House Husband

"I can't do it!" Hamal sobbed and spun the wheel on the car until we were headed back towards the gate. "I'm going home. I was never cut out for the police, it was all my mother's idea; she wanted me to be like a daughter to her and made a tomgirl out of me. When all I ever wanted to be was a simple househusband like my father!"

This is a male character who is simply a better domestic than his (usually female) significant other. He is better organized when it comes to homemaking, knows how to cook, clean, and is good with kids. Such a character is often contrasted with a less-than-feminine female character, or another male character who is a "real man", and thus useless around the house.

The usual Double Standard applies in that, for the most part, such a character is assumed to be less "manly" than one who doesn't do these things, because (for some reason) men ''aren't'' supposed to be good at these sort of things. Quite often, a man who is a full-time House Husband is seen as somehow a failure or a "bum" for "not working," even by people who have no problem with women being full-time homemakers and who would never even hint that a woman who stayed home to keep house and take care of the kids didn't have "a job". In addition, a lot of the "support network" of stay-at-home moms is often unavailable to a stay-at-home dad, because being a male makes the House Husband an outsider, even if he has the same day-to-day experiences and problems as the stay-at-home mom.

Additionally, a full-time House Husband may be patronizingly praised as though he's obviously making some incredible sacrifice, since of course men can't possibly enjoy childcare or domestic work, and/or somehow exceeding the limits of what men are capable of by displaying any actual competence at those things. Sometimes this happens while other people are calling him a bum.

When Played for Laughs, the trope is often a part of a Fish out of Water story wherein a man with no prior experience at, or interest in, domestic work is forced by circumstances into the House Husband role and has to adapt quickly.

Compare Real Men Wear Pink. Contrast Men Can't Keep House and House Wife.

Obviously this is occasionally Truth in Television.


