Sunday, February 09, 2014

An open letter to Stay-At-Home Moms from a Stay-At-Home Dad

As a stay-at-home dad I have certainly dealt with stay-at-home moms. They are our peers. I've exchanged kid watching with them. We've joked about poop together.

But when Jenna Karvunidis got Pissed Off about stay-at-home dads featured in the newspaper (and a lot of women agreed with her) I thought maybe there is some miscommunication between some stay-at-home moms and their male counterparts.

I get it. You see us in the grocery store and some woman comments on how great it is dad is out with the kids. Meanwhile you are your second grocery trip of the day because your husband just invited his boss over so you have to pick up extra food and your 6 year old just took off down the isle with a box of Captain Crunch screaming "Ahoy there captain." And you think, where is my pat on the head? Why is he getting recognition for going to the store with just one damn kid?

The truth is we don't enjoy the lowered expectations. These are not compliments on our great parenting ability they are condescending acknowledgement of our existence. Like when your kid gets excited because a monkey on TV was "wearing pants like a person."

It would be like every time you went to the drive through pharmacy to pick up another med for an ear infection the man behind the counter said, "It is so great your husband lets you drive all by yourself." Trust me, this is not kind of compliment that builds you up.

We don't want to be complemented on meeting the minimal requirements of parenting. We don't think our contributions are somehow greater because of our gender. We are your peers. We know what it is like to have to function after staying up all night with a sick kid cleaning up vomit. We know what it is like to spend a day doing 6 loads of laundry knowing that it is only going to reappear to be done again. We know what it is like to declare pizza night because at some point, even if you like to cook, the daily grind of coming up with a healthy meal every single night is too much.

We are the few men in the world that know what your job is like. We are you allies. We want respect for parents who stay home full time, not just the dads.

And while seeing us in the media may make you "rage vomit" you need to understand that we are working from a media deficit. It may seem like we are being praised for doing what mothers have been doing for ages, but it is because we have been portrayed as totally incompetent of taking care of kids. Still today this is Nick Mom's bread and butter for laughs.

They have been so bombarded with these images that when they see a dad taking care of his own kids without loosing an arm it is like seeing sasquatch.

Granted, we each have our own battles.

The mommy wars are real. Women who work outside the home and those that stay-at-home seem to be entrenched in a battle of who is most important. Certainly not all, but enough to write books about it and to be immortalized in countless blog post.

We are Switzerland here. Almost by definition we have wives in the workforce. We understand that women are smart and talented and have great potential in the workplace. We support that. We want women to have equal pay not just because it is right, but because it impacts our family budget.

But we also know how much work staying at home is. We do it everyday. We don't devalue women who have taken on the same role we have. We are your allies in wanting respect for those who choose to stay home and raise other human beings. Why a stay-at-home mom would choose to devalue a man doing the same job is beyond me.

And it seems like there is a competition among stay-at-home moms. With your Pinterest boards showing the elaborate crafts you need to do for each and every holiday. The 800 post on the proper way to celebrate National Waffle Day and the 200 recipes for waffles you have to dig through to find the best one.

Maybe this is where we can teach you something. It is OK to just use the boxed waffle mix. Your kids will be fine.

Parenting doesn't have to be a competition.

So instead of starting a new war between stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads. Instead of referring to a dad taking care of his kids as "momming." Before you get worked up into a frenzy about the next article to talk about stay-at-home dads. Let's meet at the park, let the kids play and talk about how you get those damn ketchup stains out.

Would you take a minute to help me make a difference. I am asking ChicagoNow to follow their own Comment Policy. Please sign the petition.


supersahd said...

Love it.

Anonymous said...

Don't let that drama queen bully you. Put More Than Just About Dads back up! You called her out on her latest Drama and she's in a snit. She wants her "funny" ppd comments to go away... and you, too for that matter.... Because you know what she is and what she's doing. Your article cut to the core of the issue with FACTS and proved what a conniving, self-centered liar Karvunidis is. Also, if you read back through her blog posts, there are some where she actually mocks mentally ill people. This little "I'm a little depressed" is a convenient way for her to avoid the real subject.. why she attacked David. If that article had been about anyone else, she would have not written what she did. She hated David getting attention and kudos. But, now, with her "depression" declaration, the spotlight is back on her and her fangrrls are fanning her and feeding her grapes and gushing over her for her "bravery". IF she had depression, she wouldn't be blogging, tweeting, pinning, fighting, etc. 20 hours a day. She'd be in bed with the door shut.
I think you said you did have a bout with depression. Can you imagine what she would post if the Trib did a story on YOU on the front page? She'd be all (again) up in arms and saying "why not MEEeeeeee". "Look! Look! I have depression too!"
She tried to twist her angle and say that she didn't like the way the Trib wrote the story (Oh like SHE'S an expert journalist!). But we know the real reason. No attention on her and too much on her nemesis. PLEASE restore your post and don't let her bully you like she has so many others.

John Bryson said...

Really well put. I'm a stay at home dad of two awesome kids and I think having different standards for any two types of stay at home parents is silly, As a dad, I have my own style of raising my kids - just because it's different than how a traditional mom may handle things doesn't make it an accomplishment or failure. The Pinteret super-moms deserve kudos for caring so much about their kids although I wouldn't think twice about making a frozen pizza even if it is National Pancake Day. If you are raising good kids in a safe and loving environment, you win, no matter who you are or how you do it.