At-home Dad = Ghost…and not the kind Demi Moore was into…

It’s kind of funny.  A mom who would normally talk your ear off pretends you don’t exist if she is in the company of one or more of her friends.  And, when I say talk your ear off, I’m talking about situations where you find yourself feverishly inventing an exit strategy.

Some at-home moms feel awkward when it comes to the idea of a man doing what they do.  One-on-one is cool.  But, you can quickly become the ghost in a group settings.

I think this is a major factor behind the formation of so many at-home dad blogs and groups have formed over the past couple of years.  We all need a support structure, especially when it comes to the challenging and often monotonous role of at-home parenting.

I often compare my at-home dads experiences to the movie “Mr. Mom,” which usually infuriates most serious at-home dads.  But, there is one part of the movie that was progressive – Moms playing poker (using coupons instead of cash) and drinking beer with the lone at-home dad in the neighborhood…

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 Now, that’s pretty cool.  I’ve got a big wad of coupons…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Why do I have to empty the garbage?!” my son asks…

I’m stepping up the chore delegation, and this is the response I received.  When I explained that someone has to do it, I was told that I’m more than capable!

Well, so are you my children.  “But, I have homework, after-school activities and ‘stuff’…”

When I went through the litany of ‘stuff’ I do for them, I almost won them over.  Allowance did the rest, of course.

Feedback from a 15-year veteran stay-at-home dad…

When asked to comment on the mistermomblog.com site, this veteran at-home dad had some choice words:

I wonder who is your target audience. I suspect women would not be very interested in the site as they have tons of their own sites and probably are unimpressed by guys doing stuff they have done for ages.

probably not this guy...

probably not this guy…

Well said!  But, we’re all parents stumbling our own way through the child-raising process. Some parents are more accomplished, some parents try hard, and some parents can get very creative.

Which is why, here at mistermomblog.com, we’re very interested in hearing about different approaches and perspectives on parenting.  I know I could use all the help I can get.  And, wtih the merger of tradtional gender roles in the household, navigating through the multi-faceted responsibility of keeping the kids, routines and activities more challenging than ever.

I know ‘m not inventing anything new here. And, I am not claiming to be a guru on managing the household or raising kids. In fact, the whole experience has really opened my eyes and motivated me to help create awareness among the male population about how difficult and challenging it is to be the stay-at-home spouse.

Managing the household, paying bills, and keeping food on the table is really secondary and misses the point.

Our kids and their development is the really important part. How we interact with our children on a daily basis is the focus of this site. To be nurturing, but encourage self-reliance. To be a disciplinarian, but also provide key emotional support when needed.

not like this guy...

not like this guy…

I certainly do not have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have many. But, I think I’m good at making observations and relaying them in written format. It was this notion that inspired me to start writing a book called The Survivors Guide to Being Mr. Mom™.

Admittedly, I started writing to provide an outlet for my frustrations. The experience has taught me to laugh at myself and those around me doing the same thing. There is an entirely different set of rules in the world of the stay-at-home “caregiver.” The politics are fascinating, and reveal the flaws of human nature and personal character as they do throughout the workplace.

The real purpose of the site is two-fold: what everyone participating can learn from each other, and how we can make each other laugh.  No, the two are not mutually exclusive…

When told by a reader that the expression “Mr. Mom” should be dead…

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.   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 <em>is</em> a tough job…

I think our conscious and subconscious 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).

 

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.

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(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.’

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“Mr. Mom” is not dead, just evolving…

 

 

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