Stay-at-home dad Karl Tricamo cares for his young son, Kae, while his wife, Nikki Brandt, a vet technician, works two jobs and attends online classes at a local community college.
Tricamo, from Ferguson, is part of a growing trend of stay-at-home fathers across America, though the numbers are still comparatively small. The Census Bureau says 189,000 dads stayed home to raise their children in 2012, and 18 percent of preschoolers in 2011 were regularly cared for by their family while their moms worked.
Missouri Business Alert: How did you and your wife decide that she would work while you stayed at home?
Karl Tricamo: I was unemployed at the end of 2009, laid off at a large corporation. So I was looking for a job and wound up having to take a screen printing T-shirt job, making $10 an hour — it was awful work. My wife ended up landing a better job at a humane society. It’s easier for her to keep her good job while I stay home with Kae.
MBA: When do you hope to return to work?
KT: Without me working, things are tight. So, it’s difficult to start new endeavors … you’re cutting it close month by month. We’re essentially right at ($20,000) a year with a family of three. However, even though finances are tough, it’s definitely worth it to stay at home with Kae. I don’t plan to go back to work anytime soon.
MBA: What do you think about being a stay-at-home dad?
KT: I enjoy every moment with my son. Most men don’t know what it’s like to spend every moment of that first year and half with their first child. It’s really a privilege.
MBA: When people first hear that your wife works and you take care of the home, what is their initial reaction?
KT: The word lazy gets thrown around a lot, or hippie … “she wears the pants.” People are rather shallow and superficial. I usually shrug it off, because I love what I do. I am so lucky to have the ability to spend every moment with my kid.