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NYT on stay-at-home husbands: They lie about what they do and their wives resent them

December 9, 2013

The NYT loves that some men living in fancy Westchester County, N.Y., stay at home and mind the kids while their wives work mega-hours on Wall Street:

Along the way, the couples have come to question just what is male behavior and female behavior, noting how quickly their preconceived notions dissolve once they depart from assigned roles. The men echo generations of housewives, voicing concern over a loss of earning power and car pool-induced torpor but also pride in their nurturing roles. The women describe themselves as competitive, tough and proud of every dollar they bring in.

Except for, uh, this:

But many of the wives say their husbands approach parenthood differently than women do. The stay-at-home mothers in Rye often congregate at spinning or yoga classes, but their male counterparts all seem to have a hobby involving a boat: sailing, building wood kayaks and, in [Jim] Langley’s case [he's a former architect married to a Wells Fargo executive], depicting fishing dinghies and half-finished hulls in his paintings. Despite their wealth, the men seem largely resistant to relying on nannies and babysitters, facing down screaming toddlers and constant meal preparation with go-it-alone stoicism.

***

A few women said that they resented the fact that their husbands did not cook or clean up, but that they had trouble telling them so, for fear that they would sound as if they were treating them like employees.

And this:

One female banker told colleagues that she recently became irritated with her husband, who works part time, telling him, “I wish I had a wife.”

“You can get one when I can get one,” he replied.

And this;

When people ask what he does, Mr. Langley could say artist — he gives the buildings and landscapes he paints expressive personalities of their own — but he has just begun trying to sell his work. Other fathers in similar situations say they often tell white lies: They are retired, they are consultants, they work at home.

Mr. Langley generally goes with “stay-at-home dad.”

“That’s what I call myself,” he said over lunch at a restaurant in Rye, the other tables filled with groups of women. “I wouldn’t say I like it.”

What response does he get?

“There’s usually a long pause,” he said.

Right, that switch in “assigned roles” is working out great.

H/T: Ann Althouse

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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