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Dad Sick and Tired of Double Standard

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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.

sick and tired looking man

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.

next: Alec Baldwin Rushed to Hospital
19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachel February 11, 2010, 7:04 AM

Well said, Jay. I agree that the remarks were a little insensitive. Thanks for sharing your point of view.

Annoyedbyitall February 11, 2010, 7:36 AM

Don’t worry. I went to help out at my son’s holiday party, and the Queen Bee Mommy and her Best Friend studiously avoided talking to me. I only volunteer for a few one-off things each year, as I have two school-aged kids and two additional little kids at home, as well as a WAHM job. I know the Queen-Bee Mommies do a lot of good work at school, but must they be so clubby? It’s not just the perv-factor, it’s that you can never be the Most Popular Girl, Jay. Try not to let it get to you.

JMom February 11, 2010, 7:43 AM

Yes, I can definitely relate to that. It’s one reason I didn’t like arranged play ‘dates’. I used to just let my friends make their own connections on the playground. They don’t usually care about all the inane things adults worry about.

Great post!

DadsNursery February 11, 2010, 8:05 AM

Well said sir, as a stay-at-home dad I found her article very insulting.

Nell February 11, 2010, 8:31 AM

Jay, I am SO SORRY that you are being stereotyped like this. I am stereotyped sometimes. It is not fair to you and it does not feel good. It is just that one seed spoils it for everybody. She is probably paranoid with all of the abductors, child murders and pedofiles that seem to be popping up these days. Out of 100, it is probably only 1 or 2 men who are bad people, but the other 98 have to suffer along for the sake of safety. But, if you ask me, EVERYBODY is crazy these days—including women. A woman can hurt your child just as easily as a man, so technically, she shouldn’t be singling you out because you are a man. But even with all that said, try to understand where she is coming from as a mom with extreme fear caused by the news media.

Carrie February 11, 2010, 8:32 AM

I am a working mom and would not have a problem with my child going to a play date with a stay at home dad. However, I would insist on know the “parents” if I were not there. I would do this wether the play date is with a man or a woman.

chris February 11, 2010, 9:08 AM

I agree with you and I agree with Carrie. I always learn the parents of the kids who my kids play with. Why were you not??? After I know you, then I will decide if my kids will play at your house and that is not based on if you are a man or a woman but what kind of family life you have and what rules are in place in your home. I’ve met moms who I wouldn’t trust and men that I would so to me it’s really on a one to one bases with any parent.

Scott February 11, 2010, 9:31 AM

My only thought is to make sure that play dates have more than one mom when dad is there. I am sure that always happens fo r accountability and safety for all involved. The hit on thing makes me sick. Good article.

Anonymous February 11, 2010, 9:45 AM

Just so you know Jay, not all of us moms think like she does. There are many of us non-hypocrites out there. Well said.

RamyS February 11, 2010, 10:25 AM

Well written. refreshing. My ex and current husband are both amazing, hands-on Dad’s and I hope this never plays a part in their future with other kids. So far so good. My son is ten and my ex does a lot of pick up and drop off and kids to his place. (he is still single and all the kids parents know him and me and trust us both.) My husband and I have a girl together, we’ll see how it pans out when we are having tea parties instead of football and video games. I wonder if my hubby will receive the same respect as my ex did?? She’s 2 now, only time will tell!
I for one think a stay at home Dad is a committed dad and I love seeing more and more that they are taking on that role. Kuddos!

SAHD's Wife February 11, 2010, 11:49 AM

Jay, your response was well written and had wonderful points. I was horrified by Wendy’s post, and even more horrified to learn she’s a clinical psychologist (Lord, help her clients, I hope their not male).

My husband is a stay at home dad, and a DARN GOOD ONE! We switched roles after 8 years of parenting (believing one of us should always be home). I’m grateful for your response to at least put it out there that not all SAHM’s are perverts, sexually interested in the SAHM’s or don’t have a community. Thank you for your voice for all the other SAHD’s who have been judged by people like Wendy.

tennmom February 11, 2010, 1:35 PM

I commented on the other post.
My father was a very “hands-on” dad for my brother and me and is the same for my daughters. They & their friends love hanging out with “Grand-dude”. Ice cream runs, skating, mini-golf, bowling, he’s always up for anything.
My late-husband died when my girls were 3 & 5 but he was right there. My current husband has a huge fan base of kids. He gets “fought over” any time he volunteers at school, especially at the annual consignment sale :)
My 12 year old’s best friend’s Dad stays home. His wife is a doctor & it made sense for him to stay home after the adoption of their younger 2 children.
I adore my stay-home Dad friends and trust them every bit as much as my Mom friends.

Cesar February 11, 2010, 10:34 PM

Dr.?? Seriously. You would think she’d be a little more open to different situations. There is no reason why you wouldn’t follow the same steps you would with any play date. Know the parents, make sure you know what the plan is, etc…Well said Jay.

When I would pick my kids up from school the mom’s would always go out of their way to talk to my wife to arrange play dates. It bothered me but they still were ok with allowing their kids to play at our house even if I was the only parent at home. So, fortunately, there are plenty of moms that don’t feel the same way.

Heather E. Sedlock February 12, 2010, 2:25 AM

I was raised by a SAHD in the 80s and 90s when it wasn’t as “neat” as it is today. Granted, as Jay and Wendy’s posts show, some stigma still exists today, it is NOTHING like it was then. School teacher actually called CPS because “something just isn’t right about a single man raising two kids on his own and the mom isn’t dead.”

My father NEVER hit on my friends’ moms! EWW first of all… cause those moms were not that good looking. ha! Seriously.. and he’s NOT a pedophile. He’s just a decent guy who did his job as Dad when my mom couldn’t do her job as mom full-time. (Note that’s couldn’t not wouldn’t).

It’s about dang time someone spoke up for Dad’s everywhere. Thank you Jay!

Todd R. Vick February 12, 2010, 5:24 AM

Nice post, Jay. As a fellow stay-at-home Dad, I agree completely with your remarks. Will we as human beings ever get beyond stereotypes? The bad Dads get all the good press, while guys like us have to constantly watch what we do and say.

mom February 12, 2010, 9:59 AM

Thank you Jay. If you read any of Wendy Walsh’s other stuff you will immediately realize that she’s all about brainless gender stereotyping. Emphasis on the brainless.

Sheron February 12, 2010, 10:55 AM

Great article in response to Wendy’s! I laughed out loud when I read the part about setting up boundaries because ALL men will go there…oh my, someone is a little full of herself. It’s sad that she views half the human race as dangerous and untrustworthy simply because of their gender.

Chris February 23, 2010, 1:13 PM

Walsh is either a moron or sensational, and either way she has no business commenting on this issue. Anyone following her advice deserves all of the stupidity and isolation that will follow from doing so. Way to go Jay!
part-time SAHD,

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