Anybody remember that show that came on maybe in the early ’90’s called Dinosaurs? It was actually this family of dinosaurs that had lives like humans. I remember this one scene where the “kid” was on the dad’s back with a pot, hitting him on the head repeatedly, screaming – “Not the mama, not the mama!”.
Since the birth of our daughter back in February, I’ve seen that image in my head on more than one occasion. Why, you may ask? Well, I’m pretty much a stay at home dad. My wife works outside of the home at a full time job; I am a youth minister at a church and am in school as well. However, with my job, I am able to work from home, so I am also able to stay home and take care of our daughter.
Before she was born, I remember people asking who would take care of her after my wife would go back to work. My wife would point to me. Reactions would be mixed. Some would laugh; some would say wonderful; some would just give you this look. I have to admit that I wondered how it would work. I will say, for the record, that it has worked out great – I’ve had a few crazy days, but that’s to be expected, right?!
What I didn’t expect was as time went on some of the comments that I would hear. People have gotten used to seeing me pushing our little girl in her stroller over to the bank to see her mom, or over to the store to get a snack. Two comments in particular have stood out – one came while I was going to the store one day. A lady turned to a gentleman in line as I walked by and said, “you wouldn’t see many dad’s that would do that.” Now, I probably should just take that as a compliment and move on. My question is – why not? Why wouldn’t more dad’s do what I do? I don’t see what I’m doing as something out of the ordinary or anything like that. I see it as something in our family that right now this is our situation and this is what we do. This is our daughter, this is my daughter and I’m supposed to take care of her too. I know there are many other stay at home dads out there that do what I do every day so I don’t see the “big deal” I suppose.
The second comment was by a little old lady – and I didn’t even really hear all of it. The basic effect of it was she was telling someone as I walked by hold my daughter that, “I had been as much of a mom as…” and that was all I heard. What’s that even mean? I’m not her mom! Her mom is her mom. Does she say that because I’ve changed diapers and feed her and carried her around? I am her dad – I have a responsibility in this too.
Why do people generally assume that dads don’t do anything with their children? And if they do they are considered a Mr. Mom? Why can’t they just be a dad? Maybe I am wrong or maybe I just have a crazy, twisted view of things – what are your thoughts?