. I don't know how someone sitting on a commuter train reading a newspaper could ever feel jealous of their wife...

    I believe successful parenting allows each generation to capitalize and spring forward from the generation before. This could mean earning more money, spending more and better time with their family, being more charitable or however else you might define success. So I do not think I will be a better father – no one could be more devoted than my dad. But I do believe my kids will get the benefit of his devotion and mine and the sum will be greater.

    I will be successful if my children go into the world with the self-confidence one has by knowing they are unconditionally loved. It sounds cliche but the confidence I have knowing that despite all my decisions good and bad, I was loved is something missing all too often in children I encounter today.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  30. John in Southlake

    Equal rights for fathers going through divorce. My ex is a poor example of a mother in the sense that she puts her own needs in front of the childrens. She holds the kids over my head and says she needs more money even though she has always worked. I pay maximun child support yet I have to pay for most of their clothes, etc because the law says she can spend my money on anything and my kids go without.
    My kids will know right from wrong despite their mother. The laws need to change. PERIOD.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  31. susan vaughn

    My husbasband is in the army (we meet when I to was in the army) Im out. He just ended his 4Th deployment in 6 1/2 years family time comes when he comes home and my husband has to try to make up for the time he has been gone. So we have alot of time just the 3 of us and we try to make sure that dad gets to have time with our son. My husband has missed so much. With that said we are proud of what we do for this country.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  32. Dave

    I have read all your comments and my reactionis what a bunch of CROCK and BULL! I have been married to the same woman for over 40 years. Both of us are happy with each other, love each other, do things together, and have three daughters that are married and 2 have grandchildren. She has made more money than I have for years, but then again she has a higher degree than I do, which she earned after we were married. I accept that. She even allowd me to venturn off into a private business where I did not earn a dime for 6 years until I closed it down. This is almost the same thing as a stay at home dad in that the kids were in school when I was doing my thing.
    It takes love, trust, patience, and understanding to make a marriage work no matter what. All these excuses that point fingers due to this or that are pure crap. Today people have lost the meaning of commitment and the ability to give rather than it "being all about me." and are in a throw away mode, be it a set of shoes, a watch, a TV, car, yes and even marriages. Who is to blame for this, US! All these stupid talk shows, get togethers, meetings, and the rest of the crap are just excuses to pat yourself on the back and make you think you are right when you already know you are wrong. Just suck it up, make the right choices instead of who is the hottest babe in town, and stay focused instead of wandering and all works out happy and fine. Remember you are a team for life, not just rental property.

    July 4, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  33. a

    I actually love being a stay at hoome dad and spending time but some father i think could work from home and spend time with there children but i would not trade being stay at home dad for anything else that is itself is a fulltime job but it is very rewarding and that is one thing that can never be replaced in a life time

    July 4, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  34. Tom

    Both my wife and I work full time but my job allows me more flexibilty than hers does. I think she is jealous of the time I have with the kids, especially right after school when I can talk to them about their day. By the time she gets home, it seems like and old story to them and they don't want give her any details.

    So my new tactic is to wait until the dinner hour to ask the questions. I can only imagine what the traditional father model must feel like. THe second hand news and the somewhat distant feeling.

    July 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  35. deb doernbach

    You mean there are dads who stick around?

    I grew up in a traditional household in the late 50's, and it could not have been better.

    July 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  36. MontBlanc

    I think its laughable that we are jealous of mom. What men want is to get laid so they get something for all of their work and money that everyone else spends and acts like is theirs. Other family members dont have any appreciation (bc they didnt work for it) or respect for money. But they think they are overworked when they want to be stay at home moms and then cry and whine about having to take care of the kids and clean the house.. it if were up to them, they would and do try to get a nanny or park the kids in a daycare.. just so there is no stress. but still cant clean the house bc days of our lives needs to be watched. so now they want a house cleaner. Then they are too tired to have sex.. What a f laugh. Get off your fat arses, clean the house, take care of the kids or go to work and see what real stress is..lazy assssesss

    July 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  37. Erika

    Sometimes the work of dads (outside the home) HAS to take precedence over spending time with the children. The most obvious example is when a man is in the military. Hopefully, his job as a military member is done well; that way, the mom can point it out regularly to the children, who will then learn from their fathers' example that they should be honorable and responsible citizens. (This, of course, also applies to moms who are in the military.)

