Men and Workplace On-Ramps
We know that women who drop out of the workforce to raise their children face potential difficulties finding a rewarding and well-paying job when they decide to return to work. Not every former SAHM has a horror story to tell, but plenty do - either from rusty skills (real or perceived), employers who consider these women less dedicated employees, lack of desirable part-time positions, or just plain discrimination.
But what about the SAHD? Although I don't have statistics in hand to back me up, I think that far more so-called SAHDs actually maintain some real ties to the workplace during their childraising years. They often work from home or in a consultant role rather than completely abandon work for pay. But the ones who do quit working have the same problems that women have when they try to re-enter the working world - and then some.
According to this recent article at MSNBC, men returning to work have far fewer support networks than do women. They can also face more disapproval for their decisions to step away from work, and be even more stereotyped as an undedicated worker. So few men take this path, and this leaves those who do with few allies.
I wish these barriers were not there for either mothers or fathers, but they are. And because they can't be ignored, I will point out that equally shared parenting offers a way around them. With ESP, neither parent opts out of paid work and neither parent has a resume gap to overcome. Yet, the kids get plenty of time with a parent (well, an even mixture of both of their parents) - a common reason parents list for making the stay-at-home decision. I firmly believe that it is far easier to ramp up to a full-time career, even a high powered one, from a reduced-hours position than from a stay-at-home role.