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  • Surprisingly, this trope is played straight in one commercial for Dyson vacuum cleaners portrays a family whose mother (alongside the naturally messy kids) is constantly dropping things, tracking in dirt, spilling food and drinks, and so on, and its her husband who is constantly following her around picking up after her.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Shirou from Fate/stay night, whose primary skills are housekeeping and cooking. Especially cooking, where the descriptions border on Food Porn.
  • Yuki from No Bra. Then again...considering other traits of this character...
  • Brock from Pokémon. He even lampshaded that Ash and Misty can't travel well or eat properly without him.
    • Cilan is taking over this role in Best Wishes, although Iris is at least savvy enough to fend for herself.
  • UFO Princess Valkyrie. Kazuto. In one episode, he participates in a "bridal training game" along with several other cast-members, including the eponymous Valkyrie (albeit in her childlike Sleep Mode Size). At the end, the game crowns the finest "bride"...him. Responsible, skilled at cooking and cleaning, kind, and even knows flower-arrangement somehow.
  • Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin is a textbook example. When he moves into Kaoru's dojo he takes over the laundry, shopping, cooking, and even child-sitting duties, always with maximum cheerfulness and reasonable efficiency (he's not exactly a good cook, but anyone's better than Kaoru) Considering his One-Man Army past, this serves mostly to underscore his Atoner and Broken Ace tendencies.
  • Ryuuji from Toradora! is a variation on this, as he plays this role to both his own mother and Taiga. And enjoys it.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass is an excellent cook, knows how to sew, and is a consummate neat freak, all as a result of looking after his Ill Girl sister for years. This especially contrasts with his partner C.C., a total slob who leaves trash all over the place and would gleefully eat Pizza Hut each and every meal if she could.
  • Tanda from Seirei no Moribito, a rather feminine healer-in-training, in contrast to his tomboy love interest/childhood friend Balsa, a bodyguard-for-hire.
  • Madoka's father Tomohisa in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. He's so good at it that his wife Junko is the breadwinner of the family while he happily takes care of the children.
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is definitely a House Husband in training. His roommate/commander is a total slob and Cordon Bleugh Chef -and his Tsundere Love Interest is not much better-, so he takes care of just about all the cooking and cleaning duties once he moves in.
  • In Happy Yarou Wedding, Yuuhi takes a job as a nanny/housekeeper for a professor from school. When he becomes part of the family he naturally ends up being this trope.
  • In Kekkaishi the main characters' dad is one of these, in the absence of their mother. He's portrayed unusually respectfully and is a generally decent guy, albeit not one with badass superpowers (he married in and didn't inherit them.) He even seems to have inspired the protagonist to become a chef. On the other hand, his wife turns out not to be as good at cooking than he is.
  • The King of Devils (Forbesii) in SHUFFLE! cooks all of Nerine's food much to the surprise of all her friends. In the original Visual Novel he's even seen in an apron from time to time. People comment that his cooking is quite good.
  • In Fruits Basket, in spite of his temper, Kyo is shown to be a good cook and able to at least take care of himself. He generally doesn't do it often because he doesn't like the people he currently lives with (except for Tohru), but did have to help out with the housekeeping when he was raised by his less able former guardian. In an aside note in the last volume of the series, the author also notes that Kyo will be "a kind father".
  • In Saiyuki, Hakkai lives with Gojyo and manages to turn his bachelor pad into a home worth returning to. He cooks! He cleans! He nags Gojyo right out of the habit of using beer cans as ashtrays! And of course, he continues to play this role for the team as they travel.
    • In Saiyuki Gaiden, on the other hand, Hakkai's previous incarnation Tenpou was a total slob, and Gojyo's previous incarnation Kenren was the one who was forever cleaning and organizing Tenpou's office for him.
  • In Cooking Papa, it's kinda downplayed with Airawa Kazumi. Both he and his wife work, but only he can cook in the family (and his office is just 5 minutes from apartment), so he's the one who takes care of food.
  • Love Lucky: Fuuta might as well become one. Kirari even suggests he could quit his job since she has enough money for the two of them to live without his income. (He's shocked when she showed him the digits) However, he refuses because he feels he'd be her gigolo if he agreed. Considering she only wants him to quit so she could enjoy her days off in a more lustful way... As he leaves for work, she decides to use her day off to do housework only to find out everything is already done, leaving her feeling like a failure of a wife. Fuuta feels he was too rude with his words and tells her he won't quit so she'll see him as a reliable adult.
    • In the end, after they no longer have to keep their marriage a secret, they realize they still won't have much time together while the both of them have jobs. Since there are things Kirari still wanted to do as an idol, Fuuta ends up becoming a House Husband.
  • In The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Alciel turns from a Demon General in Ente Isla to this once he arrives on Earth. Definitely Played for Laughs.
  • I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying has Hajime, since he works from home and is a better chef than his wife.
  • In Detective Conan, when Wataru Takagi mistakenly believes that his girlfriend Miwako Sato is pregnant, one of his imagine spots about their probable married life has him retiring from police work and happily becoming one of these.

    Comic Books 
  • Ben Grimm in Fantastic Four: The End is one of these, spending most of his time at home with the kids.
  • In Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow, Lois Lane continues to work while her husband, a mechanic named Jordan Elliot, stays home with their son Jonathan. Jordan is really a depowered Superman, of course.
  • The original version of Lightning Lad became this in Legion of Super-Heroes before the Five Years Later Legion manifested. While Saturn Girl went back on duty as a Legionnaire, Garth chose to stay at home and watch after their twin sons. A spotlight issue revealed that, while Garth did worry about Imra, he enjoyed watching after the kids. Also of note, there was nothing about this Played for Laughs other than some trouble with a food preparation machine. The very same spotlight issue featured Garth going up against his evil older brother Lightning Lord.