    All that said, it should be noted that sometimes it doesn't work that way–some children just happen to need more "face time" with the 'working' parent. I think it depends on the personalities of those involved. Some men aren't equipped to be dads–I wish for children in those situations to have other male family/friends to 'show the way' to them.

    I think it can be tougher for boys (having both in my family), because girls sort of have the best of both worlds a lot of the time–learning the 'girl stuff' from mom, plus how to be honorable and responsible from mom as mom demonstrates it from a female perspective. Boys often lose out in that respect because they don't have enough time to observe men in action. Of course, there needs to be a support network in situations where this is not possible–all little boys need male role models, just as little girls need female role models. We don't know a lot of men who can 'stand in' for my husband who works extremely long hours away from home; and even if we did, it would be difficult for my husband to accept it–he is guilt-ridden enough!!

    My husband is a great dad, even with his perfectionist tendencies and high expectations and demands. If he was home more, I think our kids would garner a greater work ethic and sense of personal responsibility from him than they currently have; I think they would learn to have a greater respect for people. It is just an extremely difficult thing for me to pass these character traits along when they are not my strong suits, and when I have to split my time between teaching these things AND being the nurturing mama AND running the household.

    There are many days that I wish my husband and I could trade places, so the kids could see things from his perspective more, and so their relationships with their dad could grow. As it is, our country needs my husband for too much time to allow for that. So I will continue my work with the kids, reminding them of their father's honor, responsibility, and unparalleled patriotism. Hopefully they will take that to heart and incorporate those values into their own lives as they continue to grow.

    July 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  38. Sunny

    As a dad of 2 boys and 2 girls – all grown up and graduated out of colleges, one of the first casualties is, instead of husband and wife, each becomes 'dad' and 'mom' to each other along the way instead of friends and lovers when it began! If both are busy professionals with ambitious careers something will give in. My wife wants everything without any trade off.

    I was involved closely with all my children when I was out work force for 8-10 yrs. I had a one to one conversation, took them each or two with me for vacations frequently! I think I am getting along with my children a whole lot better than my dad, who was very distant emotionally!

    Besides money, biggest threat is mismatch between sex drives of couple which will change along with other dynamics of getting old, taking care of children, trying to achieve. I am married to same person for over 34 yrs. Many a time we came close to for separation or divorce but fortunately for my children, I had resolved and promised myself that my children will never grow in a broken home. I have succeeded but at the cost of my personal happiness including lack of sex.

    I am more than average looking (so I have been told many a time by opposite sex!), financially secure, well educated professional. I fell in love with a co worker same age as my wife. I was reawakened sexually with her. She was experienced lover during her dating years. She was very intelligent, kind and beautiful for her age, also in an unhappy marriage. She also had a two young daughters at that time. I was open with her from the beginning. Initially she accepted but later fell love with me madly (almost obsessively at one point) to a point she broke of intimate relationship after 2 1/2 yrs. We have remained good friends.

    After the break up, I found out how much I had relied on her emotionally and sexually. Guess what, I fell in love with her. I was torn miserably between my personal happiness vs my own resolve re the children. With a very grieving heart I decided to remain loyal to my resolve. My brain took over my heart. Except one or two close friends no one knew at the time but I revealed in confidence during my emotional turmoil. At the same, I was thrown out of job of 20 yrs! I simply went into depression for a longtime before I recovered.

    The whole point is some Dads do give up a lot for their children than most women want to admit! . I think of those 'wonderful' days with my lover and question myself frequently for my decision but in the end I know, LIFE would be miserable for both of us, our families and children. I need my children more than ever ( as I get older) as they have become my friends and glad that I didn't let my heart control my brain!

    Children suffer more than any party in any divorce no matter how friendly or otherwise. Most likely worse in the latter.

    Who says LIFE is fair!

    P.S. This is the first time I have put my feelings into words!

    July 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  39. Frank, Austin, TX

    There is so much I could say on this. I work 12 hour shifts 3-4 days a week and my wife works 2 OTHER days normally, so one of us is always with the children. Generally speaking, we prefer it this way.

    I think every decent parent wants to spend time with their children, but also wants some time away from them (both with and without their spouse) from time to time. I was a complete human being before we got married, and I didn't just throw all that away at the altar or in neo-natal. I still want to go do whatever by myself every now and then, and I try to make time for my wife to do the same. We still like to date (each other) occasionally, too.

