Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's Just a Playdate, Not A Date

So, I read this article by Jenna Karvunidis of ChicagoNow who writes a section called High Gloss and Sauce. Her latest post called Advice to stay-at-home-dads from a cold, cold playground mom has me wondering just why Jenna doesn't want men and women to be just friends. It sounds like she is basing her entire life on When Harry Met Sally.

Jenna attempts to explain two problems that stay at home dads face on the playground. The first problem, she says is "Moms don't include you in playdates/outright reject your offers to get together" She explains that moms seek balance in their lives after dealing with kids all day and seek out other people like themselves. She infers that women don't want to spend that time with other guys purely because you are a guy. She contends that ZERO moms will want to have a playdate with you based on that premise.

In problem two according to Jenna "The ladies snub your hellos. Forget play dates and lunches frolicking in the meadows, these stuck-up prima donnas in their stupid pants won't even carry on a conversation with you." This probably is because some women don't know what to say to a guy. Again, remember the reason why we are even at the zoo, park, or library with our children; I am there for my kids to socialize with your kids. If you can't talk to me how do you expect your son to introduce himself to mine? Maybe we need an afterschool special for stay at home moms on how to talk to stay at home dads. I learned it by watching you mom!

I first started staying at home in 2008 when we moved to Rochester, NY. It was the first time I had lived in a city that was not Chicago and I knew no one except my in-laws. This was the year that my blog was born and when DadNCharge was coined by my wife, she ordered me vanity license plates to celebrate that fact.

I was typically the only dad dropping off at the new YMCA that we attended and usually all the moms that dropped off would do the same thing I did, worked out while our younger kids were being watched for two free hours while we were there. Seeing them day in and day out I got to know them for no other reason but to make friends. Many of them had older kids in the same elementary school and so we formed friendships. GASP!

We regularly had play dates, we would hang out at each other's houses, and best of all we would go out for girl's night out, just as friends. My wife met all these women, heard all the stories I relayed, and thought it was important for me to have friends who shared the same experiences. I did at times feel like the rooster in the henhouse being the only guy and hearing about their husbands or ex-husbands. Beyond the sex of our spouses I noticed that we had similar complaints, hardships, challenges, and triumphs.

After all, it is all just parenting. The only difference was that I had no stories about pregnancy or bloating unless I was gorging myself on appetizers at Label 7. I had to intervene when they complained about football but they accepted me for who I was, a parent. Not a guy trying to pick them up or hitting on them, just talking about what was good or bad about our days and sharing what was most important to us, our kids.

Jenna goes on in the article to say that the reason why she can't hang out with you is that being a stay at home mom is a "precarious position". She seems to think that hanging out with a stay at home dad would warrant her husband leaving her. Funny thing is, she doesn't really know if that were the case because she never has asked him and goes on that it is implied to be something that is wrong.

I know, you just want companionship and coffee and that thing where your kid screams for my kid's fishy crackers and I say yes and then they knock each other out over a game of tag while we play on our iPhones, but as long as my position in life is determined by my husband's happiness with my daily activities, I'm just not going to risk losing a good thing even if it means excluding someone in need. Sorry.

Weak. My wife trusts me and your husband should trust you. Let's put the onus on a husband that works long hours. Is he doing this with female co-workers? If so, then it is the same situation. Maybe just be honest about it? Maybe your husband would like this guy too and they may even get along.

When my wife would come to parties including these moms she would talk to the guys that worked just because they had more in common. My wife knows that stay at home dads are not as common and that I am surrounded by women. It doesn't make me a pimp and it shouldn't make me scary but your opinion contradicts everything we try to teach our kids about making friends.

When you talk about only letting a dad join in on the fun, why must we be in a group of people to be considered safe? It's just a playdate, not a real date. Get over that fear of the playground lurker. If he's wearing cargo shorts and a superhero T-shirt, he's probably a stay at home dad. And here's a big hint; he's pushing his kid on a swing or playing hide and go seek, WITH HIS KID! We are just talking at the park and you don't have to ever see me again if you don't want to. And no I don't want your number unless your daughter is getting along well with mine and I think they could be friends.

Listen, I know there are rules for playdate etiquette. I wrote a guide for stay at home dads just because I went through it. But there are real women out there who know what it is like to hang with a real dad and they aren't scared off just because I am a man.

