Category Archives: SAHD

Fat!

Fat!

There are a lot of things you never want to expose your children to; radiation, the last episode of Lost, and naked people. I mean, come on, you only need to see a handful of naked people to realize, sheesh, the movie industry must use a lot of make up and prosthetics to make it look that good. Next on my list is run down carnivals in dying Midwestern towns. Every summer come July, the month that most resembles Hell in the Midwest, my children scratch and paw the windows of the mini van like, well, children in a mini van, every time we drive by “Galena Days”.

The first time my wife and I went to “Galena Days” we didn’t have any children and therefore felt freer to risk our lives riding the decrepit machines. The brightly colored rides played music that sounded like cats having sex and many of the people running this traveling circus appeared visibly high to me. More disturbingly, many of the people operating the rides appeared to be happy, way too happy, to be doing what they were doing. There is no way a person could smile as much as they did while operating the merry-go-round stone cold sober. No way.

“Galena Days” proved to be an eye opening, gut emptying experience. Growing up I ate my share of deep fried foods like fish sticks and corn dogs. But, I had no idea of the creative depths the Midwest was bringing to the culinary table. I had heard the jokes about how people around here would deep fry anything and eat it: road kill, turtles, and the like. Here, though, I was confronted with the ugly truth. Deep fried pickles, Oreos, Snickers Bars, cheese cake, and pancake batter were some of the morsels to be found. Deep fried cheese cake! My chest tightens at the thought. The size of the corn dogs would have made a horse blush. The combination of the heat, the oil, and the absent stares made for a gastro intestinally unsettling day. I knew then and there I would use all of my super human dad powers to avoid bringing my offspring to such an event.

Events like these are easy to avoid with the proper amount of parental bribery. Other parts of the culture that surrounds us are not events I want my kids to avoid but lifestyles, or more specifically, buffets. Buffets are like 70’s porn; wet, cheesy, and soft featuring people with horrible hairdos. Buffets are endemic here as are the appetites to match. Awhile ago walking through the grocery store my then four year old daughter saw an enormous man; not only was he tall but he was obese. Very obese. As we walked right by him she asked in an unmitigated four year old decibel level, “Why is that man so fat!”. My two year old boy in the cart seat repeats “fat!” with enthusiasm leaving no doubt, if there ever was any, as to who and what we were talking about. I smiled at the man and quickly turned the corner figuring I could outrun him if I needed to. He walked on graciously without commenting on the socialization, or lack thereof, of my young children.

I can’t protect my children from everything and really, I don’t want to. Growing up where we have chosen to raise them presents itself with certain difficulties, as does any area in which you choose to live. Some of these we can avoid and some of them create awkward, but teachable moments for us all. It is not in their best interest to put them on a portable Ferris wheel run by people who look like they don’t know where they are. But it is in their best interest, and in the interest of my personal safety, to be curious about the people around them in a way that is respectful. I am hoping to help them realize that it does make a difference to avoid certain heart stopping foods as much as it helps to lower your voice out of respect for others. Little by little they seem to understand, although July continues to necessitate the most creative bribes.

Well, somebody is calling for their father…

Steve

An Open Letter to All Politicians From a SAHD

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Awhile ago my wife had the opportunity to introduce a Missouri senator at the Young Professionals group of which she was the chair. She wanted me to attend the event so I packed up our then two month old boy and went to meet her for the luncheon. As soon as I walked in I knew this would not be easy. The addition of a politician made the room charged with people who wanted to say something important and shake a lot of hands. As the senator and his wife were walking around the room she spotted the baby and quickly zeroed in on the chance to kiss it. I glanced awkwardly as I held the car seat. “Hi, glad to meet you. How old is the little one?” she asked. I quickly assessed she was asking about our baby although my wife is technically shorter than I am. “He’s two months” I replied hoping she would move on without touching him. I hated it when people wanted to touch my babies. Germs. “Well, I hope he grows up to be a conservative.” I threw up a little in my mouth at this point. The senator stood silently smiling the whole time. Maybe he had nothing to say, which would be odd for a senator, or maybe he was the Yin to my Yang and thought it was the baby who had the germs. Either way, he remained mysteriously absent from our conversation.

