Is “Mr. Mom” dead?

I think not. There are two distinctly different breeds of “at-home dads,” in my opinion. No doubt, there is an increasing trend of young couples with very young children making the decision to have dad take the role of the at-home caregiver. Mom is the one hunkering down in the workplace to generate the family’s income.

But, within this group exists a subset of unemployed investment bankers, lawyers, and businessmen who have little to no experience running the household. I would not call this subset inept or bumbling. However, the enthusiasm of a new parent combined with the conscious decision to stay at home and raise the kids can make all the difference.

These dads want to stay home – which is awesome.

nycdads

(NYC Dads meet-up)

This group of men really dislike the moniker “Mr. Mom” and the term ‘stay-at-home dad’ or ‘SAHD.’ Personally, I don’t think at-home dads should be overly sensitive to the “Mr. Mom” moniker. As I’ve said before, from time on-end, mothers have performed the role of primary caregiver quite admirably. The image invoked by Michael Keaton’s character in the movie “Mr. Mom” is fading, replaced by the presence of truly engaged and competent at-home dads (see my link to the National At Home Dad Network). At-home dads are now organized and increasingly confident in their chosen role.

My recent link to the WSJ article “Mr. Mom is Dead” does not address the swelling ranks of recently unemployed, middle-aged men with older kids (tweens and teens). It is this segment of ‘at-home dads’ that have a lower comfort-level and enthusiasm in their new-found role of caregiver and household ‘manager.’

header001 2

“Mr. Mom” is not dead, just evolving…

 

 

20130201-102741.jpg

2 thoughts on “Is “Mr. Mom” dead?

  1. “My recent link to the WSJ article “Mr. Mom is Dead” does not address the swelling ranks of recently unemployed, middle-aged men with older kids (tweens and teens). It is this segment of ‘at-home dads’ that have a lower comfort-level and enthusiasm in their new-found role of caregiver and household ‘manager.’”

    I think it is for this group that ending Mr. Mom is more important. For someone who did not choose the role but has had it forced upon them I don’t think it is a healthy message to call them Mr. Mom. If someone is being thrown into a role they are not prepared for why give them the message that you can’t really do it because of your gender? Especially when you know that is wrong.

    And it is not just at-home dads that get labeled Mr. Mom. In a recent video for Yahoo Sports Greg Jennings is asked, “I heard a little bit that you’re a Mr. Mom. That you do a lot of household things?”

    I think his reply was perfect, “I don’t really call it Mr. Mom I just call it being dad.”

    • Dear Chad,

      I guess I’ve been writing with too much sarcasm, because the point of my blog (and future book) is to explore without bias the traditional societal views on gender roles in a (hopefully) humorous and self-mocking way. Labeling is wrong, and both genders need all the support they can get, irrespective of experience and comfort level with the ‘caregiver’ role. After all, it is a tough job…

      And, I agree with you – Jennings response hit the nail right on the head…I’d go one step further, being a caring parent is the real point here.

      The connotations associated with the term “Mr. Mom” are on life support and will soon become a thing of the past as at-home dads become more prevalent in our society. However, I think our conscious and subconcious psyche as a society tends to apply stereotypes and labels to non-traditional concepts in an attempt to process them. Let’s face it, at-home dads are still new enough to have some novelty and, unfortunately, some prejudice. Even with the growing trend of at-home dads, Parent Magazine recently reported that less than 4% of US households have an at-home male caregiver. And, there is still no accounting for how much of this segment is voluntary.

      Societal views on traditional gender roles are developed (and encouraged) at an early age. But, it is time to break the mold and embrace how men can add a unique quality to child-raising (hence the post with attached articles). That said, although the reality of “Mr. Mom” is dying, the self-effacing humor in the way men approach the profession long dominated by the opposite sex should live on…

      We dads have to lighten up a bit and stop judging one another, and I think that is your point. A lot of traditional moms already dominate this territory already…(ouch, but it’s all in the book).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me