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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why Do Moms Hate Dads?

There is a very weird culture among stay-at-home moms.  They are very exclusive, and almost cult-like in my experience.  Individually, sure, they are very nice, but as a group, they really disapprove of two sets of people specifically: working moms, and stay-at-home dads.  Now I can't speak for working moms and the wrath and disapproval of the stay-at-home mom (you will have to ask my wife about that), but I can give you the true and sad story of the prejudice I experience every day as a stay-at-home dad in a stay-at-home mom's world.

First of all, SAHMs are very suspicious of SAHDs.  When a dad walks into a place full of moms, generally he gets a look, as if he is only there in the hopes of seeing one of them breast feeding.  Usually the moms do not speak to the dad, and huddle ever closer in their tight circle of disapproval.  I don't know if they think I have stolen these children from their mother and am on the run from the police and am hiding at storytime in the local library, or what, but those moms do not want to talk to me.

If I do try and talk to one of the moms, sometimes they ignore me, but usually they make a weird noise, like "hmph" or "yaahrgl," and then slink away, back to join the herd.  Sometimes there will be another dad around, and we can exchange knowing glances, like "Moms, right?" and smile and shake our heads.  We say hi to each other, but dads are not pack animals like moms.  We prefer our solitary roaming lifestyle.  Perhaps this is why we will never fully integrate into the mom community, but it would at least be nice to have some level of respect.

The other way you can tell that the moms do not like the dads, is that whenever a child of a dad does something, the moms all kind of look in that direction, waiting for dad to stop the child, and then when he doesn't, cluck disapprovingly and turn away to gossip about it.  Like, let's say a child is jumping up and down and laughing maniacally.  Us dads think this is pretty funny.  Or if a child is climbing on top of an item marked "do not climb."  Dads love climbing.  If you can somehow climb from the floor to the top of a high bookshelf, dads think that is cool.  Moms do not think that is cool.  They think that the dads should be locked up and banned from the playground.

It's not just the moms who discriminate against us either.  I can't tell you how many times I have taken the kids to the grocery store, or wherever, and the cashier says to my kids "Ooh, you get to hang out with Daddy today?  What a special treat!"  I generally say, "Yup, just like every other day."  No one can believe that a dad home all day with his kids is normal in any way.  Mommy must be on vacation.  It's probably career day at school.  Oh, is today opposite day?  I had forgotten.

Now if you are a SAHM, and you think to yourself, well I am personally offended that you think such things about me, let me assure you that this blog is not about you.  This blog is about You.  You as a group.  You as a pack.  You as a huddle in the corner of the playroom, frowning at the sketchy dude who just brought in his kids.  Look, I get it.  Guys like "guy time" as much as you like "girl time."  When a group of guys suddenly find a girl in their midst, they are forced to keep the farting and whatnot to a minimum, and it is sometimes annoying.  I don't know what you all are doing over there ladies, but I'm sure that having men around is harshing your vibe.  For that, I apologize.  But it's my story time too.

5 comments:

  1. Well, as a SAHM, I see your point. We have a single man in our playgroup... sometimes its nice to have a man around, say if my stroller gets stuck or my rambunctious 2 year old runs to the far end of the field... but then again, when I'm breastfeeding my 8 month old, I feel a bit uncomfortable. So I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too. I think our SAHD feels welcomed in our group... I'm happy to have him around... it's so sweet the way he takes care of his little girl.

