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Dad Enters Non-Traditional Role Of Stay At Home With Downturn In Economy

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Bret with daughter Zoey. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

Bret with daughter Zoey. (WWJ/Sandra McNeill)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
A native Detroiter and University of Michigan graduate, I got a break...
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W. BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) - This Father’s Day finds a growing number of dads who are choosing to stay home.

WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports with the job market still not good — and the cost of child care on the rise — 20 percent of American men are now the primary caretakers for their children.

Bret Panter of W. Bloomfield is a graphic designer who chose to stay at home when the job market dried up.

“Four years ago I definitely wasn’t wired this way … I was all about work, myself, you think differently, you act differently – life changes when you have a child,” he said.

Panter runs a part-time business out of his home and takes care of 3 year-old Zoey. His wife works full-time at night.

He said that some men do envy his lifestyle while others .

“Sometimes (other men envy my role) and sometimes I think a lot of them look down on you … it’s a double edged sword,” Panter said.

And what about the housework?

“We try (to do as much as women) after a while I don’t think we are as nit-picky about it – today – this morning – I had to mop the floor.”

“I’m so used to wearing so many different kind of hats,” Panter said. “It’s a little change of pace. Not only do I do graphic design and then for a while I was the official diaper changer.”

Panter says he’d like a full-time job but right now he relishes the chance to be a critical influence during his daughter’s early years.

“My father was always kind of in and out of my life … so that’s one thing I always kind of said to myself – I just want to be a better father,” he said.

“Happy Father’s Day,” said Zoey to her dad.

 

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