Changing the Perception

August 31, 2012

Adam is a stay at home dad that blogs at Hanging With Dad. He has a 2 year old Isaac, and he and his wife Erin are expecting their second child this year. He’s one of those crunchy dads – in fact months ago he did a babywearing post on here that still is one of the most clicked. I have read him for so long I can’t even remember when I started, and I enjoy hearing about his side of this gig – from his frustration at no changing tables in the men’s rooms to going out on playdates with moms. Here he writes about how he’d love to change the view of a stay at home dad from that “Mr. Mom” notion.

Since stay-at-home dads don’t really exist in much of America (though we are a growing section), we’re typically looked at as the Black Swan of society (I have to credit Nouriel Roubini for that phrase). You might hear about us but you can’t really believe we exist until you actually see one with your own eyes. Because of this, I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about us (stayathomedads.com has a great list). After 2 years of doing the stay-at-home dad gig, the top thing that I would change about how people think about stay-at-home dads is the whole notion of Mr. Mom.

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrated I get when I hear that phrase uttered. I hear it from guys at rugby every once in a while, I read it on blogs and I know it’s a bad 1980s movie with Michael Keaton that I’ve never seen. I get the whole concept of the phrase, but it really irks me.

I really, truly feel that we need to change the way that parenting is perceived in general. Washing clothes isn’t a woman’s job, washing dishes isn’t a woman’s job. Cleaning isn’t a woman’s job, grocery shopping isn’t a woman’s job. Changing diapers isn’t a woman’s job, taking the kids to practice isn’t a woman’s job. Working isn’t a man’s job, fixing broken things isn’t a man’s job. Disciplining isn’t a man’s job, rough housing with the kids isn’t a man’s job. All of the things I listed are a PARENTS job. It doesn’t matter who does it, just that it gets done. A man can do all the stereotypical “woman’s work” and a woman can do all the stereotypical “man’s work” and it really doesn’t matter. If the wife is willing to work so that the dad can stay home, who are we as a society to say “oh dad’s can’t do that!!!”?

And you know what? After 2 years I still do all the laundry in the house, I wash Isaac’s diapers, I’m potty training him, I tend to him when he hurts himself, I discipline him when he needs it, I pick up after him (and am starting to make him pick up after himself). NONE of what I do is a woman’s work, it’s just what you do as a parent. Sure it’s not what is stereotypically associated with what women do, but why should that still be true?

Do I love grocery shopping or washing diapers or folding clothes or washing dishes? Absolutely not, how many of us actually do? (please ignore the fact that I’m writing this for Diana, who actually does enjoy cleaning for some weird reason) Does Erin love leaving the house every morning to go to work while I stay home with Isaac? No, she doesn’t. But we each do what we do because it’s what we’ve decided is best for our family, and in the end that is all that matters.

Nothing that I do is trying to replace Erin. I don’t want to and I never will. Isaac has a relationship with her that he and I will never have. And I have a relationship with Isaac that Erin will never have. But both of our relationships with Isaac are amazing because we have each had a hand in raising him.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until people get it through their thick skulls. I’m not “Mr. Mom”, my name is Dad.

Follow Adam on his blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

 

9 Comments

  • HomeDaddy

    September 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Adam…we can relate.

  • HomeDaddy

    September 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Amen brother!

    Who makes these rules that we all live by. I could not enjoy my days more then hanging with the little one.

  • Pussy Parent

    August 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Sing it brother. I don’t know if I will end up a SAHM or not but I would hate for people to think we made the choice based on outdated gender stereotypes.

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      August 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      It doesn’t just bother me when people call me Mr Mom and think that what I’m doing is womanly or anything like that. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. But there are some people (SAHMs) who have given Erin not so veiled grief about being a working mom and that REALLY pisses me off. Being the financial provider for your family is a very important parental duty, yet it’s shrugged off by many if you’re the woman.

      When Erin’s been brought down by people who give her grief over working I have a simple response. “Well does that mean that they think their husbands aren’t real parents?”

      If being a SAHM works for you and your family I say go for it. If your husband being a SAHD works for him and your family, good on ya. Or, shocker here, if both of you WANT or have to work, and it works for your family, I say good for you. You just have to do what’s best for your family. A SAHM/SAHD who really wants to be working is no good to anyone because they’ll just end up resentful and bitter.

  • Guest Post on Hormonal Imbalances: Changing the Perception | Hanging with Dad – A Stay At Home Dad's Story

    August 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    […] The topic hit a spot that I’m passionate about so I was more than happy to write about it. Go give it a read and don’t forget to check out the rest of her stuff while you’re over there. I mean, […]

  • LDiggitty

    August 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    PREACH IT!!!! I know two stay-at-home dads, and I’m going to have to share your post with them!

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      August 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      You know two? I’m genuinely impressed. I know 0.

      1. LDiggitty

        September 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        I know, I definitely agree it’s not a proportionate sample size! One of them is a former stay-at-home dad, which counts 🙂

  • Good Girl Gone Green

    August 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Love this post!!! 🙂 🙂

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