I never had an alarm clock growing up. Instead, I woke up to my dad whistling and stirring my hot chocolate every morning. I can still hear the spoon clinking against the mug all the way from my room, summoning me to the kitchen table where my entire breakfast was perfectly made. The same went for my lunch bag, which included a funny and inspirational note from my dad every single day. Some of my classmates thought it was unusual that my dad prepared all my meals and picked me up from school at the end of the day, but that was all I knew.
My dad worked remotely so I wouldn’t have to go to daycare very much during the week, and though it prevented him from moving up at the office, he chose extra time with me over recognition from his employer. Many of my happiest childhood memories revolve around hanging out and running errands with my dad. In honor of Father’s Day, here are some reasons why stay-at-home dads are the best.
8. Fathers who do housework inspire their girls to dream big
Chances are, your stay-at-home dad took care of a decent amount of housework. New research suggests this encourages daughters to take on ambitious careers of their own. No matter the professional path you take, seeing your dad help out around the house serves as a reminder that cleaning and cooking are not simply “women’s work.”
7. You’re equally influenced by both parents
Traditional thinkers believe mothers should be hands-on with their children while fathers should work and bring in money, but with stay-at-home dads, kids are influenced by each parent. “Both parents play an important role in the child’s development,” says Robert Frank, a child development professor at Oakton Community College. “This is in contrast to the at-home-mother family, in which a child has a strong mother influence but little influence from the father.”
6. You’re different than most kids at your school
While my friends and fellow students were always picked up by their moms after school, I was on the lookout for my dad’s green Ford Explorer. Having my dad pick me up made me feel extra special, and set me apart from the other kids at school.
5. They listen to your after-school stories
Growing up, my dad disliked being asked the dull question, “How was school?” — so he did things a little differently with me. As soon as I hopped into the car after a long day of classes, he’d inquire, “What was the craziest thing that happened today? Any big scandals?” I would tell him everything because I appreciated his approach.
4. They take you to (and pick you up from) different activities and practices
I never really enjoyed sports as a kid, but somehow I ended up on a soccer team in fifth grade. It was brutal and unpleasant, since I lack even the most basic athletic abilities, but seeing my dad’s big green car pull up at the end of practice made the entire experience seem bearable. It always felt like he was rescuing me from something awful, and once again, he was the only dad in the parking lot full of mothers.
3. They can chaperone at school events
And that means more time hanging out with good old dad!
2. They allow mom to do her work
If you’re a career-oriented mom or the sole bread-winner in the family, you can’t afford to stay home with the kids. That’s where dad comes in. The Mr. Mom model seems to be on the rise. According to a recent Pew Research study, the number of stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled since 1989.
1. They make you want to find your own co-parenting partner
If you had a stay-at-home dad, you wouldn’t be confused by a guy who wanted to have an active presence in his kids’ lives. In the long-term, stay-at-home dads lead by example. They teach both girls and boys how fathers can be strong male figures and dedicated, loving parents at the same time.