    Would I want to be a stay at home dad? Depends. I am much better at leaving work at work than my wife. So I am better suited to that role. If the right set of circumstances came up, though, I would swap in a heartbeat.

    Kay M. has a very valid point. Fathers have so few rights and yet everyone wants them to take so much responsibility. If you want them to take 'equal responsibility,' then give them equal rights. If 'posession is 9/10 of the law, then sorry, but expecting 50% of the support is not fair.

    As a side note, why isn't child support tax deductible? That would seem to fit all the criteria for a deduction in the same way that exemptions do.

    July 4, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  40. J

    The world is full of all kinds of views for every sybject known to the human race. Why even question what people do, or why they do it.
    Its all part of what makes the world turn.

    July 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  41. Bob

    10 years ago, my wife and I decided, based on economic advantages, that I would be the stay at home parent. It made a tremendous positive outcome for our kid – no nannies, no day care, no latch-key kids, no social troubles. So after 27 years of marriage my wife decided her career and her retirement funds were more important than the family, leaving the two youngest of five at home with me while she lives a life of personal fulfillment in sunny So. Cal. Guess I know how women feel, whose husbands leave them for another "love", whilst having given up a career and aspirations of their own. Here's to all of us who are making it in spite of the jerks we were married to, and here's to all the parents who put their kids as their most important priority!

    July 4, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  42. Richard

    I'm a stay at home Dad after working 41 years. The difference is they are my grandchildren, girl 16, boy 14, boy 11, girls 7, 9. Because of the economy they all live with my wife and me. Yes, my back hurts (along with other problems), but we roll around on the floor, play basketball, see movies, draw, (11 yr old is a real good artist) woodworking carving and building things. We went places in my 5th wheel until it was repo'd (bad economy again) and they loved camping in the forest, desert or anywhere we were all together. These are the times they will always remember and tell their friends. I vacuum, cook, do laundry and pick up constantly along with the "guy" stuff like fixing whatever broke, work on the cars, yard work, etc. It has always been a partnership with my wife of 35 years. The main reason I think is because I never hung out with "the guys" I preferred to be at home. It takes 2 to make a house a home.

    July 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  43. itlchick

    These guys seem like such wonderful fathers!

    I agree - the father is supremely important. If it's possible, every effort should be made to have them in the child's life.

    True men who are invested in their children deserve our respect and support. I can't even begin to understand how some people have children and then up and leave.

    July 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  44. Tanners Dad

    After 2 heart attacks at 38 and a son with profound Autism, I gave up the corporate world so that my wife could open a flower shop. I now work as an advocate for Autism.

    July 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  45. Barry Healan

    The economy is making some fathers go further and further away for a job. This means they are going to miss out on their children's lives, and that's time that they can't get back. Maybe they have to go far away on business, or as far as Afghanistan to fight. Father's are under immense pressure to balance their financial responsibilities against their parental ones. How many nights will they have to be away, leaving mom to tell the bedtime stories?
    I'm in this situation, and have been in it before, so I decided to do something about it. I created a website where any father or parent in this situation can still connect with their child even if they can't be there physically. All they have to do is upload a video of themselves telling a story. My free site is my way of helping people just like me to be there in a positive way, even when you can't be there physically. Just because you are gone, doesn't mean you can't still tell them a story, and be a dad in a great way.
    Josh, I hope you post this, so that as many dads and parents as possible can take advantage of it. I love being a dad, and I know a lot of people want and need to have something like this to help them stay connected.

    July 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  46. Richard

    Men today are worth less than the money we carry in our pockets and accounts. Once that is exhausted, we are discarded with the rest of life's trash. In fact, the only thing we are respected for is the endorsement on our checks.

    The only ones who will disagree with this statement are the women who get the money (and everything else) and the poor male saps who still live in some sort of fantasyland.

    July 20, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  47. jonathan

    Honestly, it disgustes me that the hidden message...once again it being gay and how its so normal. With the death of Walter Cronkite...was the end of reporting it it. Now the gay agenda so prevelant at CNN rears its ugly head again. Read your bible...marriage is a union between 1 man and 1 woman. Sure, you can offer comments like the divorce rates and who can love....but at the end of the day...its still wrong. CNN should quit trying to normalize this deviant behavior.

