Jason Dessereau keeps his boys busy when they’re not in school, staying home and caring for them while having fun and teaching them life skills.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, I love it. There’s a small percentage where they fight like crazy that makes me want to go out of my mind,” Dessereau said.
Dessereau and his wife, Llajaira, have two sons, 13-year-old Brandon and 9-year-old Francis.
What You Need To Know
- Pew Research shows fathers comprised around 18% of stay-at-home parents in 2021, up from 11% in 1989
- According to a Pew Research Center Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 18% of parents didn’t work for pay in 2021
- Although Jason Dessereau is a stay-at-home dad by choice, Pew Research said others are not working due to illness or disability, not being able to find work, going to school or being retired
Feeling less career-oriented than his wife, Dessereau became a stay-at-home dad shortly after the youngest was born, so they wouldn’t have to pay for daycare. He went back to work as a gym teacher three years later, but that didn’t last long as the family moved from Brooklyn to Orange County.
“I wanted to make sure my boys adjusted properly to their new life, and I’ve been doing it since, and I absolutely love it,” Dessereau said.
His wife works as an assistant principal in the New Paltz School District. On a typical summer day while she’s at work, the boys and their dad do chores in the morning and play games and sports in the afternoon, all making for quality time together.
“I wouldn’t change it for the world. There’s a lot of people that are upset because they missed their kids’ milestone and weren’t there for them when they wish they could,” Dessereau said.
Pew Research shows fathers comprised around 18% of stay-at-home parents in 2021. That’s up from 11% in 1989.
While there are still more stay-at-home moms than dads, Dessereau is trying to break the stereotype of dads needing to be the worker while moms stay at home.
“It actually changes that dynamic and shows that we could stay at home, and we have a heart household. We’re not just hard-working people who have to get dirty and bring home a paycheck every week,” Dessereau said.
Dessereau said he’s taught the boys how to do yard work, swim, cook some meals and fold laundry, so they can pitch in around the house and be prepared for the future. He also doesn’t miss any of their games or music performances.
“When they ask me what I do on birthday parties or something like that, and I’m the only dad there, it gets a little awkward, and they’ll say, ‘what do you do?’ I’m like, ‘oh, I’m a stay-at-home dad,’ ” Dessereau said. “Sometimes, they give me a look. But as of more recently, a lot of the answers have been, ‘wow, I wish I could do that,’ which really makes me feel grateful that I have the opportunity to do it because there are people that would love to, but they don’t have the opportunity to do so.”
Brandon and Francis Dessereau say they appreciate having their dad home with them, too.
“I feel very excited and happy because I have a dad that gets to stay home with us,” Brandon said.
“We spend more time with him,” Francis said.
It may not be a typical job, but it’s the one Dessereau enjoys the most.
“It’s proud than anything I can do at any job,” Dessereau said.
According to a Pew Research Center Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 18% of parents didn’t work for pay in 2021, with 26% of those parents being mothers and 7% fathers. Research said others are not working due to illness or disability, not being able to find work, going to school or being retired.