During this journey as a stay at home dad– sahd — I have come to learn lots of things about parenting, Moms and Dads. I have come to really appreciate what it means to be a stay at home parent and what they(we) all go through. I used to think that it was easy and relaxing. I used to think that there are so many hours in the day and that there is much more time available to get things done and do some relaxing or whatever. Well, I was wrong. During the last 5 years I have come to learn that many people are also wrong in their views.
I have already documented some of the experiences I have had with both men and women and what I believed to be their disdain or frowning upon of my status as a stay at home dad. This is equal among both men and women, they both still have the age old stereotype of the woman staying home with the kids. If I were not in this situation I would probably feel the same way. It is funny that now I am a staunch defender of women who are home with the kids. Whenever I hear friends or guys I know bad mouthing their wives and acting like they have it so rough going to work I remind them that I feel very strongly that it is much, much, much easier to go to work everyday than to stay home with a child or children. It definitely was for me even with a psychotic police chief that was out to get me fired.
I have to say that although I feel it is much more difficult–primarily mentally as there are only so many kid’s Tv shows, songs, games, coloring books, etc…. that a guy can take until it starts turning the brain to mush– to stay home with the kids I feel I have been blessed to have been able to spend so much time with my daughter. I think it will benefit her later too.
Now, on to a recent situation that is similiar to all of this. I have been quite upset in recent months about Melissa’s work travel schedule. I have always thought that it would be OK if it was like it used to be when we didn’t have any kids and I was working. I didn’t mind her traveling for work. However, that was when the traveling was much less frequent and for much less multiple day travel. Well, I am here to say that even if we didn’t have Emma I would still be perturbed. Having Emma just makes it much more intense since I see how it affects her too. Well, this is not intended to bash Melissa’s job as it has afforded us to avoid sticking Emma in day care and/or have other people raise her most of the time. Melissa is to be commended on her diligent effort to perform as a business executive as well as a Mom. It is not easy for her either. But, the point of this is not to complain or whine but is to point out another example of the sexist views of stay at home dads that is there even among some members of our family and friends.
You see, my complaints to Melissa regarding the traveling have bothered her too and I recently was told that “other people” have told her that if I didn’t like it then she should tell me to get a job. OK, someone who doesn’t know our situation–family as well as financial–could say this and probably be correct. But, those that know our situation have no place to say this as me getting a job(like I am lazy or something?!?!) would not solve anything. Our financial situation coupled with the fact that I would not get a job making anywhere near what Melissa makes would not work for us. The fact that “people” say this is just an example to me of another sexist view of people that the male should be the one working.
Why do I say this is sexist? Well, when is the last time anyone ever heard someone say that about a stay at home mom who complained about her husband’s work travel? No, the woman would get compassion and empathy–statements like “Oh, that is terrible” or “that must be difficult.” Not, “If you don’t like it go get a job.” LOL And, would these same people say this if Melissa and my roles were reversed? No way!
My thought on this is that the people saying this know our situation and how we got here(very involved) and still probably believe that I am living off my wife while enjoying everyday lounging at home watching TV while she slaves everyday at her job. My feeling is that the people who make these statements should look in the mirror before making statements like this. Family is the most important thing to me and I am entitled to make my feelings known about things that affect our family.
Well, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant(This is also a record of my experiences for future use and memories) but it gets old to still experience the sexist–funny for me to be calling anything sexist, I am sure some old girlfriends would be laughing now!–views and opinions of not only men and women strangers but also of men and women family & friends. Future stay at home dads beware of this possibility. Did I say possibility? No, I meant probability……
Now, I need to get a drink and lay out at the pool while my wife works away…….;) Just kidding honey! 🙂