Frank let's out a screed I'm not necessarily against. Matter of fact I agree with most of it, but then he let's loose on men who want to stay at home as "girlie."
And thus I think I have to defend those of us guys who are the stay at home types not so much to counter what Frank is saying, nor to lick our wounds, but to explain that there have been fundamental changes in the economic relations and roles between the sexes, changes that make being the "stay at home husband" the logical, wise, and correct choice for most men.
But first let me provide a caveat in that the following advice is meant for men and women without children, which I do believe addresses not only the majority of my readership, but Frank's specific targeted audience with his post. If you have children then with today's taxes and cost of living, yes, both of you will have to work and the argument about who stays at home with the chillllldreeeennnnnnsszzz is moot.
Regardless, here are the reasons why you want to be the one to stay at home.
"Real Work" Sucks - And by "real work" I mean the traditional job where some aging boss who is unaware of the miracles of the internet, requires you to show up to an obsolete office, replete with unnecessary computers, and, oh, by the way, a really sucky commute. I don't know why women in the feminist world thought that "work" was "fun" to the point they demanded it, but if you have ever worked a "real job" in your life you know it sucks. You are not working for yourself, you are working for somebody else. You are also not allowed to achieve your maximum because careers and real jobs are not designed to benefit you, but rather your employer. And finally you are not working for you. You are working for the shareholders of the firm. Shareholders whose interests are the opposite of yours. They want your salary low as possible and really couldn't care less about your career or advancement. No, you are stuck in a job that pays you a sustenance level of income and only if you sell yourself and your mental health to a slave-like level of loyalty to your firm, are you going to reap anything approaching a "career."
"Stay at Home Work" Rules - Of course, just because I eschew real work doesn't mean I don't work. I work all the time. It's just not considered "real work" by the "real world." It's stay at home, self-employed work. Oh, laugh as you may as "stay at home office" or "self employed" usually carries the reputation and connotation as "person who can't find a job" and of course banks will never qualify you for a loan for "self employment income" isn't real income, but if you can be intellectually honest with yourself and pursue real work, just not for an employer, then you are light years ahead of the game. "
Stay at home work" (SAHW), if pursued rigorously, seriously, and professionally means, in a shorter amount of time you will have more success than if you worked a "real job." Not only because you are working for yourself, but because you will typically engage in work you like or at least work you have set up. There are no meetings, there is no negotiation, there is no discussion, it is just you. You are the Supreme Allied Commander and you get to decide, pursue and execute immediately and however you please. This single efficiency benefit is what allows you to run circles around your would-be-employer-now-competitor.
In short SAHW is all about you and the benefits all go to you. You actually enjoy your job, you can do it from home or the coffee store, you are allowed to complete tasks on your own time table and how you see fit, AND, did I mention, no mind-destroying, purposeless commute? Doing what you like AND having an extra 2 hours per day over your commuting your contemporaries makes those that ridicule SAHW look like investment banking analysts plugging dotcoms in 1998. Besides, just because it's work at home, doesn't mean it isn't manly.
I Like Sleep - Sleep is the most underrated benefit to human kind. I enjoy sleeping in till 9 or 10AM. I feel better, I'm healthier and I'm in a better mental mood. I'm more productive and (more importantly) I'm more creative. I can innovate and come up with ideas better than the coffee-junkie forcing themselves to stay awake during that Monday morning meeting. Sure, you could be a "real man" and suffer sleep-deprivation, but why would you?
A Better Home - Sure, I'm the "girlie" stay at home boyfriend. But guess what? The house is in tip top shape. Things are repaired. The cars are in working order. The fridge is full and when my girlfriend gets back we can go out because there ain't no chores to do. Besides, do you know how much you save when you can do your own home and auto maintenance, not to mention how many manly points you get for being able to do those things? Also, we don't need to increase our income tax bracket to pay for others to repair these things. I learn to repair and maintain at home, requiring a lesser income, but same standard of living. Why pay Barry and his legion of constituent parasites more than you have to? Besides, you can't write off maintenance, repair and chore expenses. Might as well do it yourself.
Taxes - On a related note, lower taxes. Certainly, not having children helps in this regard, but still, why have a double income that will only send you into stratospheric tax brackets? You, again, cannot write off house cleaning and maintenance, might as well have one person home doing that.
