Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Question: "So, what do you do?"

I don't think a lot of people understand what I do as a stay at home dad.  I also don't think a lot of new stay at home dads understand how to answer this question appropriately.  A lot of this has to do with common misconceptions portrayed by media and culture, and a fear of being honest about what stay at home dads do, as if it were not manly enough to talk about.  So, let me clear things up for you.

I am not your stereotypical dad.  I am a stay at home dad.

I am not defined by my career choice.  I am defined by the quality of life I live, and the kind of daughter that I am raising.

I don't sleep all day.  I am up before the sun when my child starts calling from her room.  And "nap time" is my only time to get things done around the house, and should be renamed "chore time."

I am not Don Draper.  I can be faithful to one woman.

I am no longer married to a corporate entity, except maybe Huggies, Aveeno or Johnson & Johnson.  I am married to my family.

I don't answer to several layers of management.  I only have one person to answer to - my wife.  And that relationship is more of a partnership, than a dictatorship.

I am not tempted by the fruit of another.  I am tempted to put fruit in my pancakes so that my kid will eat them.

I am not Homer Simpson.  My child will love and respect me because I have invested in and disciplined her.

I don't snore a lot because I am a lazy buffoon.  I snore a lot because I am exhausted from investing in my child every day.

I'm not bad at fishing.  I just don't have a lot of time to practice because I am busy coloring and playing kitchen with my daughter.  When she's older, we will both get to practice more often.

I am not incompetent.  You should visit my home sometime.  My wife even says I do a good job.

I am not Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor.  I am obsessed with kitchen gadgets, kid toys, and blog widgets.  But I am a master of every tool in my garage.

I don't love golf.  Why would I want to spend my valuable free time chasing after something that is travelling away from me at a high rate of speed?  I do that all day with my toddler.

I am not dumb.  I choose to speak toddler so that I may better communicate with my daughter and make her laugh.

I don't tinker in the garage.  I tinker with ambient lighting and room temperatures in order to get my child to go to sleep faster.

I am not illiterate.  I read with my daughter every day, and I am a patron in good standing at our local library.

I am not Al Bundy.  My money stays in my savings account, and I am not an ATM machine.  I will teach my kids the value of money, and they will not walk all over me.

I am not dangerous.  I am dangerously in love with my family.  I am dangerously close to never wanting to work at a "real job" again.

I don't get caught up in playground drama.  I just try to keep my kid from breaking her neck.

I am not married to the remote.  I am married to a beautiful, hard-working woman who was smart kind enough to marry me.

I am not Peter Griffin, unless you count the fact that I "married up."  I pay attention to my family.

I don't consider a balanced diet a beer in each hand.  One hand holds the beer, and one is keeping my toddler from grabbing the scissors on the table.

I can change diapers.  In fact, I have changed a lot of them.  I have changed the worst of them.  And I can do it one-handed.

I don't put my kid in front of the TV all day.  We have way too many toys for that.

I am not Archie Bunker.  I will keep my cool, and my children will embrace and respect people of all cultures.

I am not incapable of raising children.  I am doing an adequate job.

I am not alone.  There are over 160,000 of us in the U.S., and I'd dare to say we are having the time of our lives!

And we do get to leave the house occasionally.  I will be attending the At Home Dad Convention in Washington DC this October, and if you are a stay at home dad, you should too!

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  1. That's a great post Matt.

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