I’ve been given the cold shoulder and have felt the sting from the culture war going on with moms. I’ve been judged for my choice of birth location and for breast-feeding, for the diapers we used and my child’s diet, the color of her room, my career, and a million and one other things. Frankly, I just don’t give a poop what anyone has to say about my lifestyle or how my household is run.
But that war has been emerging in dad territory. The Record ran a great article from The Associated Press on Sunday’s A6 regarding the work-home divide and the rifts and snark that come with your choice of how you and your family live as more dads are working part time, from home or not at all. To me, this is absurd and a nonissue. However, some people can be so judgmental and rude that they feel it their duty to be snobby and nosey. Perhaps their lives aren’t interesting enough.
I’ve noticed quite a few dads at the park or library with their kids during the day. I love seeing any parent bond with their children. But I see the judgment or questions from other people, even other men. “Must be nice not having to work today,” I heard a passing man say to a dad pushing his kid on a swing. He probably assumed the dad was on welfare too or just got out of jail. He didn’t even try to get to know this dad.
His wife was going to nursing school during the day and he took a night job so they wouldn’t have to worry about child care. Not that he needed to tell me this or that it mattered. It seemed he wanted to let me know so I wouldn’t think the worst of him. I was thinking though, would it be so bad if he didn’t work at all? It’s none of my business what he does. At least the children are being cared for, and by their own dad for that matter.
Balancing work, home and family is not easy, whether you’re male or female.
For stay-at-home dads, there seems to be jealousy and a demeaning sense of a loss of manhood by male peers. The “Mr. Mom” title is an example in the AP article. Running a household is a full-time job. It’s not like you get hours of lying around in your undies, playing video games and eating doughnuts. Is someone lazy just because they are fortunate enough to not have to work? I’m not talking about abusers of the “system” or anything like that. I’m talking about a dad who can stay home and a mother or partner who chooses to work because she wants to. Are the standards of living requiring a parent to have two to four jobs, or is it a choice? Why do people seem to have mostly negative connotations of the stay-at-home lifestyle? If you have children, shouldn’t you want to take care of them? There is a difference in having children and raising them. Louise Hart is an author and psychologist who once said, “The best thing to spend on your children is your time.”
It’s all about priorities and your own choices. Why condemn someone for living differently? If you’re not happy with your family dynamic, only you can change it.
See how much you’re worth, mom and dad: