by Single Not Desperate
I was talking to one of my male friends the other day about him being a stay at home Dad. He lost his job a while back and his wife has taken over the role of breadwinner in the household.
He was so excited at the prospect of staying at home, lounging on the sofa eating bonbons, and waiting for the little wifey to come home after working her butt off all day. This was going to be a breeze!
His cradle was gently rocked after the first week. Bonbons still sat in the box uneaten and the sofa now has a puke stain on it.
He told me that he has no idea how women have been doing this for decades. He feels so 1950’s. He can’t come and go as he pleases and every trip out of the house is a grand production. Remember to take the car with the car seats, pack sippy cups, but no milk, have enough diapers, toys and puke towels. Park in the shade so the car doesn’t get too hot. And that’s just getting to the desired locati0n.
Once you’re in the store, there’s always a mini meltdown over sugar cereal or a toy that the kid doesn’t need, but WANTS. And forget going anywhere he might want to go like the video store or a sporting goods store. There’s no way he could keep an eye on the kid and shop too. He just doesn’t have the patience.
I asked him if he felt like a caged bird. He said he feels worse.
He said the house is never clean. And he cleans, everyday, all the time. He can’t ever get ahead of the mess. There’s vacuuming, dusting, dishes, trashcans overflowing, sheets to change, beds to make and the laundry piles are astronomical. He can look around and there’s always something that needs to be straightened or changed or wiped off. Vomit and dooky are two things he said he would never get used to and he had never gagged so much in his life.
I smiled and told him to add PMS, cramps and a period to all of that and he might feel more like a woman.
“How do you do all of this?” he asked me. “Do you ever get sick of cleaning and straightening the same thing more than twice in a day? Don’t you miss your freedom? Will this ever get better?”
I knew just how he felt. I had just never given it much thought. Certainly I hadn’t given it as much thought as he had.
Then it occurred to me.
He had thought about this so much because he wasn’t programmed to accept this as his fate. Boys aren’t raised to rear children and clean house. Girls are.
I Googled Stay at Home Dads and it came back with only 678 search results. Stay at Home Moms came back with 2,o4o,000 search results. No wonder he was experiencing culture shock. He was a minority with almost no resources to go to for help.
I couldn’t lie to him about the housework. I confessed that No, the housework would never get any better. But he could make a game out of it or use some cleaning organization skills he could find on websites like RealSimple.com. There would always be piles of laundry and dishes and there would always be a puddle of something disgusting to wipe up. After a while, you set yourself on automatic and it just seems to happen.
The childcare was something, I reminded him, that he should be taking pride in, not dreading. This valuable one on one time he was getting to spend with his daughter was crucial to her development and he should be making the most of it. So what if he loses a little bit of his freedom now! He’s been free all of his life until now and she will be 18 years old and leaving the nest before he can blink his eyes. I told him to soak up every second because they are precious and won’t last forever.
He seemed okay when I left him and his phone calls have been a lot more chipper lately.
I guess wishing a monthly period on him was not nice. Honestly, I think if he had to deal with little cramps and PMS, not to mention the mess it can sometimes be, he might have jumped off the roof of his house.
It’s always amazing to me just how resilient and strong we women are.
So to all of you Stay at Home Dads, my hat is off to you. I hope you find your experience rewarding and memorable. And remember, separate colors from white clothes, if you put milk in the sippy cup, don’t leave it in the hot car and always kiss the booboo after you apply the band-aid.
- Fries (baambooki.wordpress.com)
- My life part 3: accidents (papillonchouette.wordpress.com)
- timmie’s crazy dad said (crazythingsparentssay.failblog.org)
- SuperDad or Dadzilla? (blogs.wsj.com)
- Graduation x 4 (twodimensionalelizabeth.wordpress.com)
- Who’s my DAD (rgeeyah10mie.wordpress.com)
- Back at the homefront…. (familyofgrahams.wordpress.com)
- Help This 2nd Grader Raise funds for Clean Water (angelamaiers.com)
- Many dads get home after children go to bed (newslite.tv)
- By Dads, For Dads (patrickreyes.net)