I was watching clips from The Today Show today as they had an interview with Neil Gaiman, author extraordinaire. Several of the clips caught my attention so I watched them. There was an interesting bit on the Blue Man Group starting a school and a rather depressing segment on young folks texting naked pictures of themselves to each other.
I feel i should have mentioned above that this is a rant. If you don’t want to read my vitriole, I suggest you click this link instead.
The Gist: This piece is about several displaced workers who are choosing to stay home with the kids instead of going back to work. Mainly due to their spouse finding work instead of themself. The hook? These stay-at-homes are dudes.
Point One: “Mr. Mom” is an idiotic term. I fail to see what is wrong with “Dad,” “Pop,” “Father,” or the multitude of other terms one could use. There is an implication that only Mom does childcare. Excuse me? I work my ass off around the house – something my wife would freely admit. We both put in a fair share of work here, which is what you are supposed to do if you are a family. If the man comes home, puts on his smoking jacket, and retires to the den for newspaper reading and brandy, what you have is a dictatorship.
Point Two: There was no mention whatsoever about the general lack of dad-interaction most kids get. It would have been a far less sexist and more inspiring way to do the piece. Children need their dads as much as their moms, and to make the idea of a stay at home dad seem bizarre will no doubt cause the more stupid men in the world to give pause at the idea of being loving to their children. Just Google “child time with father.” (It’s equally important time is spent with mother, its just that this is rarely an issue.)
Point Three: Raising a kids is a job. It is the most important job in the world. That is a fact. If you dispute it, you are stupid. “But, Matthew, what about doctors?” Who drives the kid to the doctor? Who makes sure the kid stays well at home? Who looks after that child’s psycological health? “But Matthew, what about teachers?” Who works with those teachers? Who gives those teachers the power they need to be successful? Parents.
Parenting is a job, and it is important. If you aren’t going to participate fully in the raising of your kids, you shouldn’t have them, period. End of story. Either start putting the time in with them, or get fixed. You may work 12 hour days, but you better be putting in face time with our future investments. Otherwise, you should have gotten a hamster. Children aren’t pets or social status symbols. They are the people who will be in charge of the planet in a very short amount of time.
Point Four: The piece was overtly sexist and shocking to me. I cannot believe this many people still have such concrete senses of gender roles in a family relationship. To think that the mom is solely responsible for the care and raising of the kids is ignorant. Mom and Dad are a team. They should function as a team. Sam and I are a pretty good team, I think. We have time issues from our school and work, but we generally do a good job of sharing responsibility. I have spent many a wee hour with a crying babe so she can get the sleep she needs for school and she has given me relief many an early morn.
In the interest of fairness, Dale Atkins does touch on the need for family teamwork, and the piece does discuss how it is difficult to not be able to choose this path.
I take issue with that as that they seem to defend men defining themselves by their jobs. Men should define themselves by who they are. If they are a father, they need to be a father first. They should be looking at the job loss as an opportunity to spend more time with their child.
I understand the struggle of not choosing your path, but you made a poor choice in the first place if you put your job before your kids. To hear Atkins talk about how moms will have to change their parenting style because they don’t have full say anymore really pisses me off. Is this really the world I live in? 1950?
I’m pretty disgusted.