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: When Asuka moves with Shinji, it quickly becomes obvious who is the better homemaker. Shinji is an excellent cook and he is used to take care of himself and keep his house clean and tidy. Asuka not even knew cooking before moving and she barely made some chores.
  • Scar Tissue: This is in fact a plot point: Shinji was the one made all household chores in Misato's apartment, and he is hospitalised for several weeks. During that time Asuka realizes she is barely capable to cook and keep their house and herself clean, and she feels mortified thinking that Misato and she took him for granted and never showed enough gratitude.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana's father cooked for his family (and the neighborhood in general) and was very involved with raising his daughter. His love and devotion to his family was later used as a sign of how successful his life was, rather than whether or not he achieved his dream of running a restaurant.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jack Butler, the eponymous house husband in Mr. Mom, starts out as a Fish out of Water, but ends up this at the end of the movie.
  • The aptly titled film Househusbands is all about this trope.
  • In Daddy Day Care, Eddie Murphy has to learn how to be a house husband, and eventually turns it into a successful business watching other people's kids. They initially encounter a bit of Double Standard, however, as people are reluctant to trust a daycare run solely by men.
  • Felix from The Odd Couple was this; it was part of the reason that his wife left him and he ended up rooming with Oscar.
  • In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, Humbert complains of doing all the housework while painting Lolita's toenails, showing how she's got him wrapped around her little finger (or toe).
  • Alexander And The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day: Mr. Cooper is one while his wife is the only breadwinner in the family. In the end, he gets a job but will remain in charge of household chores because his job, unlike Mrs. Cooper's, allows him the time for it.

  • The entire plot of Dorothy Canfield's The Home-Maker revolves around this trope. When the husband loses the use of his legs in an accident, the housewife is forced to enter the workplace, while he takes over the job of raising the children...and each is far happier and more skilled in their new role.
  • Spenser, the eponymous detective of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series of novels, is admittedly a better housekeeper, cook, and general domestic than his live-in girlfriend Susan Silverman, as she is the first to admit. But then, he is a Cultured Badass.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Father Time features the Doctor playing this role. He's always been the Team Chef, but in this one, he adopts a young girl and is seen serving her friends homemade lemonade. Aww. And he has time to have a successful career and save the day.
  • At the end of Dave Barry's novel, Tricky Business, it's revealed in the Where Are They Now epilogue that Ted and Fey got married, and that Ted enjoyed (and was very good at) staying at home to take care of their three daughters, while Fey went to work for the Coast Guard.
  • This is the expected role for men in A Brother's Price, and they're expected to take to it well.
  • Michael Hosea takes on this role in Redeeming Love, mainly because he’s been living alone and single well into his twenties, and his wife picked up absolutely no domestic skills during her thirteen-year career as a prostitute. The gender-stereotype connotations of this trope are averted, though; he’s a very typically manly farmer and she is extremely feminine.
  • This is the dynamic between Jill and Saul in Lilith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet series. Saul, however, is very much a bad-ass and often backs her up when hunting.

    Live Action TV 
  • Andrew in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be considered this. He's not in a relationship with anyone, though; he's more of a hostage/unwanted guest who cleans.
    • In most fan fiction that features Andrew Welles as a backup character, he always ends up being a strange combination of Team Mom and Team Chef.
  • In Full House, Jesse (played by John Stamos) and Joey (played by Dave Coulier) were effectively this, helping Jesse's widowed brother in law Danny (Bob Saget) raise his three girls.
  • In Growing Pains, Doctor Seaver ran his psychiatric practice out of his home office so he could be a stay-at-home dad to his kids while his wife worked.
  • In the 2010 version of Parenthood, Erika Christensen's character works full time as a lawyer while her husband stays at home and raises their child.
  • The J-dorama called At Home Dad.
  • An episode of CSI involved a husband who was a homemaker, taking care of the house and the infant son, while his successful lawyer wife made all the money. She is shown to treat him like dirt and not even bother hiding the fact that she is sleeping with her boss and that the child is likely his. The husband is revealed to be secretly going to a House of Pain to work out his frustration on a dominatrix. Then he accidentally suffocates her. When this is revealed, he finally musters the courage to tell his wife exactly what he thinks of her before being taken to prison. She's just mildly annoyed that her husband is going to jail. Not a very flattering portrayal of either the female provider or the male homemaker.
  • One episode of NCIS had Ziva talking to a female Marine's "domesticated house husband."
  • On the Lois and Clark show, Clark is a gourmet cook who wants kids (and children seem to adore him in both his guises). Lois, conversely, is terrified of children and "can only make four things", one of which is pasta salad. (Fanon sometimes cranks this up to "burning water" levels). One wonders how he manages time.
    • Being faster than a speeding bullet probably helps. If it takes you two seconds to clean the house, and you can boil water with your Eye Beams, keeping house becomes suddenly easier.
  • Friends: Chandler in between switching jobs. Played with in that while his wife Monica is more masculine, she's also a chef and loves cleaning so is normally happy to pull house wife duties. Also despite his feminine habits, Chandler doesn't enjoy being home all the time and gets despondent at not working.
  • Rory Williams from Doctor Who. He's a nurse, who spent his life roving around the universe with his wife and her best friend, fighting aliens. Their daughter Melody inherits her mother's last name and he's mostly fine with taking Pond as a last name himself.
    • And yet Rory is also a Bad Ass. Spending 2000 years as a man made of plastic protecting the love of your life from any grave-robber can't possibly be easy. When Amy is telling little Melody about a man who's coming to get her, and incredibly old and brave man, everyone assumes she's talking about the Doctor, until she mentions his nickname - the Last Centurion. Cue Rory in his Roman centurion armor assaulting a Cyber-ship singlehandedly and staring down a number of Cybermen.
    Rory: WHERE. IS. MY. WIFE!?!?
  • The Double Standard involved in this trope was starkly illustrated on an episode of Wife Swap when a conservative, very religious, "traditional" couple (husband worked, wife stayed home to run the house and care for the kids) switched with a non-religious, more liberal, "unconventional" couple (husband stayed home to run the house and care for the kids, wife worked). The "traditional" housewife almost immediately started berating the house husband (who was equally competent as she in taking care of a home) for being a "lazy deadbeat" and kept insisting that he "get a job". Surely, if anyone would know, she should have that staying at home and taking care of the kids is a job and its anything but lazy.
  • El Chapulín Colorado was once called to help a House Husband. Said househusband was a gynecologist who quit his job when his wife (whose job was never specified) started earning more than him. By a Contrived Coincidence, one of his former patients and her husband moved next door and, not knowing he lived there, the patient's husband went there to use a telephone to call him. Chapulin then pushed the house husband into resuming his job. His wife then became a housewife.
  • On Stargate Atlantis, Kanaan is basically this when Teyla goes back on active duty after the birth of their child. He doesn't suffer any stereotypes for it, though, probably because he's such a small character.
    • The two are not actually married, though, which is never treated as a strange thing or even addressed at all, really.
  • On The Secret Life of the American Teenager, George becomes this after Anne's business career takes off. Anne discovers that she enjoys that more than staying at home and George discovers that he likes staying home more than he likes working in the furniture store. However, it is not treated as a strange thing.
  • The Castle episode "Little Girl Lost" features a male artist who stays at home and takes care of his daughter while his wife works. The wife is so angry with him for "doing nothing" for ten years while she worked that she plotted with her sister to kidnap her own daughter, just so she could pay the ransom to herself and thus keep her husband from getting half of their assets when she divorced him. Another reason she's angry with him is because she doesn't think he's a particularly good house husband.
  • Up All Night begins with a couple who just had a baby. The mother is a television producer working on a show (an Oprah Expy) while the father is a lawyer who is on temporary leave from work as a lawyer to take care of the child.
  • A number of husbands on Call the Midwife have shades of this, being very involved with helping out during their wives' pregnancies and caring for the baby. One notable example is Mr. Warren, who is noted as standing out for staying with his wife during the deliveries of all twenty-two of their children. When she delivers the twenty-third while suffering a concussion, he stays with her the entire time, holding her still and keeping her calm.
  • As the name suggests, the Australian TV show House Husbands is about four blokes who have taken on the domestic role within their family units. The show is a comedy and situations are often played for laughs, but notably the actual House Husband trope is usually subverted or double subverted.

