“It can be a thankless job” — Fathers in Singapore expose the realities of being stay-at-home dads

SINGAPORE: Singaporean fathers have recently taken to an online forum to expose the realities of being stay-at-home dads, sharing the often-overlooked struggles, sacrifices, and societal stigma they endure.

The discussion started after one Reddit user asked: “Stay-at-home dads/husbands of Singapore, what made you decide to stay at home?

For example, did you plan for it right from the beginning of your relationship, or did you see that your wife was earning more than you and hence decide it was the best arrangement?”

This question sparked a flood of responses from stay-at-home dads or those who knew them, who felt compelled to share their stories.

Many explained that they chose to stay home and become the primary caregiver because their wives earned significantly more than them.

However, they quickly found out that this path, though rewarding, wasn’t without its challenges. Some even dubbed this as “an endless and thankless job.”

Still, there were a few who said their choice wasn’t driven by financial reasons. One user shared that he decided to become a stay-at-home dad because he grew up not knowing his own father, who was always busy working two jobs.

He said he rarely saw him as a child and couldn’t relate to him when he finally retired to spend more time with the family. “I didn’t want to repeat that. I wanted to know my children and for them to know me,” he said.

Another user shared that her father retired in his mid-50s because he wanted to spend more time with her, as his job involved a lot of travel. Her mum, who earned well, was supportive of this choice.

She said that her father did everything—cooking, cleaning, and even taking her to doctors’ appointments since she had endometriosis at a young age.

Despite being from a different generation, he embraced being a modern dad and never regretted his decision to stay home. He valued the time spent with her and helped care for his mother and mother-in-law as they aged.

“I was an only child and a miracle child so his priorities shifted after I was born,” she continued.

“Staying at home definitely isn’t for everyone but I know it must have been hard for him in the 2000s to do so since it wasn’t considered manly at the time.”

Reflecting on her experience growing up with a stay-at-home dad, she wrote, “As the child of a stay at home dad, I loved it. I know financially we were lucky enough for him to do so, so for that I am grateful.”

A third user shared that he chose to stay home mainly due to health reasons.

He wrote, “My wife makes a decent wage compared to what I did, we don’t have too many expenses, and it’s been better for my health.

It was actually her idea, I do the cooking, cleaning, and running errands, she has more time to focus on a career that’s working out well for her.”

Moreover, some revealed that even though times are changing and traditional gender roles are becoming less strict, fathers in Singapore still deal with the stigma of stay-at-home dads.

One user shared that his friend decided to be the primary caregiver at home because his wife earned more than double his salary.

He continued, “They have two young kids and weren’t keen on a helper staying with them.

They faced some challenges in the early years, especially from his in-laws as they felt he was mooching off their daughter, but it worked out pretty well in the end.”

Read also: “If I could, I would throw you out of my house because you are an embarrassment,” father berates daughter for poor A-level results

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