There’s a thing over at USA Today that claims only 159,000 men in this country are full-time caregivers for their children, which would make me part of a very small minority.
What kind of ticks me off about that little snippet is the attached poll. The question is “How would you describe stay-at-home-fathers”, and the choices are as follows:
a.) Just call them “Mr. Mom”
b.) Have strong family values
c.) Think it will be easy
d.) Give men a bad name
e.) No opinion
When I read the article a little while ago, 12% of respondents said that stay-at-home dads “think it will be easy”, 9% thought that guys like me “give men a bad name”, and 20% think you should just call us “Mr. Mom.”
If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that “Mr. Mom” shit, I could have the minivan gold-plated and fitted with ermine fur seats and ivory ashtrays. Folks, that’s not a compliment. Mr. Mom was a crappy movie, just a bag full of cliches and misandry. Oh, look, Dad doesn’t know how to change a diaper! Oh, no, the washing machine is going nuts on him! Check out his fight with the vacuum cleaner! That’s hilarious!
We “think it will be easy”? Hell, no. I never expected stay-at-home parenting to be all about sitting on the couch and eating Twizzlers, and three and a half years and two children later, I can tell you that this is the hardest, most demanding job I’ve ever done in my life…and my professional resume includes four years in the army, a year as a loading monkey at a trucking company, and two years as a bagger and stacker at a fertilizer company. I’ve been working twelve-hour days for three and a half years straight, without a single day off, and I’ve been on call the rest of the time. Full-time parenting can be called many things, but “easy” is not among them.
And what the hell is up with the idea that I “give men a bad name”? How exactly do I damage the reputation of males everywhere by personally making sure my kids are fed, clean, safe, entertained, and happy? Is it because I’m supposed to bring home the bacon, and because changing poopy diapers and reading “Goodnight Moon” are female responsibilities?
Christ on a moped. I’m starting to think that child care really is women’s work, because most men simply couldn’t hack it. Have you ever stopped to think about how much your stay-at-home spouse actually does all day, especially if you have multiple small kids?
And the next guy who calls me “Mr. Mom” and looks at me like it’s funny and original will need to spend a week on the couch with Mr. Green Giant to cool the swelling in his balls, I swear.