Challenging conventional notions of parenting a father stays at home to take care of the children and run the household while his wife goes out to work.

Séamus Reilly looks after his four children and takes care of the home while his wife Patrica works full time as a teacher. Although this situation challenges traditional gender roles, it arose out of necessity.

It just was something that happened naturally that I was going out to work and he stayed at home.

With Patrica working full time and Séamus is trying to set up a business it is more practical for Séamus stay at home. 

Somebody had to earn money and I was in the position to do it.

Before this arrangement Séamus and Patricia shared many of the household chores. Patricia admits it has taken time to get used to Séamus running the home his way.

Séamus does not think being a stay-at-home dad has affected his masculinity. However he sometimes finds being at home with the children full-time is isolating and lonely.

Séamus enjoys having the opportunity to spend time with his children and has a closer bond with them than he would have traditionally. Full time child care can be emotionally and physically demanding and Patricia often feels relieved to be going out to work in the morning. On the other hand, she misses out on events such as the first day of school.

Once one of us is there, that fulfils the role.

Patricia’s friends who are stay at home mothers admire Séamus for what he does and the role that he takes in the family.

'Family Matters' was a television magazine programme that looked at the changing face of Irish family life. The first episode of 'Family Matters' was broadcast on 7 October 1992. It ran for three series on RTÉ Television until 12 April 1995.

This episode of 'Family Matters' was broadcast on 5 October 1994. The reporter is Kieran Fitzgerald.