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  2. I'm a SAHD with a 4 & 6 yr old. I've been home with them since my son was born over 4.5 yrs ago. I am a white male, but I can now say I have received a taste of what it feels like to be a minority - and it is a bad taste. The stream of comments - "got the kids today?" "babysitting?" "is daddy taking care of you ok?" "attention moms, sunscreen is on sale" and my personal favorite "when are you going back to work?" - may seem benign or harmless, but they are grating and never ending.
    I do my best to march to my own drum, but admittedly, I often feel like I have to be super-dad as I don't want to reflect poorly on my gender and our ability to be excellent caregivers. We have plenty of guys to handle that. I don't want to be the one to hamper the progressive souls who might have the fortitude to be a SAHD.
    I can understand that we are obstructing "girl time", especially for new mothers navigating the world of cracked nipples and episiotomies, but maybe the moms could take a step back and realize that they are not only excluding us - they are excluding our children. My children have had considerably fewer play dates than most of their peers. Now that my kids are entering the school system, this is not quite as pronounced as the kids make friends without their parents having to socialize on the playground.
    As far as the modesty comments are concerned, most of the SAHDs are pretty progressive individuals and can look you in the eye when you are breast feeding. I really don't care to see your breasts. Yes, I am a man and sex is often on my mind, but I also am preoccupied, tired and not feeling all suave with puke on my shirt and a booger nestled on my shoulder - not to mention married. I'm really just jealous because you can lift your shirt and latch the little one on - then chat with your buds. I, on the other hand: carry a bag of chilled breast milk, a mug to place it in, and thermos of hot water to heat the bottle with. I manage this ridiculous system in a gymnasium, wearing my infant in a Bjorn and trying to wrangle my two year old. Once I manage not to spill the "liquid gold" all over myself or burn anyone with the hot water, I get to sit alone with my baby and watch the mothers enjoy adult conversation - which is a pretty valuable commodity in itself.
    So - hopefully, as more men stay home, this situation will improve. Hopefully, this little note will inspire a few moms to reach out. And hopefully, the nurse at the pediatrician's office will stop assuming that men can't change a diaper (not that I minded letting her do it!).
    Best of luck to all - hang in their. You're doing what you think is best for your family and that is what is best for your kids.

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  3. I'm talking to the SAHD today at our story time. I never realized!

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  4. OMG, this is totally true. I wish someone had told me this before I started working evenings. I used to think very highly of women but my experience with stay at home moms(and moms in general) has turned me around 180%. I can't count the times I never got the message of a cancelled playdate, or have been excluded from the other playdates and have seen my child crying. After a while, you realize a playdate isn't about the kids, but who the moms want as their 'buddies.' Even if your kid is best friends with theirs and, as a man, you are watching all your P's and Q's around them(take a shower, shave, be presentable at all times, no anger, no untoward insuations, etc etc.) At first I thought I was imagining this. Then after a year of this at 2 different schools, I became disgusted as I realized it was more about having a girlfriend party than about who the kids prefer to be around. (Trust me, they have ***NO*** problem dumping your kid if they deem you not someone they can chat with. And, when you hint around and ask what happened -in a very innocent and postive way- they will act as if they have no idea what you are talking about.) For my part, I don't say much, because the rules among the moms are 1)no direct communication-always be subtle, or play like an idiot man and have no opinon about anything 2)completely de se x ualize yourself- enough said there 3)Be prepared to talk endlessly about shopping and food/cooking. If you screw up any of these you will be exluded and your child will suffer(they don't care about the effect of severing your child's long-term friendship AT ALL. This -the kids coming second- has upset me the most.) I don't like the opinion I have come to slowly over the past 3 years, but I have seen it over and over and over. It is the side of women (the nurturers of our species no less) that is cut-throat, selfish and callous. We men are direct, get things out in the open and move on. Trust me my fellow brothers, it is ***nothing at all*** like this. To the women reading this, anyone who knows me will tell you I have been women's biggest fan until this period of my life. You men who are reading this and who are entering this world should know this going in. I wish I did.

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  5. Dear SAHDs, I've been a SAHM for a few years, and the gossip mob of SAHMs at meetings disencouraged me enough to shun them like cholera. Be sure that several moms on those occasions hated it as much as you did and would have loved to go have a coffee with you guys somewhere else, and would have loved for your kids to play with theirs. The people who actively try to exclude other dads AND moms probably have little identity apart from being a parent and feel very protective of whatever little status they can achieve. Who cares? I don't want my kids to play in their poisonous environment anyway!


    Love from a SAHM in Sweden

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