The modern-day father is a far cry from the traditional married breadwinner of the past. Nobody knows that more than stay-at-home dad Scott Benner. With 13 years as Mr. Mom under his belt, Benner has compiled the struggles and lessons he has encountered in his humorous and touching book, “Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad.”
Since Benner started his career as a stay-at-home dad, the number of men who have chosen the same path has doubled. The U.S. Census reports that 32 percent of married fathers, approximately 7 million dads, are “a regular source of care for their children under age 15.”
This trend is not only fueled by the recession but also by a shift in gender roles and more women becoming the breadwinner. According to a recent Pew study, 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.
While Benner’s wife was on a stronger career path, the couple made the choice together that he would be the one to stay home with their two children. At first, Benner says, people were skeptical of him in his then unconventional role, as if his friends and family thought he was taking the easy road and planning to stay home and play video games all day. But he quickly learned that there is no free time when it comes to running a house and raising children. He related to women in a ways he never imaged, even claiming at one point that he thought he was growing ovaries.
His book weaves through the ups and downs of parenting, from terrifying moments like learning of his daughter’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes to lighthearted reflections on overcoming the fear of baby vomit, giving up wearing sweatpants in public and navigating a sex life after children.
However, regardless of which parent is home and who is paying the bills, Benner’s biggest piece of advice is to enjoy your children and not let life get in the way of living. He encourages parents to enjoy the small moments between the big ones, because that, he says, is when the most interesting and amazing things happen.