The recession has hit everyone hard, but more men than woman are finding themselves without a steady income, and new studies show these men are reevaluating what being a breadwinner means.
At research presented at the American Sociological Association's 106th Annual Meeting, sociologists from Northern Illinois University interviewed laid off men about how they coped with their newfound joblessness.
Rather than sink into the mire of depression, most embraced their role at home, especially if their wives were still earning. Even when they had previously viewed cooking and cleaning as "women's work," the realities of their situations forced them take up the housework, and become financial dependents.
What's interesting is that the men didn't express bitterness at losing the role of breadwinner. They expressed gratitude that their partners were still employed, even though many of them struggled to reconcile society's views of being "manly" with staying home, cooking and cleaning, and looking after the kids.
The phenomenon of the stay-at-home dad is hardly a new one, but it still faces significant social stigma, both from some men who see it as lazy or unmanly, and some women who are reluctant to trust men in a traditionally female sphere.
Hopefully one positive outcome of this recession is that more people will realize there's nothing inherently gendered about making most of the money for a family, nor staying at home and keeping the house in order. Anybody can be a homemaker - or a breadwinner.