10 Things You Didn’t Know About Being A Stay-at-Home Dad
For men and women, being a stay-at-home parent has some pretty similar ups and downs. But there are surprising things that separate the sexes — and not every dad will admit them.
If you would’ve told me three-and-a-half years ago that I’d eventually become a full-time stay-at-home dad for a couple of toddlers, I would’ve socked you in the shoulder and said, “Good one. What else ya got?”
But I left my TV executive job in Hollywood. I traded in the personalized parking spot and corporate card for potty training and temper tantrums.
So here I am, on a Thursday morning in my kitchen, clutching a cup of tepid coffee with my eyes closed, silently praying for a moment of serenity as my kids fight each other with a yardstick and plastic sword. I’m thinking about all those things we SAHDs never tell anyone.
1. We hate it when people call us “Mr. Mom.”
Do you see me lactating through my shirt or putting on lipstick at the stoplight? No. That’s because I’m a guy. Don’t get ahead of yourself and throw that '80s stereotype on me, or I might have to stop ironing the kids’ grilled cheeses. Why can’t we just be guys that love taking care of our children?
2. We did not want the minivan!
When my wife asked for the minivan, I thought that she was going to take it to work, not leave it for me. I don’t care if it has all the bells and whistles — it’s still a van. You know why they haven’t made a minivan Transformer yet? Because there is absolutely no way to make a van cool. Talk to me when Michael Bay introduces an Autobot that disarms and fills itself with a bunch of little waist-high Decepticons.
3. Sometimes we get a “headache” when it’s time to have sex.
These kids are tough work. After an emotionally and physically exhausting day, we really just want to curl up with a good microbrew and the little strand of sanity that’s left. Unfortunately, the stress of “put away the toys” time is somehow now carrying over to the bedroom.
4. Sometimes we’re so tired, we sit down to pee.
I’ll admit it. I’ve done it. Go ahead and laugh it up. But it’s not like I was enjoying it — part of the experience involved me with my head in my hands sobbing. It’s the only five minutes I have to myself all day — that is, if you can block out the two toddlers in the hallway banging on the door and asking if I’ve “wiped my wenis.”
5. We’re a little freaked out about our retirement plan.
Stay-at-home moms have dealt with this for decades, and it’s past time we started discussing it. Why is it that I do the hardest job on the planet yet in no way am I getting to put away Social Security? The college kid down the street working the graveyard shift at the tavern gets to. The nanny down the street gets to. Our preschool teachers get to. Explain.
6. We feel weird taking our daughters into a men’s public restroom.
What’s the etiquette here? We don’t know. Personally, I kick the door open and tell anyone that’s in there to get the hell out until we’re done — it doesn’t make the 7-11 owner happy, but this is how I deal.
7. We’re jealous of your yoga pants.
I’m talking about the nice, comfy, form-fitting pants that women get to wear. If we didn’t look like we were smuggling fruit across the border, dollars to donuts we’d be wearing them. They’d be handy on Super Bowl Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and any day of the week where I didn’t feel like actually getting dressed.
8. We also like wine o’clock.
Except in our world, it’s called Scotch-Thirty.
9. We don’t bite.
Moms, come over and say hi to us. We feel like idiots standing by a tree at the playground while all the moms whisper about “who that strange guy is” over there. We aren’t so different. We’re on the same team and want to commiserate!
10. We love being the MacGyvers of toy-fixes.
This is our passion. We love fixing broken toys, or helping them evolve into the next phase in their life. Putting the head of one doll on another doll’s body is in our genetic code. Step back and let us work.
Adrian Kulp is a blogger at Dad or Alive and The Huffington Post. His first book is a comedic memoir titled Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-home Dad. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.