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A Man in a Mom's World

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Six months ago, I lost my job and our family was forced to survive on my wife's salary alone. Fortunately, we could. However, OUT was the nanny and IN was the manny!

man holding baby

Guest blogger Dan Fitzgerald: That's right, DAN. I'm writing in to share some of my "dadlogic" with momlogic (and yes, dads can be logical on occasion). I am a father of two boys, a 15-month-old and a 6-week-old.

Six months ago, I lost my job and our family was forced to survive on my wife's salary alone. Fortunately, we could. However, OUT was the nanny and IN was the manny! Now, don't get me wrong: I love my boys more than anything in the world, but being home with them all day, every day was something I certainly wasn't prepared for. While I'm still mentally working out my never-ending days at home with the kids (broken up into three hour increments, of course), there's one thing about being a Manny that's surprised me more than anything else: the public perception.

I'm certainly not suggesting prejudice; in fact, it's the contrary. People look at you as "special" when you're a dad out with the babies. Everywhere I go I get looks, approving smiles, hear comments like "Oh, isn't that great! Daddy's out with his boys." I don't totally understand this reaction. I'm just taking care of my kids. I'm just doing what's best and necessary for my family. I'm just doing what tons of moms everywhere are doing. Sure, it looks a little funny when the big football player-sized Daddy is singing to his kid about bubbles at Gymboree, but it's what makes him happy.

Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Moms AND dads? It makes me uncomfortable to be viewed as "exceptional" for taking care of my kids while my wife works hard to pay our bills, when the lady behind me in the check out line, doing the same exact thing, is simply viewed as doing what's expected of her. Are we really still that far behind? I guess.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Christina March 10, 2010, 8:28 PM

It’s getting better. Only five years ago, one of my good friends, who was a SAHD, was treated not so great by the moms at the local parks. I’m happy to report, however, that my “hip mammas” group makes a point of welcoming and including dads. I understand that you feel uncomfortable being viewed as exceptional, but perhaps you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that, by being a primary caregiver, you are striking a blow against the sick and insidious assumption of late that all men are potential child predators.

Black Iris March 11, 2010, 7:45 AM

Thank you so much for writing this! As a SAHM I have often felt that we are looked down on. We’re not doing what our generation of women is “supposed” to do. Somehow a dad doing the exact same thing is incredibly cool and revolutionary.

Anyhow, best wishes and welcome to the world of full-time parenting.

ally May 16, 2010, 10:01 PM

What can I say? Only that after being a stay at home mom for 10 years (3 kids) I discovered that it’s not only publicly expected but also the father of the children thought he had not enough attention and could go and find “attention” outside of the marriage and family to make himself feel better.

Well, that is gone to the past and 3 kids are split in 2 to make public think it is OK for a man to leave family to make himself feel good with another woman because his wife was a little too busy to strike his ego.

The article above only confirms the gender difference in anything. Thank you!

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