As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve experienced judgement. Mainly from other moms. Trust me, I’m well aware I’m no June Cleaver. My house is messy, my kids don’t get baths everyday and I have tons of non-organic food in my house. So when I catch an eye roll or head shaking from another mom, I just rip open a bag of some Frito’s and hand them to my kids as a middle finger to the judgers.
However, stay-at-home dads, although they do the EXACT same thing as us moms, receive a whole other kind of criticism.
I recently learned about the judgement stay at home dads get. I hadn’t realized it, much less even thought about it. But across social media I started reading and seeing things SAHDs were posting about what people have said to them.
“How nice of you to take the kids so you’re wife could have a break!” or “Wait? You don’t work but your wife does?”
At least with other stay-at-home moms, I know they’re being intentionally judgmental. But the kind of judgement SAHDs get is mostly accidental. Yet, still demeaning.
They also receive judgement from their friends. One dad mentioned that his friends ask him “where’s your apron?” or “what’s for dinner?” You see, my friends don’t judge me. They may pity me, but they don’t judge. But I’ve never caught flack for being a caregiver to my kids. So why should a SAHD? As one dad commented, some guys who aren’t SAHDs may think “It isn’t manly to be a child technician.”
I challenge anyone who thinks they have the hardest job in the world to stay with young children 24 hours a day for one week. Guarantee they’re either begging for their old job back or in an asylum somewhere.
A SAHD cares, feeds, bathes, plays, teaches and loves his kids the same way that I do. And for the record, I’m tough, but being a stay at home parent is the hardest, most thankless thing I’ve ever done. So anyone, man or woman, who does it is a badass.
Another issue that one dad said he encounters a lot is that every time he’d speak to his kid’s doctors or teachers, they’d start off every sentence with “tell your wife that…” Even though he was the one speaking to them, they just assume he’s not the caretaker. Another dad told me he dealt with a similar issue that no matter how many times he asked the school to call him first for any reason, they would still call his wife at work first.
Or those unintentional comments from people I stated earlier. A dad mentioned when he takes his kids to a park, other moms helicopter him and his kid. People just assume if a dad has his kid(s) out somewhere, he’s giving mom a break. Meanwhile, he’s probably daydreaming like the rest of us Stay at Homies (see what i did there?) about his kids bedtime and the ice cold, frosty beer in the fridge.
Being a stay-at-home parent is a hard job. But unlike most jobs, there’s no office with coworkers. So most caregivers venture out to various kid-friendly places to interact with other adults. Unfortunately, whether we want to admit it or not, it’s not common for SAHMs and SAHDs to talk while at those places.
Why women don’t feel comfortable walking up to a guy who’s there with his kids:
Don’t believe these are true? They’re actual responses from other SAHMs.
Why SAHDs don’t feel comfortable walking up to a woman who’s there with his kids:
Once again, don’t believe me? These are actual answers from SAHDs.
So who do SAHDs talk to or vent to? According to some, their wives. Others told me that they suffered with depression from feeling like they can’t talk to anyone. And after all the research I did, I can absolutely believe that.
If you’re a SAHD, try connecting to dads online via Twitter or Facebook. Twitter will provide you with a lot of other SAHDs. I included a list of some awesome ones to follow below. Facebook has groups of SAHDs that you can follow. There’s groups that are local and you can meet up with other dads who live near you. Or online groups that you can ask questions and post SAHD war stories. Either way, don’t be alone. Get out and interact with others as best as you can. Depression affects all kinds of people in all different situations. And it’s no joke.
Finally, if we’re being honest, yes, SAHDs aren’t as common as SAHMs. In fact only 16% men in the country are SAHDs. But the numbers are rising. I know I’m going to be a lot more aware when I see guys out and about with their kids. I’ll run the risk of getting my eyes scratched out. I may even start calling myself a SAHP (stay at home parent).
SAHDs are badasses. Their cargo pants and many pockets are filled with various snacks, wipes, pacis and sippy cups. Their White New Balances are covered in juice, sand and mulch. They’re ready to take on the whining, the “watch what I can do” requests and embracing the time they get to spend with their kids.
-Thanks to all the SAHDs that helped me write this blog post by sharing their experiences with me. If you want to follow some funny dads on Twitter, you better follow these guys!
Wanna read more about realizations of a SAHD? Here’s a great article from @PaternityFrat Check it out!
And check out his awesome vintage t-shirt site:
Well done. I knew stay at home dads get a hard time but didn’t realize how isolated they felt. This piece is very well written.
It really was crazy how much I learned writing this. Thanks for checking it out!