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The SAHD (stay-at-home dad) counterpart – MAWDAHS

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 28-05-2006

RebelDad makes an impassioned argument for elevating the way we describe stay at home dads who look after kids:

So yesterday I was given another reminder that one of these days I should really start a blogroll for MAWDAHs… moms who go to work and are married to stay at home dads. Asha over at ParentHacks.com flagged this post by Mom 101 about her husband. It is a wonderful denunciation of the strange and irritating trend toward referring to male caregivers by female terms (“The Mommy,” “Mr. Mom,” etc.)

I was asked recently what the problem with Mr. Mom is, and Mom 101 nails a good chunk of it. Here’s my take on why it’s a problem:

  • It is unfair to women to “mom”ify the job. Calling a guy “Mr. Mom,” implies mom *should* be the one behind the stroller. That ought to be pretty offensive nowadays.
  • It emphasizes the novelty of at-home fatherhood. A dad at the playground shouldn’t be treated with any more surprise that a female surgeon in the operating room. Why should “Hey that kid’s caretaker is a *man*!” be any less offensive than “Hey that doctor/lawyer/exec is a *woman*!”?
  • It glosses over the different skills that mothers and fathers bring to the table. Kyle Pruett at Yale has made a career of noting that men and women generally parent differently, and that kids are best served by both styles of play. Suggesting that a dad is “mothering” shortchanges dads by ignoring the unique advantages of what Pruett calls “Fatherneed.” (And it shortchanges moms by suggesting that dads can provide traits that are generally unique to moms.)
  • It reminds everyone of Jack Butler, Michael Keaton’s character in Mr. Mom. I know that the movie comes to a sweet end, where Jack becomes a good dad, etc. etc. But it is remembered in the collective unconscious as a movie about a do-nothing father who can’t iron and who drinks beer in the morning. I could do without those images being attached to dads taking care of their kids.

12 comments
B
B

I have a 10 month and a 2 1/2 year old. Both of my children have special needs. I am not done with a degree and have a ways to go. I have not been able to find a permanent job. Even before the children were born. (I am trying to work at night, virtual assistant job, or weekends.) My wife and I tried daycare and that was a disaster. I will not be able to go back to work until our children go to school. I am 41 years old. I don't have any special skills other than clerical. Which getting jobs in the clerical field and being male is difficult and getting harder as I get older. Does anyone have any suggestions for someone in my situation? Is there any hope of finding work after my children go to school? Signed, the unemployed for 10 years, stay at home dad who will be about 47 years old when I can start looking for a job outside the home. P.S. I don't have any special skills.

Jay
Jay

Aude aliquid dignum. {Dare something worthy.}

Arthur
Arthur

B I guess the most important thing at the moment is whether or not your family situation is a struggle or a blessing. There's nothing more important in a childs life than being raised by a parent. At least for the first five years of their life. Now, before my wife and I decided to start a family, we didn't think too much about who was going to look after the kids after that inititial year. My mother in law helped out with our first child, and when she could continue for health reasons, I made changes in my work to allow our children to remain at home. I switched my hours from working 5:00 AM - 2:30 PM, to working 3:30 PM - 12:00 AM, to working from Home 20 hours per week, to eventually quitting. Not every situation is the same. However, there is one constant, the kids. We get compliments on our kids behavior constantly. Their manners, the demeanor, and their genuine kindness to others. I would never change the decision I made. I'd do it again in an instant. In fact, I'm still doing it. My son is in Kindergarten at the moment, and my daughter is in grade 2. When my son heads into grade 1 this September, I'll decide then what I am going to do. I was a pencil pusher as well, and am not really looking forward to heading back to that line of work. While looking after my children for the last two years, I developed a passion for photography and have gotten good enough that our local community club has requested I do the team photos at this upcoming soccer season. I coach soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter. I've done some freelance photography and wrote a couple of sports related articles, that were published in a local paper. B, at 41, I have no intention of limiting myself this Fall. I just have to decide what I'm going to do, and then do it! Chin up! Life doesn't end at 47. Life ends once you've given up, and I have no intention of giving up. Cheers Arthur

karl
karl

I'm been trying to get back into the workforce after 17 yrs. of being a Muti-integrated Resource Manager of Organized Mayhem (MRMOM) for short. I was and still am a Director of Ambiguous Diversification, don't know what it means, but that's the point.

Adam
Adam

I just found a group of Dads close by to bond with. They are called Dads Provide.

