Saturday, September 10, 2011

WARNING: My story is boring

Media request, radio interviews, news reports. A lot of things lately have me thinking about my story. How I became an at-home dad. And the truth is my story is pretty boring.

Oh I would love to tell you that I was on top of the world as some high level executive when unexpectedly came crashing down around me. Through the ruble of that life I emerged as an at-home dad the way Bruce Wayne, through the tragedy of his parents murder, emerged as Batman.

And those stories are out there, but they are few and far between, and they aren't mine. Here is my story.

I met, fell in love with and then married my wife. (look at that, about 3 years boiled down to one sentence) My wife was on the path to becoming a doctor. I was throwing darts at the "what can you do with a communications degree" poster.

My first job out of graduate school was a temporary college teaching position that paid $17,000.

We had our first child during the middle of my wife's residency while I worked as a web designer at the University of Louisville. For the next 18 months my wife completed residency and I continued to work while being the primary care giver to my son. I was able to take him to day care for a couple of hours while I went into the office and then telecommute to complete my duties. There was a lot of Mountain Dew consumed during that year and a half.

After completing residency my wife took her first job in Danville, IL and I became a full time at-home dad. It made financial sense for me to be the one at home and neither or us had some preconceived notion that genetalia is what determines your ability to raise a kid or operate a vacuum cleaner.

Are you bored yet, because I am. There is really nothing remarkable about it. And while details may change, most of the at-home dads I know have similar stories.

So why work to get these stories out to the media?

I submit to you - because they are boring. Because there really is nothing that separates me from the guy sitting in a cubicle 8 hours a day. No special power. No special training. No great back story.

Do I want every dad to be an at-home dad? No. What I want is for the guy who might be considering it, whose family situation makes sense for him to stay at home to not be discouraged because he thinks every at-home dad has something he doesn't or has been forced into it because of job loss. I just want that guy to know it is a viable option.

Do I want to get these stories in the media? For now. My hope is that someday being an at-home dad won't be newsworthy because it is accepted as normal. Something people consider when figuring out how to set up their family structure. For some it will make sense. For some it will make sense for the wife to stay at home and for some both parents will work.

And at that point no one will want to do a news story or a radio interview for the mere fact that a dad stays at home. It won't be some oddity to cover like a drunken moose stuck in a tree.

At that point at-home dads will be in news stories or on radio interviews because, while their stories about how they became an at-home dad are boring, they are not.

Why the hell do you have a video from the 1983 movie Flashdance at the bottom of this post?

Good question. Because while this movie came out in 1983 and earned a lot more at the box office (USA) than did Mr. Mom, Mr. Mom continues to be a cultural reference for at-home dads. It holds up about as well as Flashdance.

On a side note: Michael Keaton, who played Jack Butler in Mr. Mom also played Batman in 1989.

1 comment:

STLDADDY said...

STLDADDY here and i am a Stay At Home DAD. My wife cooks only on Sunday and as far as i know doesn't know how to turn on the vacume. That's what made me the right one for the House. Accepted as normal yeah maybe one day maybe not but we can't let how were viewed be the factor in to your decision to Stay Home. You will loose friends and not always be welcomed but humor will see you thru. My only advise to those who are considering staying home is choose your own battles most won't see things from your point of view unless they do what you do everyday and add humor to everything you do...If your not having fun doin it no one around you will either???