I’ve been a child enthusiast my whole life, (I’m 33) and I’m lucky enough to now own two of my own, which (of course) gratuates me to “Child Expert”. As such, I think it behooves me to share some of my gathered wisdom with the throng of unidentified passerby’s on this wide and dangerous information highway.
First. Being a dad is easy. Easier than being a mom. It is. Birth.
Wait, that was too easy right? “That couldn’t be the only thing that this dumb-dumb had to say about why being a stay-at-home dad was easier could it?” “Wait, why is he typing out what I’m thinking right now?”
I’ll tell you why! I’m just that smart.
Listen if child birth was the only separator between men and women and the ease of child care then… well I don’t know what that would be like, but it wouldn’t make for a very interesting or long conversation so I’m going to move on.
Item 1: Dad’s are Failed Moms
My wife is proud to correct me all the time, which is good because I need a good laugh sometimes. See the thing is, she doesn’t realize that being utterly convinced of your spouse’s stupidity doesn’t actually mean he IS stupid. If that kind of logic prevailed think of the idiotic things we’d believe were true!
I’ve discovered that my wife isn’t the only one who believes this though. Case in point:
I play on a soccer team. My team is in a co-ed recreational league that plays once a week (Thursday nights for you knuckle-heads that require details that aren’t really pertinent to a topic but make for a more detailed and fascinating read). I’m a very important part of my soccer team. Sometimes I score goals. In case you missed it, that’s my important contribution. If I’m not there then other people will have to score goals, and why add to their already indomitable work-load?
I took my then year-old son, the puker, the screamer, the perpetual teether, the reflux regurgitator to the game with me while my wife was on some back-water work trip to Ireland. Who even knows where that is? What’s that, a one-year old doesn’t have reflux? If only…
- “What?!” says my wife on the phone.
- “Yeah. He was fine, I brought yogurt.”
- “Canadian yoghurt, or american?”
- “What does that matter?”
- “The spelling”
- “This isn’t really how the conversation went was it?”
- “Whatever, you’re still reading”
- “Who looked after him when you were on the field?”
- “There were like two girl subs that day, they were all over it.”
- “And they weren’t irrate with you?”
- “Why would they be irate?”
- “Because if a woman brings her child to a game and makes other women look after them, especially if they don’t have kids of their own, I have to hear all the nasty things they say about her behind her back.”
- “Oh. That sucks.”
On minor reflection I realized that the difference was; men are expected to make radically selfish and ignorant decisions and women feel sorry for them. Which is laughable, but at the same time incredibly useful.
Score 1 point for the Stay-at-home Dads.
Item 2: Stay at Home Dads should NOT be Left Alone With Kids
There’s so much fear in this day and age. Fear that President “A” will get elected, or fear that President “A” will NOT get elected. Fear that your lightly used boxer-shorts will bring back that jock-itch you finally got cleared up. Fear that right now someone is watching you read this website from over your shoulder… (did you look?)
As a middle-school teacher I’ve encountered a lot of fear associated with men –and in a lot of ways it is justified. There is a solid and long-standing track record of men who have interfered with or in some way abused children. Since we can’t control what we can’t see or don’t know about then we tend to shy away from situations that put our children in that place.
The women on my street (who a large proportion of are stay-at-home moms) are more than happy to have my sons play over at their house, even if they’ve got two or three kids they’ve already been looking after all day. Now, you’re probably smarter than I’ve led you to believe you are, so you can draw some conclusions on why that happens– they feel sorry for the incapable father that seems to appear only to bring the garbage out, mow the lawn in a pair of joggers, and make the extended walk to the mail box.
Consequently, the women on my cul-de-sac (that’s Canadian for ‘cul-de-sac’) are disproportionately reasonable in their frequency and duration of play-date scheduling. Therefore, I must assume that my boys are receiving adequate care and attention while I enjoy a quick afternoon snooze on the Chesterfield. (There I said I’d use Chesterfield correctly in a sentence and I did… take that Mike Jones). After all, they come home tired, but happy, and I needs but to prepare a meal and wash their faces.
2 Points for the ease of Stay-at-home Dad.
Point 3: Men do Things That are Manly
Why must men always want to do things that are manly? Especially at times when their manliness is compromised by sickness? Like even at 33, why do I still play soccer when I’m injured? Why do I stay up too late on a night I know I’ll be up early the next day? Why do I watch women’s beach-volleyball? These are all important questions, but the most important one is: why do I let my kids do dangerous things?!
I have an easy answer for this that was inspired by another important masculinely influenced male called Gever Tulley. You may enjoy this brief but important service announcement however, I will summarize and then let you go back to sleep – Let your kids do dangerous things:
Men like to learn, and we learn best when we’ve lived through our mistakes.
I’m raising two young men, and quite frankly I’m confident that men have a much higher tolerance for watching their children fall from their bikes, scrape their knees, hit their heads, or play with knives and guns, than their competent but Y chromosome inhibited counterparts. Not because we’re genetically deficient but because we’ve already lived through all that once, so we’re really keenly aware of the boundaries and limitations of a long-board and a boulevard.
3 points to the Stay-at-home Dads
But remember kids: who’s competing?
Finally: The Wisdom
The point of all this is so that you, oh wretched father who is being supported by a hard-working wife while you cook, clean, and hit the gym to maintain your manly physique… so that you will understand that there is no manner of wisdom in exclaiming “this is easy, I don’t know what you were complaining about” after taking care of your kids for a while.