Yesterday, Dr. Wendy Walsh wrote that she would never let her kids go to a playdate supervised by a dad. Today, a stay-at-home dad responds.
Jay Brown: When I read Wendy Walsh's blog "The Dad Double Standard," where she says her two girls cannot go on a playdate if only the father is home, I was outraged. I am a stay-at-home dad, and, yes, I took this blog personally.
She calls for mothers to support us dads out there -- "It's up to us to reach out to the amazing fathers out there who are doing great work. They can't do it with one hand tied behind their backs. It takes a village" -- yet she herself discriminates against fathers like me. It makes no sense.
One passage in particular offended me. She recalled being on a playdate with a stay-at-home dad and said: "Of course, as in any interaction with a heterosexual male, flirting boundaries were the order of the day. (They'll ALL go there if you let 'em!)."
Wendy, I can assure you that I have NEVER once crossed that line ... and that the thought has never even entered my mind. I am a happily married man. I'm at a playdate for my kids, not to make moves on the other mother. Get over yourself!
You say "they'll ALL go there if you let 'em," but that's your problem: It's just not true! And operating under that assumption is skewing your world view.
When my kids have playdates, I am running around with them, and I'm involved with them. I'm throwing a ball around and keeping them active. My focus is on the kids, period.
Stay-at-home moms hate being judged by working moms. They hate it when people stereotype them. But I get judged and stereotyped by stay-at-home mothers every day.
A few years ago, my son had a holiday class party. I showed up to supervise, and not one mother in the class spoke to me. It was obvious that I was not welcome in their "club." It couldn't have been more uncomfortable. But my son wanted me to be there and I was there. I wasn't going to let them stop me.
By now, the parents at school know me. I'm in the classroom volunteering every week, so that makes them feel a little more comfortable. My kids definitely have playdates. Do people NOT want to have playdates because I (and not my wife) will be supervising? I have no idea. If so, it's their loss -- kids have a great time at our house. But even if someone turns us down, we'll ask another kid. I will be damned if I am going to let my kids miss out on social experiences just because some misinformed moms are anti-dad.
Moms, be the first to reach out to the dads out there. Make an effort. Stretch your boundaries. You've got to let your child be in different kinds of situations. Surprise yourself. See how much fun it can be.
And, while you're at it, stop making these blanket statements about dads. Wendy had a few bad experiences with men in her life, so it is hard (if not impossible) for her to be objective on this topic. I get that. But I think you have to assess every situation individually on a case-by-case basis. Sure, there are some dads you wouldn't want to leave your kids with -- just like there are some moms you wouldn't leave your kids with. You have to use your own judgment.
Because look: I am not a pervert. I am not trying to hit on you. I am just a parent who's trying to raise my kids the best way I can. Surely you can relate to that.
|Jay Brown is a full-time stay-at-home dad living in Los Angeles. He has two kids, aged 6 and 9.|