It’s interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them that I am a stay-at-home dad. One time when I was getting my haircut the woman cutting my hair asked what I do. I told her that I was a stay-at-home dad.
“Oh! Is your child waiting for you in the car?!” She said with a bit of a panic. (Never a good thing for someone cutting your hair).
“No. My child is at home with his mom for the moment,” I replied.
“Oh, ok. Good. I was worried there for a minute.”
Do you think she would have asked that same question to a stay-at-home mom? I highly doubt it.
NPR recently aired a short segment on stay-at-home dads that I thought was pretty interesting.
Hurray to challenging traditional gender roles. Guys can be nurturing, you know. They can stay home and take care of kids just like women can. And even though Sarah is an incredible mother, I know that she is also an incredible nurse. I will support her in every business endeavor she feels that she should seek. Women can be the breadwinners, too.
We should think through what society has labeled as what is appropriate for a man and what is appropriate for a women. Why are things the way they are? Is it simply tradition? Is it even a good tradition? Women get paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes at that same job. That’s been pretty traditional ever since women have been in the work force. Should we keep that, too?
Absolutely not. We need to think through what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman much more that we do. It’s amazing how Micah (my eighth month old) is already being taught what it means to be a boy versus being a girl. Just yesterday when we were outside at a friend’s place for a BBQ he was crawling and face planted into the dirt. Everyone just laughed and said, “Yup. He’s all boy!” What does that even mean?
What I do know is that as I am becoming more and more aware of the expectations that are put on me as a man, I am also learning the expectations that I am putting on my son to live into our ideals of what it means to be a man. Even if Micah cannot talk yet, I tell him how I am feeling. I tell him about my emotions because, you know, men have those things, too.
Anyway. Listen to NPR’s segment. It’s interesting.