5 Ways Being an At-Home Dad is Supposedly Ruining My Kids - Guest Post | Ask Your Dad Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Ways Being an At-Home Dad is Supposedly Ruining My Kids - Guest Post

Hi everyone! John here. Last week I wrote a snark-filled piece about how sending our kids to daycare is destroying them. It really seemed to hit home with a lot of you. A few of my stay-at-home-parent readers commented that they also feel guilt being thrown their way for not sending their kids to daycare, and I had to agree. The poo flings both ways. When poo is flung, it is hard to control the direction. So no more flinging poo! An thus the poo flinging wars were ended. The end. 

Ha ha, like anyone listens to me.

Anyway, in the spirit of fairness, I asked my good friend, and SAHD, Eric Jefferson of Dad On the Run to write a list from the other side. He is a wonderful writer and an even wonderfuler friend. After reading his piece, be sure to check out his dad blog, follow him on Twitter, and Facebook.

Eric Jefferson of Dad on the Run


5 Ways Being an At-Home Dad is Supposedly Ruining My Kids


I “retired” from work when my daughter was born over 5 and a half years ago and now have my son (age 2) in the mix as well. Every once in a while I stumble across an article or a conversation where folks are talking about how horrible it is that some kids are stuck home with a father and what damage I must be doing to my children, my family, my marriage and my earning potential. There is a lot of guilt out there to roll around in. If my wife and I really prioritized our kids we should be able to figure something out so she can stay home and I go to work, you know, the way nature intended. It’s really the best gift we could give to our kids and if we love them we should really consider it. They are only going to be kids once, and if we didn't plan on raising our kids the traditional way, why did we have them in the first place?

Seriously, these are things I have heard… or read. The Internet is full of people who think they know things.

The irony in that last sentence aside, here’s the thing: My wife was consulting and traveling 4 days a week while I worked full-time as VP of Operations with an investigative firm before J Bean, my daughter, was born and that didn't seem like a great way of carrying on with children. In the end, an at-home dad arrangement made the most sense for us so we could all be together the most and still maintain the best income. Despite the obvious fact that non-conforming gender roles could ruin our children, we still selfishly decided to give it a go. Sorry Internet. Sorry kids. I guess we fail.

Here are 5 ways the SAHD (stay-at home dad) arrangement is supposedly ruining our children...


1. The house is a wreck.  


Story after story indicates that fathers, even when we stay home, do less than our share of chores. To hear the media tell it, stay home fathers must let kids run around in diapers (the same one all day) or buck naked amidst the pigsty we call home. Oddly, from the inside looking out, I feel that I keep a similar home to most of the at-home mothers I know. Meaning, the house is a complete disaster until 5 minutes before announced visitors arrive and I give a final push before mom gets home when the tyrants allow for it. Both feats are only achieved when I plop the kids in front of the TV with a snack while I wipe and vacuum like the Tasmanian devil on crack. It seems I’m always cleaning up, but the work of doing so with two children is like that of a windshield wiper in a monsoon… as soon as I do it, another mess appears. Clean the kitchen, cook a meal and watch the salad shooters I call offspring spray down the breakfast nook with a fresh layer of oatmeal and strawberries. Fun fact: Oatmeal can easily double as an industrial adhesive.

I do have to admit, my wife would probably keep a cleaner house than I do were she home with the children. However, I have my doubts she would also keep up the lawn, the cat litter, the garbage, the pool and the vehicle. In the end, I like to think that a father’s house may be different, but not necessarily worse than a mother’s. After all, I’m raising children, not trying to make the cover of Southern Living. What I lack in gleaming countertops, I make up for with awesome science projects, home-made dollhouses and hand to hand combat training. 


2. They are always sick (perhaps this is a function of #1?)


There is rarely a time that my kids’ noses aren't running, and at least once a year one of them will begin projectile vomiting which isn’t nearly as fun as paintball, but makes just as big of a mess. Having sick kids means that my wife and I are also often sick. I don’t get it. This is supposed to be a special torture relegated to those selfish working-parents like John and Stevie of Ask Your Dad Blog. 

On one hand, maybe I should keep the kids and the house tidier; on the other hand, a quick leading-question Google search to affirm that my way of parenting is the best brought back this and this. Basically, my “research” shows that if you keep the house cluttered your kids will be more creative and if you let them play in the mud, they’ll be healthier and better able to fend off the super-human Nazi’s (aka: children of working parents) when they get to actual school.


3. An at-home dad will foster gender confusion 


Despite my best attempts at keeping the house dirty for the aforementioned benefits, I occasionally do laundry, dance with a vacuum or scrub enough dishes to unbury the Playstation. During those rare moments, my children are learning a skewed vision of gender roles, and who knows what type of damage this could be causing! My daughter may decide that she wants to be like her Mom and travel the globe as a successful business person  or perhaps she’ll choose a more domestic role, I just hope she decides based on what is best for herself and/or her family rather than what society deems appropiate. My son may become a nurse, or a politician (please, please don’t let him be a politician), or an at-home dad and that’s OK with me. He might decide that making money isn’t his primary “manly” duty! The point is that at-home dads are confusing the Hell out of matters. There are jobs for women and there are jobs for men, period. A fact I’m reminded of everyday through infuriating articles on the interwebs and the awkward facial expressions of some when they learn of my chosen occupation. 