It's Easier - Sorry ladies, I've lived both lives. The hard working corporate type and the"stay at home wife" life and you have go to be kidding me about how hard it is. Really? Cleaning, vacuuming, and laundry? Really? None of it takes that long and then I can watch Hogan's Heroes. Not to mention the entire time I am doing "house chores" I can listen to my MP3. THAT BEATS LISTENING TO SOME LOSER OF A BOSS IN A MEETING ANYDAY! Not to mention, you don't have any boss watching over you every second. You get to do your chores how you please and when you please. You can leave any time you want, do anything you want, exercise during the day, as long as things get done, who cares. But not a real job. No no no. You got a boss that wants you to look busy even if there isn't any work. You got a boss that wants you to sit in a meeting that has nothing to do with your job. Your boss wants to suck the life out of you, wasting your finite life, for shareholders who couldn't care about you and a government that wants a 40% cut. Meanwhile forfeiting what really is a part-time job where 100% of your efforts go to benefit your family is worth their mental slavery and hell? Sorry, whoever stays at home gets the better deal.
Physical Fitness - Since the standard "chores" only require part time amounts of work, this gives you ample time to stay in physical shape. Never have I been in better physical shape than I am when I'm the stay at home boyfriend. I run every other day, life weights opposite those days. My girlfriend appreciates the physique and so will your girlfriend/wife.
Freedom and Fun - Obviously an underlying theme to all these benefits is your freedom to do as you choose during the day. Not only will this result in you having the most efficient regimen or routine for the day, achieving the most amount of production and work, but you can also maximize your fun. Don't let any stay-at-home husband/wife tell you otherwise. They can sit down and have a cocktail watching the Price is Right. You can play video games while grilling a steak. And if the weather permits you can go out for a motorcycle ride. Heck, even assuming you did have children, playing with the little rug rats certainly is more fun than writing TPR reports.
Fundamental Change in the Labor Market - Much as I lament society's utter failure to fully capitalize on the world's latest revolution, the fact remains it IS happening, just not at the pace I want. If it were up to me, we would not longer have commutes, traffic jams, let alone downtown office buildings because the technology exists that you can work 97% of today's white collar jobs from home. The technology exists, the software is secure, it is the obstacles in the form of aging gray haired bosses who can't let go of control and let people work from home. However, as time has gone on (and more of these aging gray hair types die or FINALLY retire) saner minds are realizing there is no real reason to pay for the unnecessary expense of office space rental, computer expense, and printer expense. Employees are more than willing to work from home and their younger bosses are letting them. This means there is a more hospitable and growing environment to SAHW's and truth be told, that is the future. The mockery and ridicule of people who are "self employed" or "home based business" types will end, because that is where the future labor market is heading. You being the stay-at-home-husband merely positions himself for the future.
Basic Economics - All the compelling and factual reasons above to be the stay-at-home hubby, in the end it is really a matter of economics. Yes you may have that darwinistic male drive to excel and achieve, and yes you may have that biological drive to be a provider, but the economic reality and fact is that it plain financially isn't worth it being the "go getter corporate type" for most men. First, society and politics are cheering for the woman to excel and exceed in the corporate world. This manifests itself in outlandishly handicapped affirmative action programs where the bar is lowered so much for women corporations will go out of their way to create whole departments like HR and CSR departments to keep the government off of their asses. Quotas, either explicitly stated or not, are in force, and no longer does the job go to the best candidate. And women, who are disproportionately represented in HR are in fact sexist and will ply favor to women candidates. In short corporate America has become corrupted to the point it is not only inhospitable to male employment, but is no longer worth your endeavor to become employed there.
Second, government and law in the form of taxation, not to mention divorce law, are also increasingly hostile. Not so much towards men as much as it is the "bread winner." If you are the bread winner, be it male or female, you are the one who loses half your assets, must pay alimony and must "provide for a previously expected standard of living." You want to be "manly" and "be the man?" Good luck. That's too much risk to be a provider male.
Finally, are you kidding me???? Work the crappy corporate job and run the god damned rat race??? For once I fully and wholly agree with the most ardent of feminists. Women SO should take over and be the sole bread winner and provider. It is a no brainer. Let them do all the real work, let them provide for the family, let them major in engineering, study calculus and physics. We'll stay at home and clean, cook, whatever, and pursue our hobby/faux-career as an "artist" "musician" or "part time teacher." The key issue for the likes of Frank and other men invested in their manliness is to not let their manliness blind them to economic realities. If women and feminists are so adamant about them being GENUINE and TRUE equals, then I say let them have at it. We should not look a gift horse in the mouth when given the option to stay at home, clean occasionally, repair the roof and change the oil, and of course pursue our "career" as a "children's book author." Let them work hard, let them commute, let them tolerate and suffer psychotic bosses, let them sit in the meetings. Even with the presence of children the life of the stay at home husband is INFINTELY easier and better than the working woman. It is simply a matter of letting go of unnecessary pride and letting leftist and feminist women have their dream in spades.