Irwin
Irwin

Sorry to hear that, B. There are lots of options availabe online so that you can stay with your kid and do a job by working from the internet. If that doesn't work for you, you could try some other options like a part-time job, which will keep getting the money in. You could learn so much from the internet that you can mention in your resume. I don't know much clerical jobs, but there may be some software or some technology or technique that can be learned on the net. It requires dedication. Nobody is ever too old to learn a new skill. P.S. Nobody really has special skills. We all project that we do.

gordon
gordon

I would like to help both s.a.h. mom's & dads to earn additional income with a brand new global business opportunity in GOLD; chk out the link at myhelpinghandup dot com sign up is free & refered by: Gordon Barke

TC
TC

I've been a stay at home dad for 15 years. I have a 15 yr old daughter and 12 year old son, I was a SAHD before anyone knew what it was. I was a driving force behind getting changing tables in men's bathrooms because I was tired of changing my daughter on a urin filled floor. It's offensive to me to view SAHD as caregivers when if it's the mom, they are considered parenting, but a dad is a caregiver. It's also offensive to call SAHD "Mr. Mom" because it infers that men are just acting like a mom and have no clue what they're doing. I changed diapers, I was the first to hold my daughter when she was born, I took my daughter to the bus stop and watched her get on, I sat in on her classes, I take her to doctor apt and give her dad talks about relationships, talk to her about her relationship with God, and her career interests, friends and making good choices and how to be a good, young woman. After all that I feel as though my job as a dad and man in our society makes me like I am worthless because I don't make $50,000./yr. I heard it on TV by economists and other financial people, if you’re a man without a job...your a bum but if your a woman, it's perfectly normal to and your not expected to have a job. What kind of load of crap is this? While I'm on my soap box, why are men expected to pay child support and not women? It seems like everything in society has changed but this. When a woman gives birth, more times than not they don't have any more clue how to nurse or change a diaper than a man, but we figure it out, it's just that the woman get's credit and the man not so much. Why in this day and age does a woman not pay child support to the father, when their is a divorce, why is it 99.9% the man? In our economy, many thousands of dads have lost their jobs and face jail, loss of his license for not paying, but no one cares where he get's his next meal. This is just outrageous. I advocate for men & dads in a woman's world.

TC
TC

In addition to my other post I'd like to also say, that I had no family to help me with caring for our two kids. My wife had family but they acted as if they were intruding just to come visit. When our kids where born, the grandparents acted as if they needed permission to visit in the hospital, we wanted family to be around us and support us, to be traditional grandparents and have other extended family want to see our kids but sadly, hardly anyone came to visit or support us in any way. We could not afford child care and I was on my own to be a stay at home dad and have never recieved validation from anyone, from my own brother to my wifes side of the family. It's been a big struggle. But in the end I've made a positive difference in my kids lives. At least I've tried.

Corey
Corey

I have 2 kids ages 3 and 7. My wife and I have talked about me becoming a SAHD. My wife is the better bread winner and it just makes sense. At this time whenever there are appointments or sicknesses we have the debate of iether who rushes home or who stays home. It seems like life is constantly in rush mode. Having a parent at home would eleviate most of the rushing. Also, being quite competent at taking care of the home, i'd be able to knock out all chores and shopping during the weekdays leaving knights and weekends for activities and or family time. There will always be people to judge others unfairly but as long as the kids and wife are happy...WHO CARES. I am 46. I'd rather work for my family than Mr. Slate or Mr. Cogswell :)

chris
chris

I have been a sahd for about four years now. At first I got laid off from a great job, then some old military injuries came back to haunt me and now I am physically unable to work. I am so glad that I have found other men that also stay at home. It gets lonely here on the homefront if you are a man. The school receptionist is about the only one who does not look at me funny as I am the one handling all the childrens affairs. My wife and I recently adopted two little boys, during the adoptian process one agency that we had to deal with was openly hostile towards me and sweet as pie to my wife. So glad there are more men out there also staying at home.

Erich
Erich

As a SAHD who is married to a career woman, I have gone through the whole Mr. Mom thing with my wife. It was hard to get her to understand that I am going to do things diffreently than she did when she was at home. After 3 years she has finally given up and is letting me do everything. We are happier and she doesn't have anything to do when she gets home except be with the kids. That transition from me being the bread winner to here being the bread winner was a difficult one but we got through it and our kids are the happier for it. Thanks for reading...and Happy Fatherhood! E