C-FAX 1070 Radio Interview

Tune in and listen to Andras Wilderer and Mark Brennae talking about Stay-At-Home Dads on Mark’s radio show “Afternoon Drive with Mark Brennae” on C-FAX 1070.

 

 

Speaker 1:

This is Mark Brennae on CFAX 1070.

Mark Brennae:

5:20 as we drive home together. It’s a growing profile in Canada, the stay-at-home dad, also known as full-time father, stay-at-home father house dad, househusband, house-spouse. If you have a mouse, you’d be a house with a spouse and a mouse. It’s where the father is the main caregiver of the children and generally is the homemaker of the household. Listen to this statistic.

Mark Brennae:

In 1976, stay-at-home fathers accounted for approximately one in 70 of all Canadian families. And Statistics Canada says by 2015, that pappy proportion has climbed to one in 10. So what’s the upside and the downside of being a stay-at-home dad, for the dad, for the kids, and for the better half? Let’s dive into this dandy do-it-all-at-home daddiness. My guest is Andreas Wilderer. He is author of the book Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership. Good afternoon, Andreas.

Andreas W.:

Hey, Mark. Good afternoon. How are you?

Mark Brennae:

I’m very well, thank you. Why are more-

Andreas W.:

You missed in your tallying what the names are called, mister mom. Many call us mister moms too.

Mark Brennae:

Mr Moms, but that makes sense. Let me add that to the list, Mr Mom. There was a movie called that. I’m writing it down. That makes sense. So why are more couples choosing to have a mister mom at home?

Andreas W.:

It’s just a time, I would say. We are asking for women to lean into their work, and if more and more women lean into their work and we break up with the traditional family models, who is taking care of the children? Finally, the men are stepping up to the plate and getting into the house.

Mark Brennae:

So what are some of the factors that a husband, father, wife, mother should consider when discussing and deciding on whether the man is going to stay home?

Andreas W.:

So many would say it’s about the money, but I don’t think so. The money, yes, it makes a difference. Do I make enough money to pay for nannies to take care of my children, or do I stay home by myself? But the bigger question is always am I as a man okay with being at home? Do I lose my masculinity? Can I still have respect for myself and my wife still has respect for me if I’m staying at home and not making money? And are my aspirations in my work environment, in my job, that I can say, okay, I’m taking a break for 10 years? And those are the questions many papas have to do. A lot of couples are doing it. And unfortunately some are still not talking about it and they are only seeing, “Oh, I’m saving so much money,” and then after a few years they regret what happened.

Mark Brennae:

I hope that we’re not still in that 1970s mode where the man has to have this great higher paying job, higher paying than his spouse. That sounds so macho and so 1970s. Tell me we’re changing.

Andreas W.:

We are changing slowly, but unfortunately we, most of the stay-at-home dads who are stay-at-home dads now, they grew up with the role model of their dads going to work, being out there, and so that’s something we just grow up with. This, the man has to be out the house and earn more money. And it takes so long to overcome those old role models. And yes, we are on a great way to be there. I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for 13 years now and it has lots changed. We have more-

Mark Brennae:

So your 13 years now. Sorry, I got to move it along. Your 13 years as a stay-at-home dad, give me the best part of being a stay-at-home dad. Give me two great reasons why it’s fantastic and you’ve done it now for more than a dozen years.

Andreas W.:

It’s seeing your kids growing up and just being there for them and giving them, that’s the second reason. Giving them a new perspective of what’s out there and breaking up with those old role models.

Mark Brennae:

Okay, that’s one. That’s great to see your children grow up right in front of you. Okay. What’s the second one? You get more time to go to the pub? I’m kidding. I’m totally kidding.

Andreas W.:

I can spend more time in the car and play Uber driver than I would have to go to the normal work. No. I think it’s just having time for myself and being there for my wife, and I can finally be there for her and help out. What many men were expecting from their wives years ago, that take care of everything, now it’s up on me to take care of her and do all the stuff in the background for her so she can focus on her work.