CC, I found this blog through Vox Day. I saw your "Screwed" presentation and agreed with everything that was in it.
I need some advice. Six months ago I graduated and obtained an MS in Accounting and passed all the CPA exams, but I still can't find any full time work. Even though I'm told all the time that accounting is relatively better than the useless liberal arts degrees, there aren't many jobs. Reading this post really reinforces my own observations that the traditional work environment is obsolete and that part-time/contract/temp distance work is the future.
My question is this: Which accounting fields do you think will thrive in the coming decades? Taxes? Auditing? Information systems? Do you go into detail about accounting in your books when you discuss different majors?
Very true Cap'n.
I work from home most of the time though the boss recently insisted I show up at the lab at least 25 hours a week because he says I am "good for morale". I guess being a jokester has some value. The upside is that as part of a startup, there are no legions of pesky co-workers to deal with. Once he is successful and hires a bunch of drones I will likely be looking for another patron.
But what you say about sleeping in, not commuting, and generally being more productive by working at home is spot on.
As the trend for women to occupy the seats of Encorpera expands, eventually they will have a bit of a meltdown when they realize how much men are enjoying not being there alongside them. We tried to warn them.
Absolutely 100% agree, except with your contention that couples with kids both have to work. Not true at all. The minimalist lifestyle can extend to families with rug rats. Kids love playing with sticks just as much as expensive toys.
I am an engineer, very smart, very skilled, very talented, very creative, and in my field women are promoted and rewarded over men (because women engineers are rare, but they do exist and they've got it made). I did the calculations on working and I was basically paying taxes and daycare. Plus, with a special needs baby, and a wife with a much more promising career in a more lucrative field, it was a no-brainier for me to stay home and take care of the kids.
I recommend it for all men, unless they own their own business or are self-employed, with the important caveat that you must either wear the pants in your family or have an unusually respectful and rational relationship with your wife.
But be warned, compared to engineering, differential equations, and finite element analysis, raising children is a much harder job. There are no thanks from the little ones unless prompted, their demands are on immediate deadlines, and you will lose your sanity from time to time. But it is the most important job on the planet - you are raising and creating and protecting little human beings. And it consistently can be very rewarding and fun.
Satisfy your manly urges by improving the quality of life for your family. Improve the house. I personally, over the last six years of staying at home, have improved every square inch of my home, plus inside the walls with new insulation, new electrical, etc. I wouldn't even want to estimate how much it would've cost to pay someone to do it, with after tax wages. And it is fun, exercises your mind and body, you solve unique problems, and you gain important skill and confidence.
As the man and head of your household, you also have time to research the economy and make much better decisions with your family's money. If I had been working the last six years, I would still have no idea what is really going on in the economy, and how best to position myself and my family to thrive and survive.
Further, it is a manner of "Going Galt." The world as it is today has no claim to my mind, and doesn't deserve it. When things change, and they will, it is inevitable, then perhaps I will re-enter the workforce. But the way it stands today, with much of what Cappy has detailed, no way am I going back unless it is on my terms.
Great article, but it is possible and a preferred option for families with kids as well.
My wife is an auditor. First, she sympathizes with having to now be a MS to be a CPA. Fortunately, she was able to be grandfathered in. I fully expect that Professional Engineers such as myself will be required to be MS as well. I also expect the universities to create a degree above PhD as well to keep the scam going.
To answer your question, my wife recommends focusing on regulatory compliance and IT systems. With our bloated government and obamacare, regulatory compliance was the first thing that came to my mind as well. If you can't beat em, join em. Someone's got to do the work so it might as well be you.
She also recommends keeping with the contract work. 1099's are the future. Become an expert on setting things up, turning them on to let the monkeys do the work, and move on to the next client.
Sup Captain! Frank here,
Thanks for the quoting and very informative fisking. Let me give you some backdrop on my mini-screed.
I'm actually not against stay at home dads/husbands. If it works, it works, in fact my best friend works from home and he loves it, though I wouldn't consider him a traditional stay at home dad because his wife stays home too. So there's no real role reversal there. Since I'm an introvert I would prefer to work at home myself as an entrepreneur and internet marketer (which I do on the side.)
What bothers me are the stay at home dads I've met and seen over the course of social media marketing and how... girlie they are. It's one thing to stay at home, it's another to become so... feminine? I'm not so sure that in particular is a good thing.
Have you ever seen the movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton? He creates clones of himself in order to help handle his busy life, and one of his clones takes on the domestic role which basically neuters him into a male version of Martha Stewart. It's funny, but at the same time, it feels wholly unnatural.
