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Two male Roseville homemakers discuss the pitfalls, promise

By: Jon Brines, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Editor’s note: Press Tribune Correspondent Jon Brines is a stay-at-home dad who writes from home while watching his 3-year-old son Zachary and 14-month-old daughter Ella. He takes a closer look at the lives of other stay-at-home-dads.

Father’s Day means something different to two Roseville stay-at-home dads Chris Boquiren and Andrew Yambao. Both feel as though the concept of staying out of the labor force to care for their young sons while their wives work outside the home would trouble their own fathers.

“My dad may have had more trouble with it,” Boquiren said. “It is generational. (In) today’s generation it’s acceptable now.”

It’s becoming more common. The number of stay-at-home dads is increasing since the recession, up from 98,000 in 2003 to 154,000 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The number of stay-at-home moms has dropped from 5.4 million in 2003 to about 5 million in 2010, according to the census. Industry experts said men are more likely to be in layoff-prone industries.

Both Roseville dads discovered each other over the fence when they moved into the same Westpark neighborhood just over six months ago. Boquiren has a first-grader, Matthew, and Yambao a seventh-grader, Andrei.

 “With Matthew, we try to explain to him Daddy’s job right now is to take care of you,” Boquiren said. “Mommy goes to work and this is Daddy’s job right now.”

Boquiren came from the hotel industry. Yambao was laid off from the engineering field.

 The average stay-at-home dad in the U.S. works 52.9 hours a week, according to salary.com. If he was paid for the top 10 jobs done during the week, he would make $61,814 a year, according to the online job survey.

 Both fathers have had trouble due to the fact that for many men their job is part of their identity.

”Sometimes I wish I was working so I could get busy. You don’t want to be a burden or looked at as a lazy person,” Boquiren said.

 For Yambao, who looked up to his own father for inspiration, he worries about what his son will gain from seeing him at home.

 “I patterned myself after my dad. My dad was a mechanical engineer so when I went to college I took mechanical engineering,” Yambao said. “Maybe when he grows up he may understand more.”

And then there is the X factor: the wife and mother who has expressed guilt over spending so much time on the job. They try to give their wife a pat on the back and keep their spirits high.

 “When my son has a question (for mom), he would verify with me if that’s the correct answer,” Boquiren said. “She wants to spend quality time with him.”

Yambao said the effect on his son is apparent.

“He listens to me more than my wife. ‘Go clean your room or take a shower.’ If she tells him he doesn’t do it at once. But when he hears from me — maybe because he knows what will happen if he doesn’t do it,” Yambao said with a grin.

 Even so, he said he empathizes with his wife.

 “(I have) a guilt feeling. You see your wife work and she is really tired and complains about work. I feel like I should be the one experiencing this,” Yambao said.

While Boquiren’s son has mastered potty training and is now onto school, Yambao’s son is in another phase as his teenage years approach.

 “I have to constantly ask him about his homework and make sure he doesn’t forget doing things,” Yambao said. “He’s getting more responsible.”

Yambao said the biggest challenge is trying not to ride his son and back off enough to let him make his own decisions.

“I can’t help but to be on him. I know I have to balance it but it’s hard to do,” Yamboa said. “I feel like he won’t be as open, keep problems to himself. I don’t want that.”

For Boquiren, the privilege of being home to see his 6-year-old son grow comes with a tight schedule and expectations.

 “Because I don’t work, I want to do as much as possible not to be a burden to the family,” Boquiren said.

They do it for love. The priceless personal moments they share with their sons when they know they would have missed it at the office.

Boquiren taught his son about respecting other people.

“You would see that in him when he plays with other kids,” Boquiren said. “I know that I was able to teach him that.”

For Yambao, his payoff is when his son celebrates his own Father’s Day.

“I hope he appreciates this when he grows up, not for my self esteem, but for when he has his own kids he’ll feel the same way I feel like right now,” Yambao explained. “If he grows up a good person — responsible — then that’s the satisfaction.”