One househusband is sharing the powerful lessons he has learned in his role.

You might think that all women cheer men who step up to stay home with the kids while the mom brings home the bread. You’d be mistaken.

According to Medium, a study showed that while 57% percent of both men and women desire to give up their career and stay at home, 26% of women say “they fundamentally refuse to support a spouse’s decision to be a stay-at-home parent.”

Michael Bracey can tell you firsthand about that rough reception. When his wife Claire was offered a job too good to pass up, Bracey gladly offered to stay home and take care of their two younger girls. 

While things were great at home, he was shocked at the icy attitude he received.

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man carrying a little girl on his shoulders
Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

While the rate of househusbands is at an all-time high, it’s still not widespread. That means those men are often seen as, well, gender outcasts. Speaking with the Daily Mail, Bracey said he quickly caught judgy vibes from his narrow-minded neighbors.

“Being a rural community, there was a real sense I wasn’t ‘manly’ enough. It was as if I should have been driving a tractor or milking cows,” he said.

Bracey added that this attitude continued at his girls’ school, where the mostly female staff created pressure on him to conform instead of being the dad his girls needed.

“There was an expectation that I would provide a masculine influence, which is understandable, but I was parenting young girls who wanted me to engage with them as little princesses!” he said.

Bracey said that the experience also came with loneliness, adding other mothers gave him the cold shoulder and mostly avoided him. He added that what breaks his heart is that their actions hurt the one he loves the most.

“I mostly felt sorry for my daughter, who was experiencing being among her peers for the first time and certainly felt the vibe,” he said.

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It’s been an at times rocky yet rewarding road for Bracey, who has seen his girls blossom. It has also given him insight and motivation for other dads like him.

His first piece of advice to build resilience: Smile and embrace it, and put your pride aside adding that it’s about your kids, not you.

Bracey said that instead of avoiding it, they should embrace being a man in a caregiving position.

“Don’t dumb down being a bloke just because you might be the only one there or because you have daughters and you’ve never played with dolls before,” he said.

Bracey closed with a little word of caution.

“Get on the floor and play and you will find how naturally it comes and how much fun it is. Just watch your knees…they seize up in no time!”

Before you think that stay-at-home father’s are all gloom, there’s another, bright side to the coin. In one survey of stay-at-home dads, most said that they felt empowered by their partners and that their role has made their relationships stronger.

If that means a happy home where children feel loved and can be their best, shouldn’t that be all that matters?

The old saying goes, ‘Happy wife, happy life.’ Maybe we should have one more:

Happy dads, happy daughters.


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