BTW, my best friend and at least a few other men I know of are the sole breadwinners in their households and they do pretty well. I think it's important to know up front the quality of living you and your wife/girlfriend are willing to be content with and budget from there if possible.
For me, I'm debt free, own land, and have the means to buy a house in cash. All those huge financial burdens that could force a dual income just to survive I believe has been dealt with. I acknowledge that I'm extremely fortunate though and that my background is not the norm for many men today. Still, I think this is the ideal, and if it's possible, why not go for it? I bet most women who are true to themselves would love to stay home if they could.
Although I'm inclined to believe the ideal/ideal scenario is to have what my best friend has, where BOTH parents stay home. Well, you know, at least when his wife is not sick of seeing his face all the time. :D
"Employees are more than willing to work from home and their younger bosses are letting them. This means there is a more hospitable and growing environment to SAHW's and truth be told, that is the future"
I hope so, but it doesn't seem like it's just the grey haired fogies that are resisting the SAH workforce. (See Marissa Mayer) When you have a bigwig like Yahoo who flat out flips off the SAHW that's a significant setback to the trend. I know one major company that recently adjusted their policy to allow for NO exceptions to working at home, so they're actually going backwards. I suspect Yahoo is to blame for that as well (timing seems too coincidental).
Dear Cap'n Cap.
I have to agree, the stay at home lifestyle sounds great...
How do you do it though?
Lotta ladies love to "Lean In" by sacrificing their lives and youth in an office and for an employer that hardly loves them, while denigrating those who choose to find more meaning in family relations...
But most men don't work for self-actualization. We work the stupid and nasty jobs because we have no choice if we want to avoid starving homelessness.
My dear Captain, How do you do it?
Are your royalties from your opinion blogs, publications and speaking engagements enough to support an adequate if minimalist lifestyle? Did you have a "head start" with a nice previous legal settlement, business ownership success, stock options or lotto jackpot? Maybe it was just a nice trust fund or inheritance...
While these bits of good fortune are fair and I do not begrudge them, they are hard to duplicate without years of sacrifice or rare luck. If on the other hand you think your situation can copied and scaled by your disciples, perhaps you should put out a Tim Ferriss "get rich and independent quick" style guide? Or maybe expand your business to paid seminar style "boot camps" to help your "apprentices" launch?
I agree with this, except if you wife/girl friend is that feminist your life will probably be hell anyway.
Women might be completely brainwashed but they are not stupid. They will eventually catch on to the fact that they have been had, and then hate you for it. Also, even the same woman who claims that staying home is really tough will eventually resent you and not want to support you and think you are a lazy good for nothing bum. She'll then start banging her boss as she tries to advance her career. Although this does give you the opportunity to bang the MILFs after dropping the kids off at school, desert the woman who is supporting you and taking her for everything she has and then go back to banging the MILFs after dropping the kids at school.
Women are easy to please as long as you can give them a steady supply of deep fried ice.
This is for FUBAR Nation Ben: A few accountants I know do their work from a home office, Cappie's ideal. They work on a contract basis and make enough to make it worth their while. Good one's are busy all the time, so there isn't much time for video games and hunting cats (I give them 10 to get going.) but the SOHO really works well for this trade. Travel/commute is limited to meeting clients, necessary visits to their offices to look at books, fetch and carry, etc.
One gal I know really has it perfected: She's the CFO or treasurer for a number of small companies and NPOs yet seldom needs to set foot in their offices. She looks after their accounts from home and bills them monthly. And she really is quite good.
Cappie has this this thing entirely right. Let the tyros, infighters, feminazis and AA types do the commute and office routine; looks so good on them.
There's a bonus in it too --sorta.
The bitches get to work for each other!
Think about that for a minute. Few men around the office to blame or shiv. All they will have is each other. Really think about that. Ever seen really aggressive women in the workplace? Especially when they get pissed-off at one of their own? The opportunities for real hair-pullers and hissing cat fights is enormous, and at the exec level! See the movie, The Devil Wears Prada.
This is one of Cappie's finer pieces and ought to be featured in his next sequel to the Enjoy the Decline series. (It's so good I suspect he had this proofread before posting it.)
I've been the stay-at-home dude since the early 90s. Having put in a 32-year career in the army I was creeping up on compulsory release age. Wifey had been promoted to Major Mum and her career now took precedence.
After my annual chat with my careers and postings mangler, he was able to promise me that there would no further promotions ever, no pay raises for 5 years (govt austerity program), and would be posted to wherever Majer Mum got posted. I replied that it was time to PUFO and he agreed saying he would be right behind me.
