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Stay-at-Home Dads Talk Breadwinner Wives, Leaving the Workforce

  • By Emily Co, POPSUGAR Smart Living
  • June 27, 2013

Chuck Vitello, 40, Morrisville, NC
Married to: A marketing executive
Kids: One son, age 7

Vitello, who blogs for StayAtHomeDadBlog.com, started out as a science and math high school teacher before transitioning to an office job at a science catalog company. It was a segue into the marketing field, and he worked his way up the ranks before leaving his full-time marketing job to become a stay-at-home dad.

POPSUGAR: How did the idea of becoming a SAHD come about? What's life like for your family?

Chuck Vitello: My wife and I both had good careers. Once our son was born and maternity leave was over, we put our son in daycare. . . . We realized after a couple of months that we only see him for an hour in the morning and an hour or two in the evening. On weekends we were consumed with errands, shopping, [and house chores]. We realized that this was no way to raise a child. We wanted to be there for him. . . . We wanted to be parents that raise their child by themselves, not by a nanny or daycare. Since my wife's career was more advanced than mine and she made enough money where we could get by with some 'cuts' around the house, we decided that I would stay home and raise our son, do the [errands and chores], so when my wife gets home from work, she only needs to focus on our son.

Our weekends were wide-open family time, since I was able to get everything done during the week. I love being a stay-at-home parent. I see a major difference in kids who have parents that stay home — from attitude, behavior, and development. I feel even more strongly in being a stay-at-home parent now than when I started. I see all of the good it has done for him and our family over the past seven years. I think we are a stronger family because of it.

What was it like leaving the workforce?

Throughout my stay-at-home career, I picked up small marketing consultant jobs here and there to keep my skillset up to date. This upcoming fall, when my son is back to school, I am considering working with recruitment firms to find part-time contract work in a marketing support role for companies that need an extra hand completing and managing projects.

At first, I didn't miss working since I was so busy at home. But now that my son is in school, I have more time to get things done, and some of the downtime can be filled with 'paid' work. I look forward to some additional adult interaction come this fall.

How does it feel to have a breadwinner wife?

It was a little strange at first. All generations before me had the male making the money and wife staying at home. So I felt that some people, when they found out I was a stay-at-home parent, had this internal disapproval while externally nodding their head and saying niceties out of discomfort. I don't know why it made people uncomfortable. It is a job, after all — just not a paying one. I suppose anything outside of the norm makes people instinctively uncomfortable. Now, it doesn't bother me at all that my wife is the breadwinner. I am proud of her career accomplishments and that she, too, is a modern-day pioneer in breaking stereotypes. She is a female executive crashing through that glass ceiling!

Any misconceptions you'd like to clear up?

A male can be just as loving and nurturing as a female. All men are not child-raising buffoons. We can change diapers without making it seem like toxic cleanup, we can cook dinner without burning down the house, we can do grocery shopping without buying everything from the frozen dinner aisle, and we can dress our kids without putting the shirt on backward or mixing plaids and stripes!

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