When I left Rochester, I left my girls behind. The Y Mommies framed a picture of them with their kids and all signed it letting me know how they would miss me. I hang it where I spend most of my time, in our garage next to the Chicago Bears mini fridge and the battery organizer I am constantly dipping into. It makes me smile every time I see it because I miss those moms and not for any reason other than they were my friends.

My son and daughters meet kids on playgrounds all around Philly. Most of these kids they don't know but they seek out their company anyway. I've taught them that if they want to make friends they have to be willing to reach out and take a chance. If it doesn't work then at least they tried.

That's the thing about kids. They re-teach us lessons that adults forget. I would like to think you could take a page out of their book Jenna, you could learn a lot.


  1. You may such a clear case against the truly loopy reasoning (if you can call it that) of the post to which you're responding. The post with advice to stay at home dads seemed to for some reason rule out the possibility of friendship between dads and mums who both have kids but not give a clear reason why. The following line from her post to me suggested a highly irrational degree of fear and suspicion of stay at home dads: " No, he's never expressly said "thou shalt not hang with stay-at-home-dads", but I believe the message is implied along with not setting his car on fire and sneaking poison in his breakfast".

    I'm not a stay at home dad, but since becoming a parent in April (and a dad blogger a few months later), I've found it great to be able to discuss experiences of being a parent with both mums and dads.


  2. "It's just a playdate, not a real date." great quote. that just about says it all, no?

  3. I would have commented sooner but the ten minute standing ovation I was giving you for this piece got in the way. Sure, I'm "home alone" with a 2 year old asleep in my bed who will soon be transferred to his cot, and his older brother fast asleep in his own bed whilst Mummy is enjoying 5 nights overseas with her friends; so there was no one to hear my ovation. But trust me, it was strong, it was steadfast, it was emotional and it was heartfelt. Jenna is the one with the problem, not SaHDs.

    1. Thanks Darrell. I think that she was truly surprised by how big this issue is to many of us who stay at home, especially the ones who have limited to no interaction with other SAHDs because of where they live. Feeling that isolation is bad enough without being shunned solely because of your gender.

  4. As a stay-home dad participating and volunteering in many community activities, I ran into this anti-male attitude from women about 2% of the time. 98% of the moms I hung out with were cool with it, and many of us traded children, some over the course of years. I hope that that ratio is favorable enough for most dads that they can just ignore the insecure minority of women who can't be friends with another parent if he is male.

  5. What a Dip* this karvunidus woman is.I believe she is incredibly narcissistic, especially when she thinks the Dads at the playground all want to have sex with her. She probably thinks all the Dads at the supermarket, pharmacy and walmart want to have sex with her too. She writes that her "Sugar Daddy" husband (YES! She actually called him that in one of her blog entries that I'm embarrassed to even say I read) "works" long hours (no doubt so he doesn't have to come home to that idiot). Maybe she can't trust HERSELF to behave like a decent person. Beneath that inflated image of grandeur is a homely, sad little plug of a person who thrives on attention, liposuction, click bait and fighting with people just to get page clicks.

  6. I never even considered this an issue before this article. As a stay at home dad I've formed quite a few relationships with other mums, gone on various play dates so that our kids can have fun and, most importantly, learn to socialise. This whole male/female thing never even entered my mind. If anything its me, as almost always the solitary male at children-related gatherings, that feels awkward and out-of-place. Now I guess I'll be worrying about if the ladies around me are worrying I'm trying to get into their pants. Wonderful.

    I completely agree with you, its all about trust. I trust my wife completely and she trusts me also. The idea that I'd be taking my kids around another parents house to try to sleep with her is insane. Seems like this lady might have some issues in here relationship that are overflowing to prevent her from being able to treat men as parents. Does she think they're all trying to screw her?

  7. Jenna Karvunidis is now stalking men on Facebook, the men who don't buy her bullshit she spews on her various blogs (that apparently have now been closed). Didn't she get fired at ChicagoNow and then ran off to LA? She called me a pervert, and when I saw her picture the first thing that came across my mind was that pelican I fed bread to down at Myrtle Beach back in 1996. She's a loony tune, fellars.