Since then, we have had a great life. She got to wage all the inter-office warfare and I got to soothe and settle her down with a 2 oz martini when she got home.
Like others here I got to read books, engage in politics, become a Mac expert, be a photog, genealogist, a cat herder, home maintainer, shit disturber, watch Band of Brothers, the Sopranos and sleep in until 0930 hours whenever I want. Throw in some biking, kayaking, more shit disturbing, etc. When I felt worshipful I'd go to Home Depot and fondle tools.
What else did I contribute other than raising a teenage werewolf daughter and becoming a vacuum cleaner power user? My pension from Her Majesty for long and loyal service to her was not huge but sure beat becoming an uncivil serpent or a wage slave.
Anyway... read Cappie's post again. he's got this one bang on.
Sorry... I re-read the thing and realized that it was Frank's work. Kudos hereby transferred to Frank and credit to Cappie for posting it.
No I think you had it right the first time, but thanks anyway. :D
"Like others here I got to read books, engage in politics, become a Mac expert, be a photog, genealogist, a cat herder, home maintainer, shit disturber, watch Band of Brothers, the Sopranos and sleep in until 0930 hours whenever I want. Throw in some biking, kayaking, more shit disturbing, etc"
See, I'm down with this. It's the men who stayed home and took up knitting and breast feeding that I take slight issue with.
True to everything.
In my office the only people who work from home one day a week, but good luck getting anything out of them for it, one doesn't even answer phone calls!
So the rest of us have to suffer because of it.
The Co. knows they're not working, but is afraid of being accused of creating an family-unfriendly work environment.
Same woman also changes which day she has off depending on what's happening, so good luck trying to schedule meetings with her more than five days in advance.
BTW, she's also the same woman who tells me to work.weekends without asking me if it fits in with my own plans.
Apparently work-home balance is only for women with children!
Isn't it a little ironic that everything you said under the paragraph ""Real Work" Sucks" was also Karl Marx's problem with capitalism, e.g. the acquisition of surplus labor from workers by capitalist bosses as stated in Value, Price and Profit (1865)?
Another great article, Cap, except for the part about needing a double income if you have kids. By the time you pay taxes and daycare (as mentioned above) it's about a break even situation unless you are both raking in the bucks. Scale back your lifestyle, tell your kids "no" to the high dollar fashions and toys, and most people can live just fine on one income. (Assuming you didn't drop out of high school to work the fry machine at Mcd's while having your kids).
Stay at home dude, the dream! Long have i imagined the ideal, with a woman that can keep me in the lifestyle i've become accustomed to. Imagine all the time to work out and self improve...and all those hours in the day to fill. It would be like retiring in youth.
As someone alluded to taking care of kids is work.
While being a SAH-boyfriend is fine, being the SAH-Dad is an order of magnitude more work.
1. Kids make everything slower & more chaotic
(Example 1 hour run to super-market as single guy, mit kids: ALL MORNING. And you'll still forget something.)
2. Kids are messy, one small child is like having 4 adults - mine went through 3 changes of clothes today, spilled the dogs water bowl, attempted to insert a USB cable (which she got who know where) into the dog's posterior, spread toys everywhere 4+ times, etc... she's not actually an incarnation of satan either.
3. Concentrate? Read? HAHAHAHA
4. There's a reason parents with small chillun's act weird, can't drive worth shit (you though minivans are uniquely bought by cretins maybe?) , and are desperate for adult conversation and sleep.
I wanna comment on the "physical shape" aspect of SAHW. I work in a studio under my apartment. I am in awesome shape. Most "real work" guys have huge guts or are fat-skinny. The stress of working with others releases cortisol, couple that with the junk food and eating out that they do, then factor in the after work happy hour. After a while, you get fat guys and fat-skinnies who are on the road to major health problems.
I agree that staying at home is a valid choice, as a man. The wider society belittles men at every turn, devalues men, says men are not needed. But the production of men IS still needed, despite the volume of protests to the contrary. Let women fund the world that women wanted. All we have to do is live in it.
I went through a couple bouts of unemployment over the years. Nothing like staying and home and keeping things neat, cooking, and reading up on things I find interesting and exercise everyday to.
Though the one I was with at the time admitted that it was nice to have a home cooked meal and breakfast in the morning.
A male who allows a woman to take care of him is not a man, period. And any woman who would allow a man to stay home on HER dime is a fool.
And do always remember that we all are part of Nature which is the boss of the bosses, the most powerful. And the planets stays in their orbit until they are hit by asteroids. The world is a complex medium we live in where everything is no black or white the more you realize it.
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