By Holly Menino
EUGENE, Ore. — U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that in 2009, there were 5.3 million stay-at-home parents. The majority were moms, but the number of moms staying home to care for their children is on the decline and the number of dads staying home is increasing.
In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau found the estimated number of stay-at-home dads was 158,000.
Sean Hammond knew at an early age that he wanted to be a father.
“I knew that being a parent was the most important thing that I was going to do in my life,” Hammond said.
He took that responsibility so seriously that before he and his wife Vivian had their daughter, Sean decided to get some training.
“Even if you’re not there yet, you can start thinking ahead. You can start laying out a few stepping stones along that path, even before you walk it,” Hammond said.
Hammond started his preparation for parenthood with a few lessons in discipline.
“Knowing that one of my weaknesses was being a disciplinarian, ’cause that is not something that I’m naturally comfortable with, I spent a year working as an unarmed security guard dealing with adults acting like little kids,” Hammond said.
After about a year as a security guard, he took the next step and started working at a children’s center.
“(I was) working at the playgrounds, seeing how they interacted, learning to anticipate, learning routines, just learning to be sensitive to them,” Hammond said.
After three years of preparation, the Hammonds welcomed their daughter Hazel. From the very beginning, they knew what their roles in the home would be.
“Every family has to work out their own internal dynamics of who does what; who takes how much responsibility, whether you divide it down the middle or whether you have a primary,” Sean Hammond said.
He says he isn’t super social, but for Hazel he steps out of his comfort zone.
“In my case, I’m the only adult male in a group of six females and talking about diaper rash, where to go to get the best deals on formula or food, trading baby horror stories,” Hammond said.
Hammond admits it can be a little uncomfortable being the only guy in a group of women.
“It helps a little bit that I’m socially oblivious. I’m probably missing some queues that this is a little bit weird, and those go right over my head,” he said.
But fatherhood and being Mr. Mom is something Hammond embraces whole heartedly. After all, it’s something he trained three years for.