Mark Brennae:

Well, to be frank with you, I can’t think of anything more manlier than taking care of your children and taking care of your wife and taking care of your family, stacked up against some lawyer that makes 200K or something. I think the real man is the guy that stays at home. But that’s just my opinion. Give me two things that are kind of challenging, Andreas, that you go, “Oh boy, you know, a stay-at-home dad, it’s fun, it’s this, it’s a lot of work, it’s rewarding, but there’s a couple of things that kind of make it difficult.” What would those be?

Andreas W.:

First of all, it’s having the right conversation with your spouse. So to get to the point where you have a good running household and you are aligned with each other to say, “Okay, who is taking care of what? Who is making the rules? Who is in charge of the house and who is just going to work?” And all those, it took us years to get to this point and this was very challenging. And the other one is still the perception of many men and women in society, this, “Yes, you’re going to the pub. You’re sitting the whole day on the couch. Are you not man enough to earn enough money and that you can go to work and she stays at home?” So those are still challenging things where you had to work against it.

Mark Brennae:

That first one is interesting. The second one doesn’t surprise me, but the first one, would that not have been the ground rules that you would have sat down with your spouse and said, “Okay, here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to do the laundry, I’m going to maintain the house, of course I’m going to dress the kids, make their lunches, et cetera. Make sure the taxes are paid, mow the lawn, blah, blah, blah, the whole nine yards. And the other spouse, I guess your spouse would say, “Well, I’m going to work and I’ll help out with some of those things.” Just the way it usually works, no?

Andreas W.:

No, it’s not this. We have from society pressed, for example into mom’s skills, that they are out of the house, that they are not taking care of their children a competent to mom’s skills that they are out of the house, that they are not taking care of their children. Now they come back on the weekend and they have maybe read a book and want to do it a certain way and say, “Hey, why don’t we do it this way or have that time like this?” And then you say, “No, let’s not do it. I can’t do it. It doesn’t fit my schedule.” And then you have to conflict with each other. And so those expectations are something to overcome to talk through, and unfortunately it takes some time to find the middle ground here.

Mark Brennae:

I guess it would. And you didn’t use this word, and I hope it’s not too strong a word, but you hinted that one of the challenges can be for the man, is that it can be a little bit emasculating, and I’m not saying you used that word. But is there an equivalent for the woman who is at work now and not taking care of the children? So her maternal … The regular, what we’re used to, but their maternal desires and needs are not being met. Does that affect the woman?

Andreas W.:

I think so. I think a lot that this instinct of the women taking care of the children, especially when they are young, it’s way there. The women have to overcome that. And for us, for example, my wife is traveling for out of four weeks, so she’s really only home for the weekend. And being away so long from the children is something she has to really struggle with. She overcome it over the years, but at the beginning, especially when they were small, it was something hard for her to overcome and work through. And so this was a challenge for all of us to master.

Mark Brennae:

And how many children do you have?

Andreas W.:

We have two children. So 12 and eight they are.

Mark Brennae:

How do they like the arrangement? They don’t know anything differently, right? This is how they’ve grown up their entire life.

Andreas W.:

They don’t know anything different. So that’s the best thing is my son grew up with this man staying home with the kids and mom has to work. And one day I picked up my wife from work and he said, “Dad, do men have to work too?” Because he suddenly saw that out of the office building more men were walking out than women. And so he, two years old, said, “Dad, do men have to work too?” And I was like, “Yes son, unfortunately they do.”

Mark Brennae:

We got to hold it at that. We wish you the best of luck with the next 13 years with your family and your arrangement. I salute you, sir. I’d love to do that. Man, that sounds like a … I’m not saying it would be fun. It would be challenging, but it sounds like it would be very, very interesting. Andreas, thank you for your time, sir.

Andreas W.:

Mark, thank you for having me. Have a good day.

Mark Brennae:

Thank you. You as well. Andreas Wilderer, author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership. We’re going to check it out, folks. I’ve got a couple of text messages about this; an accident on Sooke Road by Slegg Lumber. We are getting your message. We’ll try to find out more about what’s happening there. The time on the clock on the wall is 5:29.

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