    July 20, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  48. Jackie in Atlanta GA

    I applaud each of you! Yes the family dynamic has changed to a great degree! I just hope you continue the bonding with your children, your wives, and partners. This helps us all become better people! When you go back to work DON'T LOOSE THIS CONNECTION that you've cultivated! This goes such a long way in making your families stronger and more able to cope with other things that may come your way! Better families will produce better people!

    July 20, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  49. Coaster

    Oh, waaahhhh. Some men have had to become housewives. And they're finding out what women have been telling them all along, that it is at once the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do.

    I realize some men have been doing this all along, and well before it became trendy, or noticed by CNN. I know men that are the traditional "housewife" as well as working a full time job, while the wife also works, comes home and demands dinner be ready. The same position we have put most of our women in for far too long.

    I fail to see how this is news, or should tug at my heartstrings. These people are doing what every man should be doing – interacting with their families rather than shutting them out with video games. Children won't remember that you were there all the time, they will remember that you were there. You can work full time and still be a great dad. If you want to.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  50. Bob

    This is why your way of life in USA and the west is coming to an end at God's hands. Just like CNN...You have to sneek in the GAY agenday and shove it down our throats again. You had to throw in you gay couple in such a subtle way.

    Here is my solution for the Gay couple. The state should take the child. No gay person should be allowed to raise a child. Its against all common morality and the word of god (regardless of which religion you look through)

    As the word of God is detestable for a man to lay with a man. For these things god bring destruction on a nation. But I am sure you laugh at the word of god. So enjoy the end of yor civilization.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  51. Dean

    I agree with James... a homosexual couple is not the norm and CNN again has to put "political correctness" in front of everything. C'mon guys/gals or whatever decided to place the two fathers or two mothers??

    Anyway, I have owned a business while watching over my two kids the past 8 years. It is a matter of scheduling and prioritizing and it's not that difficult. Kids come first but one needs to also help financially given our economic environment. So please let's not make this out to be major issue CNN and other outlets want to make it to be.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  52. clint

    How about single dads . We pay support and now are puting in longer hours and are unable to see our children as much and may have to pay more support because of it.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  53. Tom

    Lets see here. Dads are the most abused people on the planet. We are the bread winners, are taxed to no end on our earnings, we get the short end of the stick in divorce court, then we need permission to see our children, women have all kinds of laws that encourage them to lie, cheat, and steal from their ex's. They can get us kicked out of our own homes we paid for by making stuff up about us, if we are late on child payments we go to jail or loose our ability to make a living. I don't see any special organizations supported / funded by the states or the feds that support abused men. Bottom line, there is no such thing for Equal Rights for Men. Please stop pretending there is.

    July 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  54. Tom in NY

    As a father going through a bitter divorce and who also has custody of our 3 young daughters, I have a profound amount of respect for any single parent (mother or father) who is able to find the right balance between work and family. Compounded with the economic situation our country is facing, I would assume there are many more families whose roles are "blurred" when it comes to who the breadwinner and who the caretaker is.
    In my situation, I became unemployed soon after getting custody of our children, so I was immediately able to spend a majority of the time with them and bond with them even more. Looking back, if it were economically feasible, I would much rather stay home with them than go to work any day! Yes, it is stressful being a full-time parent, sometimes more so that going to work full time. But the rewards, while mostly intangible, are worth their weight in gold. Now, as a full-time parent AND breadwinner, my vantagepoint is a rather unique one.
    My salute goes to all families, regardless of their particular circumstances, who put their family first, especially when children are young. Another salute, however, goes to the fathers who battle the stereotypes day in and day out and step up to the plate to be good "daddy's" to their children. The roots that are estableshed when they are the most impressionable are the ones that have the most positive effect. They can then pass these good values onto their children, etc...

    July 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  55. Catherine

    I am 34 and have a more traditional dad. He has his own business and is used to being in control. The business is in another state so my mom could choose where she wanted to raise the kids. My dad split his time between the business in the other state (and his mistress) and ruling the family at home. He did play with us when we were young but he also set firm rules where my brother and I did all of the indoor and outdoor work. My mother sat on her a– and read romance novels. She did not interact with us when we got home from school. My brother and I got ourselves up in the morning, showered, ironed clothes and dressed, got our own breakfast, made our lunches and went off to bike (grade school) or the buss stop. My father slept in when home. My father would constantly ask us if we did our homework, why wren't we studying, why aren't you doing your chores? My brother and I were afraid of him. He made policy that we were to have a part-time job at all times from the age of 13 and we were to save 75% of our money for college. We had to pay for college. Am I compaining? A little. We certainly learned structure, responsibility and hard work but we also learned were weren't loved. "The work comes first" was the mantra, and so it was. The was little room for love after the work had been finished.

