All this staying-at-home has made me a little stir crazy. Let’s take a look around the internets, shall we?
Watch What You Say, Pal
I can’t say I’ve heard all of comments featured in “The Seven Things You Should Never Say to a Stay-At-Home Dad“, but I’ve experienced my share. Despite the escalating numbers of at-home dads, we’re still in the great minority. I rarely see other fathers at the playground or library. It’s almost always just me and ladies. (Just the way I like it.) This lack of daytime testosterone occasionally leads to some surprising comments, most of which are centered around this unexpected reversal in gender roles. The man isn’t supposed to be home with the kids. That’s the woman’s job. Men should be out cutting down trees, killing wolves with their bare hands, and dropping cluster bombs on bad guys. Right?
Now, of course most people would say it’s fine for women to work full-time and men to stay at home. In fact, many women would welcome this with open arms! But when presented with this flip-flop in person, foolish things nevertheless spill out of their mouths. Does this mean that they don’t believe what they preach? That men can’t take on a traditionally female role in the household? Or might it be that they simply haven’t been presented with enough real life examples? Enough for their sentiments to crystalize into belief? I’m not sure.
But they say them. Such as these three personally irritating gems:
- “Are you babysitting today?” I wish. I’d be getting paid then.
- “Man, it’s got to be nice not to work!” Tell that to my sore feet, pal.
- “Got a sweet little sugar momma, huh? Aww yeah!” That’s right. And you don’t.
Stop Slackin’, Slacker
When you’re home all day and your wife is out making all the money, it’s hard not to put a little pressure on yourself. Keep the house clean, do the dishes, make dinner, brush the cats, etc. “Becoming a Stay at Home Dad” touches on this constant need to justify one’s existence when out of work. And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that occasionally feels this way.
My wife can attest to this recent need of mine. When I make dinner–which is quite frequent these days, I might add–I try to do it all myself, only grudgingly allowing her to help. I also overreach on continuing my parenting duties once she’s home. My wife will tell me that I can back off, but I keep pushing on with the diaper changes and bath-giving.
I don’t enjoy doing this. Really. I don’t even realize I’m doing it at the time. It’s only afterward that I acknowledge the pressure I was feeling to do so much extra around the house was not coming from my wife. It was coming from me.
The truth is I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I’m out of work. I feel guilty that we have to stretch our dollars. I feel guilty that my wife is stuck with a schlub like me. So I heap on the pressure. I pile on the chores and push her away while I’m at it. It’s not a good thing. Obviously.
But unlike the couple in this article, my wife and I have always been very open on matters of the home and heart. We don’t let things stew. We talk, and this is something we’ll continue to talk about. I know she doesn’t think I’m a fat schlub. I know she doesn’t blame me for our current situation.
I just need to remind myself of that. Every day.
Thanks to the Internet Everyone Seems More Creative Than Me
Audrey loves the book “Go, Dog. Go!” I never had it as a child so I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to its simple, instructional tale of hat-wearing dogs in cars.
But it appears I’m in the minority. “A Go, Dog! Go!-themed birthday party” is a good example of its many fervent fans and the lengths they will go to to celebrate this gem of a children’s book. Could I ever come up with such a magnificent birthday party theme and actually pull it off? It’s doubtful. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll find the courage some day to give it a shot.
Cross your fingers, kiddo.