Researchers and associations that represent these fathers, however, estimate their number to be closer to two million, as the Census Bureau figures do not take into account fathers who work part time or from the home.
And they’ve come a long way in the quarter-century since the bumbling dads in the 1983 hit “Mr Mom” starring Michael Keaton. While it may have popularized the term, the film treated the species as an oddity, a stay-at-home dad who is there because he lost his job, struggling to cope with diaper-changing, meal-cooking home multi-tasking handled “easily” by women.
As the number of men who decide to become Mr Mom grows, so has the number of support groups, play groups, blogs and products tailored to their needs, such as outdoor jackets with inside pockets large enough to hold diapers.
There is even an annual convention for stay-at-home dads where they exchange ideas, recipes and tips on child rearing and how best to cope with the initial sense of alienation and loneliness that comes with the job.
Experts attribute the increase in the number of men who abandon the briefcase and high-powered business lunch for diaper changing, homework and housework to the fact that many women in the workforce today are earning more than their male partners.
They also say that there is less stigma attached nowadays to a man staying home to take care of his children.