There is much whining going on in the media among Stay at Home Dads (SAHDs) in the past few months. Yes, I said whining and I am tired of it. Know that I love dads and SAHDs alike. I have the utmost respect for a man who puts his family before himself and yearns to be involved in his children's daily lives. I love reading blogs from dads. I love networking with SAHDs. After all, we are in the trenches together. However, I am tired of hearing the constant complaints of 'I get no respect from adults', 'I'm embarrassed to say I'm a SAHD in public', 'Moms won't let me into their click', 'I can't get a job because my resume has that missing time line' or 'I'm tired of people thinking I'm a lazy, no good gigolo'.
Let me let you in on a little secret fellas. I have been a Stay at Home Mom for 16 yrs and have experienced everything in that list of complaints personally. It's not because you are a man, it's because the very important job you have chosen to do doesn't come with a corner office and business cards. It says more about you that you have the priorities in life straight than an Armani suit does.
I am the traditional homemaker from the 1950's, sans high heels, a spotless house and dinner on the table when Mr. Weasel comes home. I have been raising my family for 16 yrs. Some days are great. Some days I could pull my hair out. Some days I lose it. Some are depressing and some fill me with a pride and joy that I could not find in any other line of work.
I occasionally go to work functions with Mr. W. People always ask in conversation "What do you do?", then proceed with the look and "Oh, you have your hands full" in a very condescending tone. Much the same way they did when they find out that we have 6 children and assume I am just a human incubator. Once I was able to feel proud of what I do and state with pride that I am the mother of 6, not only did the looks no longer bother me, but they soon stopped. My confidence level affected the way people perceived me.
There are moms who won't let me in their click either. These are the park moms with designer strollers and purses that cost my mortgage payment. These are the hyper-moms that take infants to the library for story time and not just because they have an older toddler that could actually benefit. These are the moms who only dress their toddlers from the J. Crew catalog and refuse to let them play in the dirt.
Instead, go for a walk in your neighborhood and find the mom who is playing in the yard with the kids and the sprinkler. The mom who is wearing jean shorts and a koolaid stained t-shirt. She's the mom you really want to network with.
You have interests and accomplishments. You have hobbies and skills. Don't let anyone, including a prospective employer bring you down to the least common denominator of a one faceted moniker of SAHD.
I too have been looking for part time work to help make ends meet. I am willing to wait tables, bag groceries or say 'do you want fries with that'. However, after 16 years at home and a tight economy, I am finding that because I have children I am losing out to 16 year old kids for these simplistic positions. Being a mother, they fear my calling out sick every time one of my kids has a runny nose. So be it. I will find my own niche and my own way if I just keep pushing and continue to have confidence in myself and my abilities. I can't afford to lose self esteem to any establishment that fails to see my worth.
You earn your keep the same as any other working Joe out there. Your job is vital an important to the well being of your family. You are raising children and caring for their needs. You are keeping your homes running as smoothly as is possible and you are building relationships that are more valuable than any paycheck. You are raising the next generation of adults. It only pays in kisses but it is the core job of your family. Anyone who has done the job knows that there is nothing lazy about it.
I have had many people, including my own brother, believe that I am a freeloader and doing the bon bon thing. I know to chalk these people up as being idiots. I work. I work hard. I just work out of love for my family and not a paycheck. You and I alike have sacrificed paychecks and luxuries to do this important job. Don't let the opinion of an idiot diminish you.
Now it's time to man up, quit your whining and start networking with moms like me and some other stay at home dads who do it with style, class and never any whining. Hold your head up high. Be proud of what you do and click these links.
Nuclear Family Warhead
Big Bad Daddy Rant - Who hasn't posted in a while and needs to be poked.
Clark Kent's Lunchbox
Real Men Drive Mini-Vans