Welcome to a new ongoing feature of the NAHDN blog, Dadvice, where we ask dads what they think. Have a question? Need some Dadvice? Curious what other dads have to say? Please send your question to email@example.com.
Some people have lots to say when it comes to parenting especially when it is about other’s kids and not their own. Most times, stay at home dads who are just doing what is natural, parenting.
Unfortunately we get all the attention because it is perceived that we are doing something out of the ordinary. It’s a sad commentary on our society as a whole that we feel we must single out one sex for doing the exact same job. Perceptions of what it means to be masculine are changing.
Hopefully one day we will be seen in these situations and just say. “You’re doing a great job.” That’s it, and we hope you would do the same for a mom too.
Can’t a man just do our daughter’s hair in a creative way, get the kids ready for bed, or go to the grocery store without being singled out? We are raising our kids the best way we know how which is to just be ourselves and many of us are content with our role as the primary caregiver.
We’ve heard it before in such comments like “Giving mommy the day off today?” or “It’s nice that you are babysitting the kids”.
In many cases, some stay at home dads responded that they haven’t had negative experiences which indicates that there is an important shift in attitudes about dads staying at home.
Yet, when we tell others that we are stay at home dads, sometimes it can get downright uncomfortable flurry of questions.
“Oh, did you recently lose your job?”
“When are you going back to work?”
And my personal favorite “How do you provide for your family?”
We asked dads their #Dadvice on how they have dealt with people who have negative attitudes and what they do in response to these attitudes.
Mike Andrews of Geek Daddio of Four
I just ignore it. The truth is I have always been picked on for not fitting in to the masculine stereotype. The only sport I like is figure skating and I prefer a girly drink over a beer so I am used to it. It is best to forget about how people can look at you and be yourself. If you are a very manly man then people will see that when they get to know you. What matters is that you are raising a family, which is the manliest thing you could do.
Pat Jacobs of JustADad 247
When I hear the usual, Mr. Mom comments, I try to laugh it off. I realized that they’re not trying to be condescending. Maybe it’s just a point of reference that they use to understand my extremely hard, super under-valued, beyond rewarding job as a stay-at-home dad.
I don’t deal with it, acknowledging that people have opinions is fine but I don’t have to own what they are throwing at me. To me, it enforces my willingness to change and shows me just how much they will get left in the dust.
I just try and ignore it for the most part. Sometimes I say “Yes, we are lucky that one of us can stay home with our daughter and since my wife makes more than I did it was a pretty easy choice to decide who would stay home”. I hate the phrase full time daddy or mommy. I am a stay at home dad and a househusband but just because my wife works does not mean she is not a full time mommy!
Matt Batchelor of Triplet Chaos Dad
I can honestly, and happily, say, I’ve never had any negative feedback. I think having multiples makes people “admire” being a stay at home, regardless of if I’m the mom or dad. When people say things like “time with daddy” or “you have your hands full” (no sh**, I have two hands and three 2 year olds) I tell them it’s what I do full time and people think it’s great. Some of my buddies joke around with me, and I am sure to remind them that I’m the one his wife is spending all her time talking to and hanging out with at the park and mall. There’s definitely no hard feelings and I think most guys tend to tell me I’m lucky and wish they could do it or wish they could handle it.
Have you as a stay at home parent ever run into this situation? Share with us or leave a comment below.
Have a question? Need some Dadvice? Curious what other dads have to say? Please send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.