What do I wish he would have said to me? Since he said nothing a polite “Hi” would have been nice. Beyond that I can’t help but imagine that if I had I been the chair of the Young Professionals group the conversation would have been easier. He could have slapped me on the back and congratulated me on putting the stem on the apple and the wives could have conversed about how hard it is to get the baby fat off, or something like that. I don’t know what women talk about. Anyways, even as it was I would have been fine with him slapping my wife on the back and congratulating her on still being fertile. I’m a modern man. But, I am not going to discuss breast feeding with his wife. She’s old and that’s gross. I’ll leave that to the post modern men.

I appreciate that the stay at home dad may not appear to have a lot to bring to the table. But, if I had been the power hungry narcissist in the room I think I would have paid more attention to the people who are thinking outside the box. While my diaper changing skills are probably not important to his political career (at least I hope so), the fact remains that if you are talking to a stay at home dad you are talking a couple, a husband and a wife, who have chosen to live differently. While that may be initially uncomfortable it is worth pursuing. So, the next time you see a man with a baby, think twice. While you don’t stand a chance of converting me to the Conservative side, you will have saved yourself from being the object of an unknown bloggers rants. Take heed.

No, My Husband Stays at Home….

Imagine this: You and your husband crawl out of bed in the morning because you can both hear the baby is up. You brush your teeth and get ready for your day which begins with a work out at home since your workday doesn’t allow time for the gym. Your husband stays in his underwear and scuttles off the make a bottle for the baby. While you work out he has the baby in the highchair and the other children in various stages of getting dressed. You shower and get dressed for your 7.30 meeting while his hair is still matted to one side of his head. He is sitting on the floor with a cup of coffee playing a game of Candyland and trying to teach the baby to crawl. The notes for your meeting are running through your head and you can hear the sound of the beginning of a long days worth of texts and emails hitting your phone. As you leave out the door with a breakfast bar everyone who can walk scrambles to the door for a goodbye kiss and a tug at your skirt. Your husband shuffles everyone back in the house with his coffee in one hand and the baby in another and waves goodbye through the window. This isn’t his day off or a brief spate of unemployment. This is everyday because you’re the one that works.

Whether this scenario works for you as a woman probably depends upon a couple of things. The first thing is the quality of relationship you have with your husband. I’m going to guess that it is important to you that your husband is working towards something. And not just anything, but something the two of you mutually value like, the care of your children, the laundry, the house cleaning, and (let’s throw this in for kicks) all of the cooking. If he is the one to stay home, then it is vital to you that he works towards the good of the family. He should, day to day, contribute to the overall health and success of what the two of you have created.

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The second part of this picture are your own personal motivations outside of the home. Do you want to work? Really? Are you sure? You, like my wife, are probably very good at what you do and that is why as a family you even have the choice to live on one salary. Being good at what you do, there should be a good deal of satisfaction and pride in your work. But, you won’t be home as much. You’re going to miss your kids. And socially, as a mother, people will wonder why you’re the one to work. Don’t you want to see your kids?

Whether it is the husband or wife who works both people need to feel the other one is working towards the common goal. That is fundamental to any marriage and every family whether one person works or both work. It is the glue that keeps the bond of trust together. I have known other couples that tried to have the father stay home. Some of them didn’t work and it didn’t work for this reason. If you as the working mother walk in from a long day at the office and the house is a mess, the laundry is not done, and MacDonald’s is on the dinner table I’m going to guess that happy is not going to be your first emotion.

If you saw some of the meals I cook my wife you would understand our arrangement. I want to impress her. I want her to walk into a house that is clean and peaceful. I want our weekends to be free of errands to run and chores to complete. I want to have taken care of all the shopping, doctors appointments, and school needs. I want her to be able to brag about me so that she can feel proud of who she married in front of her friends. I want to work as hard as she does at creating our life together because, at the heart of it, I’m so grateful to be the one who is home.

So, what do you think?