Posted by: laughs4dads | July 30, 2010

A SAHD, SAHD State of Affairs

Have you heard of S.A.H.D.’s?

The acronym is for “Stay-At-Home-Dad,” and it’s a growing phenomenon, with many, many blogs written by SAHDs who are in desperate need of adult companionship, even if it’s just knowing that grown-ups read their blogs.

Here’s the main thing you need to know about a dad who stays at home with his children: it’s not by choice. Oh, he may talk about how much he enjoys bonding with his child, or how cool it is getting hit on by the moms at the playground, or how being a SAHD has unleashed his creative side by forcing him to come up with ways to keep his child entertained.

BUT HE’S A BIG FAT LIAR.

There is only one reason why SAHDs are a growing phenomenon, and it’s not fathers longing to change more diapers. It’s the economy. If a dad’s wife earns more than he does, or child support would cost more than he could earn, or he has been laid off, he becomes an SAHD.

The problem is that it is simply not in the human male’s genetic make-up to attend Gymboree classes or make cupcakes for nursery school birthday parties. Occasionally? Sure. Every single frigging day? Not so much.

As Exhibit A, here is a paragraph from a blog called Doodaddy, written by an SAHD in San Francisco:

“My job is to fix things. I hope I fixed Fern’s broken heart this morning — she got a prize promise, and got to eat soy crisps in the car as a treat, and I let her drink full-fat milk. (These are big deals to a four-year old, trust me.)”

I don’t know how to put this delicately, so I’ll just come right out and ask the obvious question: How gay does that sound? (I know what you’re thinking, but, despite the fact that he lives in San Francisco, he refers to his mate as “working mom” so I’m going on the assumption that he’s straight, although I realize that’s not necessarily the case.)

Now let me head off any derogatory comments by saying that I have no problems whatsoever with same-sex parents, or gay marriage, or Broadway musicals. I’m just saying that Doodaddy’s masculinity has obviously been compromised, if it hadn’t been already by the time he named his blog.

Some SAHDs, however, go in the opposite direction. For instance, Shannon Carpenter tells prospective SAHDs what to expect:

“First off, get all those ideas of how many projects you can do now that you have all that free time (off your mind). Forget it. Ain’t gonna happen. Because you don’t have free time. In fact, you have less time than you did before. You know why? Because kids love projects. And they love power saws. And they love using the power saws to cut your projects in half. “

Okay, well, compared to this guy, I seem gay. Even compared to his children, I seem gay. I could say something about overcompensating, but if I did, he might come over and beat me up. Or maybe his children would.

At this point, it may surprise you to learn that I was a stay at home dad. That is, I am a dad, and I work out of my house, so I stayed at home. In fact, the reason I worked out of my house is so I could spend more time with my daughter, Casey, while she was growing up, as opposed to when I worked at an ad agency and I was lucky to get home by bed time.  My bed time.

But my lovely wife, Barbara, was home, too, doing real estate stuff. This arrangement meant that I was available if Barbara was out showing houses, but not too available in that I could retreat to my little office whenever Barb was around.

Look, I’m not deriding you SAHDs out there. Yours is a noble undertaking. But, let’s just admit that you’re not ideally suited for it. That’s because evolution has provided women with parenting abilities that no mortal man will ever know. I’m not talking about the obvious ones, like oozing breasts. I’m talking about, for instance, the ability mothers have to suddenly remember childhood songs from their deep pasts, maybe even from previous lives, and receive pleasant smiles when they sing them.

Fathers try to sing the Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and receive blank expressions in return.

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Responses

  1. Oh my man, my man, where do I begin?? I normally stay out of stuff like this but sometimes I can’t help it. You are playing to the stereotype and not to much to actuality.

    Ok, first up, let’s hit the economy argument. It is true that there are more SAHD’s out there now because of the economy but that also ignores the thousands of us that were doing this before the economy went crappola. However, that does not take away from the SAHD’s who were laid off and were lucky enough to discover this life. However we found it, most of us consider ourselves lucky that we did. Because the truth of it is this: if you don’t like being a SAHD, you are not going to be a very good one. It’s a job, just like any other except you get paid in cookies and snotty noses.

    Second, the genitic arguement. Man I love this one. I love this one because it implies that me, as a man, will not know how to work a bandaid or handle one of my kids should they cry or need reassurance. Yup, I’m a man and therefore I can’t nurture. In fact, I can’t do anything but pass my kids off to my wife and her oozing breasts while I go read the Wall Street Journal. The fact of the matter is that most day to day parenting is gender nutrual. We are the ones that assign a gender to it. Cooking is cooking. Whiping snotty noses is whiping snotting noses. Both sexes can actually do it, it does not require a set of ovaries.

    However, I will give you credit, it is not in my particular makeup to attend Gymboree Class or cook cupcakes. So I don’t. Instead I take my children to Civil War Museums and Home Depot. Sure, rolling around a big mat is fun but rolling around a huge field while looking for cannonballs is way cooler, just ask my son. But the point is this, just because we SAHD’s do it different does not make it any better or worse. It’s just different.

    My advice, go hang out with a Dad’s group. They are out there and in fact I will invite you to mine. KCDADS has been around for some time (before the economy) and contains many different types of the SAHD. I would say 99% of us are happy with the decision we made and would make it again in a heartbeat. Serously, check us out:
    http://kcathomedads.blogspot.com/

    Finally, please don’t insult my signing voice. I find that I can pull out the words to Clementine or Itsy Bitsy spider without much thought at all and always get a smile from my kids. But the great part about being a SAHD is that I get to TEACH them to appreciate Piano Man myself.

    • Shannon, of course I’m playing into stereotypes, because I’m really just in this for a chuckle. And, anyway, you might be the exception to the rule, with absolutely terrific all-around parenting skills. As long as you’re not teaching your kids how to spell.

  2. Hilarious post!

    I assume that by the title of your blog that laughs is what you were after no?

    I am new to blogging and have been a SAHD for 7 years and look forward to reading more from all the SAHD’s out there!

  3. Dude, a fairly decent attempt at humor! Yet, your article falls short of making a point, has no real facts and mostly contains your stereotypical opinions. So I take it for what it is…another blog full of useless dribble. You can sit there safely behind your computer and cast your judgement of who or what At-Home Dads are or are not, but you only define yourself and not who “SAHD’s” are, which may be exactly what you wanted to do, I don’t know. I failed to see any point to this article.

    • GratefulDad–In reply to most of your comments, I refer you to the disclaimers in the sidebar of my blog. It has been many years since I’ve had a point of any kind. Regarding stereotypes, I will try not to think that all SAHDs have no sense of humor.


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