    I still grapple today with my father's infidelity (that's right, it doesn't just hurt mom) and inability to step back and evaluate the line seperating duty, honor and hard work from slavery. Yes, he provided food and shelter and until age 13, clothing but he failed to show us that he cared. My mother was too afraid of him to stand up for us so we learned she didn't care. I am still trying to deal with this. I hardly talk with my parents today except every 4-6 weeks about something superficial. We close with "I love you" even though it is a lie. I don't feel like I can interact with my 3 nieces and guess what? Neither can my father. He doesn't see them at all. Everyone loses.

    I have nothing but respect for fathers (and mothers) who are committed to parenting. I can only hope that parents can see the value of each other's roles and jobs so that both can be appreciated. Let's get rid of the "traditional" role for fathers as that time has come and gone. Don't be afraid to show your softer side to your sons and daughters. They need to see it. You are their male role model. Wear it proudly.

    July 20, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  56. Shelle

    I'm glad these men are getting this experience. I wish my son's father would see some of the stuff these men are seeing. He lost his job but he's married and while he does side jobs to help out. He seems to forget I am a single mother though – I have my job yes, and then a full time job at home also. He's never had that experience though.

    July 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  57. Dr. Janet Rose

    Reversing stereotypical gender roles can be a great thing! What is most important is that the parents know how to intentionally send messages to their children which cultivate success, independence, heartiness, and happiness.

    I specialize in helping parents raise daughters, but the ideas hold true for boys as well.

    The her strength and success,

    Dr. Janet Rose

    P.S. You can download a free copy of my new eBook, "The 7 Secrets of Parenting Girls" at

    July 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  58. TomR

    How are we raising our children? What are we teaching them about traditional roles and the broader implications of personal responsibility? My wife works full-time out of the house. I work full-time out of the house. We have 3 girls.. ages 12, 11, and 3. We both cook, clean, pay bills, change diapers, do the wash, check homework, coordinate sports schedules, and manage our careers. Out of the mix, we both agree that the job side of our lives is the toughest. Home life, always challenging, brings rich rewards that are simply not relevant to a job or career.. which are clearly balanced toward obligation. Life is not either/or. Work and home each come with their share of responsibilities. When a line is drawn that, in effect, says I'm doing this; not that (I stay home; you work or vice versa),, it often speaks to personal preference and not what's best in light of the family's collective obligations. It also sets one person up to be completely ignorant and insensitive to the other's challanges.

    July 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  59. paulhoog

    As a divorced father of three, I can honestly say there was a time when I was jealous of my sons’ mother. That time was when I was living on my own and working two jobs to keep both my household and hers running, while she had full physical custody of our boys and I only saw them twice a month. Now - years later, due to a number of issues involving her then-boyfriend, I finally have physical custody of my all three boys (gained one at a time after much patient and diligent effort) and play both mom and dad. I continued working two jobs for five years (one from home as a journalist), but because of the worsening health of my middle son, who has Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, I recently had to cut back to one job - which due to the recession, is now only three-fifths of a job. (Of course, while I was expected to pay nearly $1,000/month in child support, my ex-wife has thus far been ordered to provide exactly $0 - yes zero - for our children’s well-being.) And so my boys and I are faced with the ever-worsening struggle to balance the budget while the threat of homelessness creeps up closer on the horizon. Nevertheless, for any single custodial parent–father OR mother–I think it is essential to divide one’s time between being provider and nurturer.

    July 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  60. Karen Lacey

    Get out the violins I really think Men that are jealous of being a Stay @ Home Mom Have no idea that it is WORK. I have been a stay at home mom for years this idea that women sit at home eating bon bons, while the Husband works like a dog out in the harsh cruel world is an old wives tale. To be married is work ,to have a husband is work, to have a husband and a children is a LOT OF WORK. Women are made fun of if they don't work outside the home, treated like idoits or worse. Also this a discussion about male jealous not divorce court. Stick to the subject please. It a beautiful Career just remember We stay at home Moms Work, we take care of the House, the kids, and the Husband pay the bills ect... Plus deal with every facets of people characters while we do it.

    June 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm |