Being a stay-at-home dad doesn’t mean I get invited into the Moms Club.
Moms are great. They do so much. They put up with so much. Yet they are constantly being judged by others – especially by other moms.
Working moms often feel guilty for pursuing their career as if it is at odds with being able to be a good mom or loving their children properly. They are scoffed at and judged by others all the time. In a society where paternalistic and complementarian views of household roles are still held strongly in many pockets of our culture, these women are pressured on nearly every front – both at home and at work.
Stay-at-home moms are pressured in other ways. Some women make the hard decision to give up the career path they were on to raise a family (and yet for some, that decision is not so hard – everyone is different). But stay-at-home moms are judged and guilt tripped all the time as well. Some feel guilty for even being able to be a “SAHM,” being able to rely on a single income for their family. That’s definitely not possible for many families across this country.
SAHM’s have most definitely always experienced varying levels of pressures and meeting certain expectations of what it means to be a good wife, a good mom, a proper woman, etc. And the pressures of mom’s comparing themselves to one another have probably existed since the dawn of time. But in an age of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest feeds it’s really easy to compare and contrast and feel that they are failing.
And yes, maybe there are some moms out there that are as neat and tidy and organized and perfect as they make it look like on their social media platforms. I don’t doubt that there are some moms out there that have their lives together that much. And good for them, but that definitely is not the norm. No way.
The pressure moms feel, both the ones that stay at home, and the ones that work either full-time or part-time, comes both from themselves and from others. There will always be people who disagree with your life decisions for some reason or another. It is impossible to please all the people all the time, yet that’s the pressure that is put upon moms all the time, and women in general.
So in a world where we are all connected and can have windows into each other’s lives via social media, whether accurate or not, there have been many mom’s who have said enough is enough. In the pressure cooker of life, with the ingredients of a parenthood, social media, and great and easy publishing tools, a mom-blog culture has emerged. Mom blogs have popped up all over the place. And most of the time they are awesome. They are honest, raw, validating to other moms, and inspirational. Yes, sometimes they do add to the pressures that moms already feel, but that doesn’t seem to usually be the case.
Blogs are a way for these women to express themselves in a real vulnerable way, a way to identify with other moms who are like them, and encourage others on their journey of parenthood.
I’m glad for those communities and it’s great to see women opening up about their experiences and their journeys. And in many ways these blogs have become more and more a safe place for women and moms to express themselves and not be judged. Yes, there will always be trolls, but overall these have been places where real feelings are shared and real connection is made. Pretty neat.
And as a stay-at-home dad I’m starting to get a bit jealous.
Believe me, I totally understand and appreciate why it is limited to stay-at-home moms. I understand why it is a safe place for them. Although there is an overlap in experience for me as a stay-at-home dad, their experiences are still vastly different than mine. I just wish that there were more spaces like that for dads – or for parents in general. They seem to be few and far between.
Blogs are great. I love reading them. But about 95% of the blogs I read are from moms.
I’m inspired by them. They are one big reason why I have committed recently to writing more consistently on this blog – to be honest about my experience and be me, in both the good and bad, in life’s messiness and in its beauty.
As I read these mom blogs I often feel the mix of being an insider and an outsider. Sometimes I feel like a spy. Sometimes I think things like this person actually gets me!
Yet, as a man my presence is usually not welcome initially. I am viewed with caution. Whether that’s on the playground or online. Just because I’m a stay-at-home dad doesn’t mean I automatically understand what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom. And most of the times that I have been able to temporarily enter into a mom squad at the playground or wherever, it’s usually just them venting/complaining about their spouses and their lack of help with the kids or the house. Not all that exciting. So maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing.
Anyway, I haven’t found many men out there like me. Dad’s who stay home and who also want to talk about their experiences of being a SAHD. Maybe I’m not running in the right circles. Maybe I haven’t found that hidden place on the internet yet where there’s like a whole gathering of people like me.
Oh well. I’ll continue on blogging here from my experience. And keep on doing my thang…