  • The song "Mr. Mom" by Lonestar plays the Double Standard to the hilt, featuring a man who loses his job and has to become a house husband. At first, he sees it as a chance to relax, but by the end of the first week of being a stay-at-home parent, he hates it and wants to find another job. The implications are that men (all men) are unsuited to domestic life and have to leave it to the women (although he does admit at the end that his wife is his hero because he now knows how she feels).
  • Jon Lajoie's "Stay At Home Dad".
  • The narrator's girlfriend in Camper Van Beethoven's "Northern California Girls" lets him know he can be this. "I've got a good job, stay home and play the guitar" and raise the children.
  • Referenced in the Irish song "The town I loved so well".
    In the early morning the shirt factory horn
    Called women from Creggan, the Moor and the Bog
    While the men on the dole played a mother's role
    Fed the children and then walked the dog.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Stuart from Dykes To Watch Out For is an extremely peppy, successful example.
  • Adam@Home
  • While Ted from Sally Forth has a job of his own, he often helps out with the jobs at home too. In one comic where his parents show up for the holidays, his dad demands that someone provide him with a sandwich. He then berates Ted for fixing it instead of leaving it for Sally (who already had her hands full with the actual dinner for everyone) and asks "What did you get married for?" Ted replies with "Oh, you know. Love, companionship. Having a second mother wasn't really a part of it."

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist of Persona 4, who can cook better than any of the girls (which says nothing), is good with kids, can clean pretty well, and has jobs to do at home.
  • Rafael in Date Warp, although not romantically involved with anyone at the start of the game, lives with another character and does all the housework - during the course of the story, he's basically looking after all the game characters. And yes, he is a romance option for the protagonist.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features potion-shop owner Luv and her husband Bertie. Whereas Luv is a shrewd businesswoman who is known for her brashness, meek Bertie is the one who constantly takes care of their child, only runs a side-business, and is even referred to by your Exposition Fairy as a "tireless househusband." Although Bertie seems like a Henpecked Husband, he seems to genuinely enjoy being the primary caretaker for their child ("Even when they keep you up all night, babies are still pretty cute"), and he and Luv make a great potion-making team.
  • In The Sims, a male character with a family-based aspiration works very well as one of these. And as the Sims world is a largely genderless utopia of acceptance, no one finds it in any way strange.
    • The Sims 3 plays straight and averts this trope with pre-made Dustin Langerek, who, though a stay at home dad, is less than focused on the housework.
  • Stahl and Gaius from Fire Emblem Awakening show traits of this. Stahl is a very sweet guy who takes care of everyone's needs and a skilled potion/medicine maker, while Gaius is quite skilled at needlework, jewelry making and specially cooking - his speciality being sweets of all kinds.

    Western Animation 
  • Johnny's father Hugh Test in Johnny Test, who is literally a "househusband."
  • On Rugrats Stu works at home inventing toys and apparently serves this role during most of the year, when his wife Didi is working as a high school teacher.
  • On Daria both Jake and Helen work, but Helen is by far more successful and obsessed with it. Jake, meanwhile, seems to enjoy cooking strange dishes much more than business.
  • Richard Watterson from The Amazing World of Gumball, though he doesn't even do much house work either. Also, if he ever gets a job, reality collapses on itself.
  • The Proud Family has Oscar stay at home as an inventor (an unsuccessful entrepreneur) while his wife, Trudy is a veterinarian.
  • A variant on Batman Beyond: during an Egg Sitting plot with a robot baby, Max (the girl) and Nelson agree that Nelson will watch their child full-time if Max does his homework for him.
    Max: We opted for the traditional marriage: one breadwinner, one homemaker.
    Nelson: Beats algebra.

    Real Life 
  • John Lennon in the last five years of his life. Although as Lennon admitted in 1980, they had a staff of domestics to do the actual housework.
  • Due to the economic downturn throughout the 2000s, this has been happening more frequently in families where the husband loses his job and can't find a new one (or, in some cases, realizes after a while that he enjoys and is good at domestic work, and doesn't want a new job). This can lead to relationship friction if one or both partners, or their friends, find this "inappropriate" behavior for a man.
    • That situation wasn't so uncommon in during The Great Depression as women were paid less and often could at least find some underpaid work while their husbands were completely unemployed.
    • Although it is not nearly as prevalent as the idea that women can work, due to a lessening of traditional gender roles some men choose to become this without being fired from former jobs.
  • A 2002 New York Times poll discovered that out of a thousand men randomly polled, nearly 80% of them said they would give up their jobs in a heartbeat to stay home and raise the kids if it was at all economically feasible for their families for them to do so.
  • Many countries now offer transferable paternity/maternity leaves that would allow the father and the mother to split the time off. This allows the father time to stay home and take care of the baby instead of leaving it all to the mother.

Alternative Title(s):

Stay At Home Dad