Ahead of Father's Day this weekend, HuffPost Live host Caitlyn Becker spoke with a panel of stay-at-home dads about how their roles have changed over the years.
When Becker asked the men if they had ever felt judged for being the parent that stayed home with the kids, Michael Zorek, a New York-based father of two, explained that it was impossible not to feel judged when it seemed like a trip to the park wasn't complete without getting questions like "Are you giving mom the day off?"
“I always felt like I had to bring extra diapers, extra wipes, extra bottles, because God forbid I should forget one thing and have to ask somebody for something else. People would look at me like, hmm, he’s just a dad.” Zorek went on to say that in the 11 years he has been a stay-at-home dad, more and more fathers like him at have been at school pick-up, but the pressure still remains. “People still say things like ‘Oh, you’re Mr. Mom.’ Which assumes that mothers are ... the gold standard."
Donald N.S. Unger has an 18-year-old daughter and is the author of “Men Can: The Changing Image and Reality of Fatherhood in America." Unger agreed with Zorek about the pressure, and had a park anecdote of his own. “I would bring a jacket for her, and [my daughter] would say ‘I don’t need that, I’m not cold,’ and I would say, ‘Right, you don’t have to wear it, people just need to see me holding it.’”
Becker also asked the dads if they thought they would have developed strong relationships with their kids had they been working outside the house. Paul Byrnes, a father of two girls and the author of “Captain Dad: The Manly Art of Stay-at-Home Parenting,” said absolutely not.
“Quality time is a function of quantity time. The more time you spend, the more of those little moments, those unexpected moments are going to pop up. It’s really a blessing to be able to have all the aggravation of my kids because I get all the little magical moments too.”
Zorek agreed and said he knew that he was in a privileged position to be able to spend the time he does with his son and daughter. “I understand that there are people who can’t afford that, and don’t have that opportunity, but I’m very lucky and fortunate that I do.”
To watch the full segment, click over to HuffPost Live.