Truth is the whole situation of being an SAHD makes me hyper-aware of gender boxing and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held up the drive-thru under the golden arches as I informed the employee through a scratchy intercom that there is no such thing as a “girl toy” or a “boy toy.” Well, actually I’ve heard “boy toy” used legitimately before, but it’s not something you order off the value menu. This discussion is usually followed by me ordering a pink spider-man toy for my daughter at her request, and something with wheels for my son but that’s not the point! Or maybe it is. In theory, I’m raising androgynous children and in the process I’m ruining their lives. 


4. Our decision will bring financial ruin.


“…dads who left work for even a short period of time to cater to domestic matters earned lower evaluations and more negative performance ratings at work than women who opted out.” (Source: This ridiculous article that came up when I Googled, “What is going to piss me off today?”) 

Some might think that making it to executive level in your career, taking several years off to raise your children and turning down job offers year after year is not a terrible predicament to be in professionally and that there are benefits to having a parent at home. Others would point out that is nonsensical crazy talk. I could have stayed in the workforce and challenged Warren Buffett for his spot on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America. Instead, I’m blowing out flip-flops at the beach with my kids and making cheeseburgers in paradise like Jimmy Buffett. Meanwhile, their educational futures are at stake, not to mention a convertible at age 16! My guilt is mounting… or it would be if our arrangement had not allowed my wife to focus and excel in her own career surpassing with one job what we used to make with two. Note to my children: There still won’t be a convertible. 


5. Children of an at-home dad will never make friends. 


Kids who stay home with dad won’t know how to talk to, much less play with, other children without asking them creepy things about gender stereotypes or the best order to watch Star Wars. (Episode One first? I can’t even look at you.) At-home dads will raise socially awkward children who may very well give up on the whole “school” thing by age 6 and move to deep into the Everglades where they will survive on a diet of crawfish, hand-caught water moccasins, and Beanee Weenees. Those little hermits might go a step further and run around in loin cloths while taking aim at nearby rocket launches with slingshots and cursing the bright orb in the sky. Then again, they might grow up to be some of the most creative and interesting people we could meet. Maybe the truth is that it’s difficult predict the future of a child based on who changes their diapers and repeatedly picks up behind them and whether or not that person has an XY chromosome. With that said, If they do drop off the grid in a fit of anti-social rejection, I hope they get an airboat. I like airboats.  

So yeah, we’re HORRIBLE. I’m a dumb-witted half-man raising children who won’t have any idea how to carry themselves with other children and I spend days languishing in toddler-land when I could be making millions to put them through college. Our house would be better off with a cleaning woman (or man), a lawn service and perhaps an au pair. Luckily, we’re not raising houses so I think we’ll just continue our misguided efforts to raise kids in a way that works for our family even if it ruins them in the process. Don’t all kids deserve our very best swing at having no idea how to make them the best person they can be while not driving us crazy in the process? Perhaps my wife and I aren't really that different from John and Stevie after all. Keep doing what you’re doing Parenting Partners!  

Note: This was not meant to disparage working parents, at-home moms, grandparents, uncles, shoe salesmen or Jimmy Buffett. I think you are all awesome. I think my wife and I are awesome too. Everyone is awesome! I am going to say awesome again. Awesome. 


And one LAST note: Follow me on Facebook. I am 50% more snarky there, and 35% less funny.

6 comments:

  1. I think this article is awesome! I was literally laughing out loud at Fazoli's. My husband is a SAHD and o am proud of everything he can manage to accomplish outside of making our son the #1 priority every day. :)

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  2. You ruin your kids your way, I'll be over here ruining mine my way. For me that's by doing my.own set of unmanly things like singing to them, cuddling them, kissing them and rocking them to sleep.

    Great read.

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  3. Thank you for this! My husband is ruining our kids full time as well and I couldn't be happier!

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  4. I love this article because the point of the whole parenting journey is that none of us know who our kids will grow up to be. We simply do what we think is best for them and that is different (not better or worse) for every family. My husband and I both work. God has blessed us with an amazing babysitter who makes this possible. However, when I read the content, the same is true at our house....wish things were tidier but its not going to kill anyone and we do have a cleaning lady and a landscaper. I say do what works for your family and try to encourage others in their parenthood journey...no matter what it looks like, we are all in the same boat.

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  5. These are nice articles, but if you really want to be outside of gender stereotypes, gender roles, social norms, etc., and have stuff that makes everyone happy, then I would recommend dissociating gender from genitals and chromosomes. As well as it being a somewhat closed minded (though popular) world view that periods are for girls and boys have weenies, if one of your kids turns out to be trans, then it might be harder for them to come to terms with it if the view they have been exposed to is sex = gender.

    I recognize that most of the world holds this view, but it does no harm to try and set an example.

    Diverging from that, I like reading your blog and your kids are real cuties!

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  6. This is an awesome article. Something that I found interesting was an article off this http://blog.famtivity.com/5-awesome-articles-about-dads/

    I think you enjoy the one about fathers washing dishes. Happy Father's day!

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