Stay-at-home dads are finding it's not such a bad place to be

By Krista Jahnke
Saturday, October 16, 2010; 11:30 AM

DETROIT - When their preschooler was found to have with a degenerative eye condition, the Amicucci family of Troy, Mich., decided that one parent needed to stop working and stay home.

Money matters made it clear that the stay-at-home parent should be John Amicucci.

As chief physician extender of the emergency center at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Julie Amicucci outearned her husband, who was working in the custodial department for the city of Sterling Heights, Mich.

But long after their now-10-year-old daughter Erika's daily medical monitoring has ended, and after the birth of a second child, 6-year-old Rachel, the Amicuccis have stuck with the arrangement.

"It has just made sense," said Julie Amicucci. "We need that rock at home."

John Amicucci, 49, is among the growing ranks of 158,000 fathers in the United States who stay home for countless reasons.

For an increasing number of families, it makes sense, given that the recession has hit male-dominated fields the hardest, women wield more economic power than ever and child-care costs are rising faster than inflation, according to a report by the Center for American Progress from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law.

According to the Sphere Trending report "Women in 2010: The New Mom," men lost 82 percent of the 8 million jobs clipped by the recession.

And the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that more than a quarter of working women outearn their working husbands.

"In this economic climate, with people losing their jobs, losing their homes, with foreclosures out of control, people need to understand the family unit is different than it was in 1960 or 1970," said John Amicucci. "You're doing what you need to do to make your family whole, to run properly, and to make sure kids have a place to come home to and feel secure.

"Whether it is the mother or the father, it's just important that it gets done."

He cooks meals, does the bulk of the housework, shuttles his two daughters to soccer and swimming practice, and coordinates everyone's busy schedules.

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