It’s 2015, so maybe we can start getting used to the fact that men can be primary caregivers too.
The world has changed in the seven years since I resigned from my job to become a stay-at-home dad to a pair of young girls. But one thing hasn’t changed: I still hear inane remarks from former colleagues, Facebook friends, family members, and random strangers while out anywhere we take our kids during the weekday.
Here’s a sampling of some of the most egregious comments I’ve heard over the years from people who are evidently still living in Mary Poppins’s England, where uninvolved dads like Mr. Banks are served their slippers and sherry after a day of work before patting their kids on the head to send them off to bed.
1. “It must be nice not to work.”
That’s probably true, but I wouldn’t know. I have a demanding and rather important job. My title is “Dad.” The hours are long and unlike in most jobs, I don’t have the luxury of leaving my work “at the office.”
2. “Are you looking for a job?”
No, I’m not currently looking for a job. I’ve got one and it’s awesome even if my coworkers don’t always file their TPS reports on time.
3. “Hey, you’re just like Mr. Mom!”
I’m not nearly as funny as Michael Keaton, but just like the world’s most famous Mr. Mom, I also don’t know if the electrical wiring should be 220 or 221. The problem is that the Mr. Mom moniker wrongly assumes that raising a child is a mom’s job, and that’s every bit as preposterous as calling a working mom “Mr. Dad.”
4. “Is your wife pissed off that you are the at-home parent?”
Yes, I’m in the doghouse right now because I just sprung this on her the other day, totally out of the blue: “Ha, I’m staying home and you’re keeping your job! Nana nana boo boo!” No, obviously we came to this decision together, because she’s great at her corporate day job and, because I’m my mother’s son, I’m pretty darn good at mine.
5. “What do you charge to babysit your own kid?”
It’s called parenting, not babysitting. But for your bratty kid … you can’t afford me.
6. “Seriously, you change diapers?”
Ah, I knew I was forgetting something!
Yeah, I can change a diaper, make a funny quip on Twitter, and have a pork shoulder braising in craft root beer in the crock pot all at the same time. Amazing, I know.
7. “Wow, you’re Superman!”
Nope. I love my kids and I’m supremely grateful for the opportunity to be their parent at home. It’s a 100-percent super arrangement, but there’s nothing inherently super about me for doing it.
8. “What do you do all day?”
Oh, I dunno: laundry, cooking, cleaning, puzzles, playing catch, napping, singing, laughing, telling stories, reading books, snuggling, dancing. That’s just the morning. What do you do all day?
9. “You must be so bored.”
I used to be bored out of my mind, what with all those useless meetings, spreadsheet formulas, and monthly reports the client demanded but never bothered to open. Being a stay-at-home dad of two imaginative kids means never having to be bored. They are a constant source of entertainment, for each other and for me.
10. “I wish I was rich enough to stay at home.”
Yeah, you and me both. Hey, I’m just spitballing here, but maybe we made sacrifices in preparation for me becoming a stay-at-home dad, made sound financial choices, didn’t buy a house we couldn’t afford, and still don’t rush out to acquire every new gadget the day it comes out, because we think the experience of having one parent at home with the kids is more important than accumulating more and more stuff.