Growing up, most of us men didn’t say we wanted to become a stay at home dad, it was always a fireman, policeman, astronaut, or even a marine biologist (my personal choice in middle school). It was always the girls in the classroom that wanted to be Suzy Homemaker, or the ladies in college who set out to get their “Mrs.” Degree. Well, my friends, the times, they are a changin’. Some women are becoming the bread winners, and by choice or circumstance, some of us men end up staying home and taking care of the kids.
This lifestyle does not have “manly” connotations. What with changing diapers, feeding kids, vacuuming, laundry, and cooking, we are doing what up until recently was “women’s work.” These stereotypes are hard to break. At times you can feel like less of a man. Maybe you think your wife is starting to look down at you. Oh, and be ready for the just wonderfully witty commentary from the in-laws. Well, let me tell you, getting depressed about the situation isn’t going to make it any better.
The term “Mr. Mom” is one that gets tossed around for stay at home dads. This doesn’t necessarily help the situation as it drives home the unmanly stereotype. One group of stay at home dads wants to ban this term. Yep, they want Mr. Mom to be on the same level as all the ethnic slurs and other terms we use to insult various groups. They are all just words, as my favorite comedian, George Carlin explains below (Beware, he says all the insulting terms I am referring too). I get why the N-word and others are taboo in polite company, but “Mr. Mom,” really? This world is getting way too PC.
Way back in 1983, Michael Keaton starred in a movie called Mr. Mom. It’s a comedy about a dad who was laid off, and the wife went back to work. In the beginning he is absolutely clueless about how the household works and hilarity ensues. By the middle of the movie he has the process down pat. But he owned the moniker “Mr. Mom.” Accept your life for what it is. The more you try to deny it, overcompensate for it, the more you perpetuate the stereotype that being a stay at home dad is not manly. While we are no longer hunting down mammoth or working overtime to feed our family, we are still caring for them, providing for them, and keeping them safe.
Stereotype or no stereotype, your friends will make fun of you. You would too if the situation was reversed. We’re men, that is what we do. Be sure to remind your friends that while they were at their jobs, working, you got to take your kid to the auto museum, the amusement park, watch the early game on TV, take a nap, or just toss a ball with your kid in the backyard. On the weekends, you can go out and have some fun while your friends are taking care of their lawns. You took care of that during the week. Trust me, they are jealous. They won’t admit it, but they are. If you aren’t sure, drive by their houses on the way to your next weekend adventure. Be sure to smile and wave as they spend their Saturday doing yard work. Another bonus to this plan, since you already had plans to be away from the house, your in-laws can’t “just stop by” for a visit.