Friday, February 8, 2013

Mom or Dad, it's all just parenting

I live in a particularly affluent suburb of Philadelphia. In fact, if you live anywhere on the Main Line you often hear from people that there is a Main Line markup on prices. Things are definitely more expensive than let's say Rochester, NY where we used to live. While my wife is the primary breadwinner this is not the case in my community. As a result, I live in an area that predominantly filled with Stay At Home Moms and not Stay At Home Dads. This can be particularly challenging for SAHDs like me because I am constantly around women and the guys that do watch the kids are not full time like me. Not that being around women is a bad thing; in fact, when we lived in Rochester I regularly hung out with the women that were the parents of the kids in my daughter's preschool. It would just be nice to hang out with other Stay At Home Dads.

Today was my first venture out to the local mom's group at the church we are attending now. I wasn't worried that they wouldn't accept me. Most women and especially moms understand how staying at home is difficult. Of course, I was the only dad that was there and at 6'7" and 245 lbs I am not exactly going to shrink back into a crowd. I stand out. As expected, they were awesome. Very nice and interested in things I had to say. I didn't think that they were going to be mean or standoffish but I have had bad experiences in the past with play dates and playgrounds where moms have asked me when my wife was going to show up.

There was no talk about breastfeeding, at least not this time. Breastfeeding talk doesn't scare me though. I like to talk about breasts. There was no husband bashing either which is always nice. Sometimes moms would complain about their husbands in front of me and say "No offense" None taken, I am not your douchey husband so fire away. I also was able to tell them from a man's side how we look at things which I think is helpful for them. Clearly, there are lots of things that we don't agree on with women but when it came to discussing our kids, that part was easy.

When we were talking, we were all talking about challenges that we face day in and out. We talked about how it can be difficult to get dinner on the table at a decent time. About how our spouses have to work late and how we want to eat together but sometimes can't. We talked about getting up in the middle of the night to attend to our kids' various needs. We talked about registering our preschool kids for kindergarten and how scary that was that they are growing so fast. We talked about why the dining room floor looks like a disaster area after every meal...did they get ANY into their mouths?

When it all comes down to it we are all parents. Whether we are moms of dads, it's all just parenting. This is why it is so important to get rid of the Mr. Mom label. We are all just parents trying to do what is best for our kids and that is what is important. Whether you are a stay at home dad or mom, we are all going through the same things. Just replace the "he" in your story moms with a "she" and I am right there with you.

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