Friday, June 21, 2019

Mr. Mom vs. Stay-At-Home Dad

First things first: I am not Mr. Mom. I'm a stay-at-home dad. (Yes, there is a difference.)

Having said that, if anyone calls me "Mr. Mom," I'm not going to get all upset or offended by it. (One of the biggest problems in the world today is that people get offended too easily, and if that statement offends you, I don't really care.) I'm not very fond of the term "Mr. Mom," but I can certainly understand why people use it. Heck, I've used it myself. It's a quick, two-word shorthand for my current employment situation.

I mean, which would you say, "I'm a Mr. Mom," or, "I quit my truck driving job to be a writer, and since my wife is a full-time school teacher I end up doing a lot of the day-to-day household chores like the dishes, the laundry, and tending, bathing, and feeding the kids?" Depending on who I'm talking to, it's so much quicker and easier to just say, "I'm a Mr. Mom," so that's what I do, even though that's not quite what I am.

I have a spatula (and I'm not afraid to use it!)

Why don't I like the term "Mr. Mom?" There are certain sexist connotations to it. For one thing, it assumes the many things involved in raising children are all women's work. You know, stuff only a "Mom" does. And then when you put the "Mr." in front of the Mom, it implies that, since this is a guy doing all of this women's work, it's not going to be done as well. And yes, my wife is much better at "Momming" than I am, but that's okay because I'm not the Mom, I'm the Dad. (A Dad who happens to stay at home.)

We don't call a woman who works full-time to support the family a "Mrs. Dad," do we? So why should we use "Mr. Mom" for a stay-at-home dad?

I'll be honest, when I first became a stay-at-home dad, I had no idea how much work it would involve or how much time it would take. I thought I'd be able to spend most of my 9:00-to-5:00 time writing, with an occasional diaper change sprinkled in throughout the day. I was wrong. (Oh, so wrong!) Watching two kids under five years old is something that demands my constant attention. And if I am able to grab a free moment when they are eating/napping/playing with toys by themselves, I'm more likely to collapse from exhaustion than actually write.

Sometimes the kids even "help" me write!

But, it's not always just poopy diapers and runny noses (even though it may seem that way at times.) Being a stay-at-home dad means I'm also there for the smiles and the giggles. I'm there to sing songs and dance. I'm there to help them learn their colors, and their letters, and how to count. (Which is why, for several weeks, my daughter thought the color green was called "Hulk-smash.") Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun.

I'm not sure how much longer I can afford to be a stay-at-home dad. Finances may dictate that I go back into the work force fairly soon. But if that happens, I'll do so with a new respect for all the work that goes into taking care of small children. And I'll always appreciate my time as Mr. Mom. (Even though I'm not Mr. Mom.)

Edited from a post originally published on 6/9/2017.

No comments:

Post a Comment