First of all, the phrase “Stay-At-Home” is a complete misnomer: Shopping, play-dates and errands continually interrupt this supposed domestic ideal. Second, and most importantly, I suggest that men have absolutely no business in trying to be Mr. Mom, EVER.
Men are just not genetically cut out for being Primary Caregivers to their children. Men make fantastic fathers, and no amount of XX chromosomes or education can make a man more effective at giving care to the offspring as women. We can’t. And for the most part, we pretty much like it that way, because at some point every man who has attempted to be the Primary Caregiver admits that he is “not cut out to do this”.
I believe that the Moms out there — past present AND future — are squarely to blame for men’s inability to be Mr. Moms. These Moms have — albeit unwittingly — set the bar way too high.
Even the men who have had to take on the role due to death, divorce, Court Order or other circumstance — and bless those who have — would never choose to be the Primary Caregivers because it’s contrary to their nature. Why? Because a major component of being a Mother requires a person to experience an overwhelming feeling of guilt at some time (or hourly), while simultaneously recognizing that they do not require constant recognition for the “Mom” work they do. Men are physically, psychologically, culturally and emotionally unequipped to feel guilty AND have their vocation, regardless of impressive title, as thankless as the role of Mr. Mom.
Every married man has uttered the words “I’m sorry” more than he’d like — and probably meant it. Many men work at jobs that would have many of us jumping off a bridge or happily quaffing cyanide at the very thought — and required no thanks for doing so.
A man needs to either be recognized for his achievements, status or physical attributes (or all three at the same time) guilt-free OR feel guilty because he knows he’s achieved more, has more money than God according to Forbes, and possesses the chiseled body of Adonis sporting an extra-large fig leaf. And, if that guy exists, he is way too busy to have children because he’d rather be at the gym working on his ‘lats’.
Being a Father means more than a man throwing the ball with his daughter or taking his son to the zoo. There are many components at work for the male individual to bond, connect, and guide his offspring to give them the best possible chance at being the best possible people once they grow up.
Men elect to do housework only to ensure a higher likelihood of sexual activity. Or, at the very least, men do housework to garner a “hall pass” from their spouses so the men can then pursue other interests — most of which do NOT include the children.
Men are about as interested in doing chores, including child rearing, as they are to be continually interrupted while watching a playoff game. (This is just as inadvisable even during the regular season, for those of you taking notes) So why would a man ever profess to want to be a “Stay at Home” dad”?
Women don’t really want their men to be the Primary Caregivers anyway. Women want the choice to work or not, do the chores or not, but NEVER has a sane woman ever considered her spouse to be a better “Mom” to her kids than she is.
Women deserve equality in every way to men, as they are just as capable in every role as a man, with the glaring exception of child rearing. And every man is okay with that, because deep down at the center of our paternal core we acknowledge that we could never, ever replace Mommy.
“Hey, wait dad!” Tambako the Jaguar @Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.