If You Want Being A SAHD To Be A Respected Norm, Don’t Make It Into A Sideshow

shutterstock_84043303__1393861601_142.196.167.223I’ll be the first one to argue with people who make fun of good fathers. I don’t think the stereotypes many of us still hold on to are doing anyone any good. Fathers aren’t big apes walking around totally confused about all things parenting.

I am an avid and regular reader of blogs like 8 Bit Dad, Ask Your Dad, and How To Be A Dad. I read these blogs because I feel a certain kind of camaraderie with these parents. When it comes to moms and dads, I rarely feel like it’s “us” and “them.”

Which is why I am a little annoyed by this crowdfunding campaign I saw today from the dad who founded Fodder 4 Fathers. He’s trying to crowd source $50,000 from readers to prove once and for all that dads can survive in a “moms” world:

I’d like to leave the corporate world behind for a year to take on the role of stay-at-home parent with my kids and prove once and for all that anything moms can do DADS can do equally-one year to chronicle my life doing the hardest, most rewarding job in the world and doing it well. But I’m just not in a position to do this financially, so I could really use your support.

Fund me so we can once and for all end this ridiculous idea that dads can’t survive in a “mom’s” world…and watch the fun as I take on my the responsiblity[sic] of managing my househould[sic] and two small children.

Okay, so do you want to rid the world of the “dad as buffoon” myth or not? The reason I ask is because there is a certain amount of Hey! Dads are so entertaining! implied with this project. “Watch the fun as I take on my responsibility of managing my household and two small children.” No thanks. I do that all day. That doesn’t sound fun at all. Well actually, it sounds like a little more fun with an extra $50,000 in my pocket.

Obviously, people are free to crowdfund whatever they want. Buzz Bishop pointed out on Babble yesterday “Countless bloggers have openly asked for money to pay for a variety of things in their lives from attending conferences, to adoptions, to funerals, to medical expenses, to finding a home for their children.” Maybe this is no different. He says of his Gofundme page:

I didn’t want people to fund me to stay home, I wanted to see if people would pay for me to put my life on display. As dad bloggers we do it for free everyday. I just wanted to see if it was worth a dollar to people to be, in essence, a reality show for them. If I wasn’t going to posy about it, yeah, it would be a handout. But, if I put myself and my kids on greater display for other’s entertainment, what would that be worth?


I just don’t understand on the one hand claiming your life’s work is to “show the world that dads are not the bubbling[sic] buffoons [they] are made out to be in the media” and on the other acting like a dad’s home life is an interesting sideshow. If you really believe that a man cooking, tending after children and folding laundry is the norm – well then what is so entertaining about it?

Basically what I’m asking is, is being a SAHD a respected norm or a sideshow? I don’t think you can have it both ways.

(photo: Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock)

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  • CMJ

    This…..is so weird. Maybe in order to survive in a “mom’s world” he should try it with, uh, no money? Just a thought.


    • TwentiSomething Mom

      Yea it is confusing. If staying home isn’t an option then he should continue to work and place his children in daycare but still take care of the majority of the household chores while his wife comes home and watches TV when she gets home off work. I’d be interested in seeing that experiment.

  • pixie

    I, too, hate the portrayal of the father as “useless” when it comes to parenting, whether it be shown in TV commercials for medicine (to help mom get better because dad can’t even brush Suzy’s hair properly!), in other forms of media, or by regular people. Dads are perfectly capable of caring for children just as effectively as moms and can do all the same things (ok, they normally can’t give birth or breastfeed, but in terms of caring for they can). I think the “clueless” dads are either clueless because they’re just clueless individuals in general and have been raised with/still hold strict tenderized roles or their wives refuse to let them learn to care for the children one way or the other for whatever reason. When it comes down to that, kids just need to be fed, taught basic things like how to read and write and count, taught the difference between right and wrong, be potty trained, and have a safe and nurturing environment. It’s a lot of work, I get that, but a job that dads can do equally well as moms.

    Maybe it’s because I have an awesome dad and know a bunch of other awesome dads, but the whole image of the “buffoon dad” really grinds my gears. My boyfriend and I have had a lot of discussions about this and he dislikes the image just as much as I do.

    • Natasha B

      I agree with you :) hubby can cook (better than me actually) clean, and do the girls’ hair. And he doesn’t say ‘he’s babysitting’. And has no qualms handling all 3 for the day when I need some time out.

    • pixie

      Oh yeah, if my boyfriend and I have kids together, he’s definitely going to be cooking most of the time because he’s the better cook and enjoys cooking. :)

    • Sri

      OMG, the “babysitting” comment. One of my coworkers said that he couldn’t do something because he’s babysitting his daughter, and I looked at him and said, “That’s not babysitting. That’s parenting. It’s just called being a parent when it’s your own kid,” and then walked away. He’s a friend, so it’s not that bad, but I just couldn’t put up with it.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    If he wants to be like a SAHM that once worked in corporate America, he should try staying at home without asking people for money. Do women crowd fund so they can stay at home with their kids? No. So why does this moron think he should? I can’t knock him for asking because someone might give him money but I’m sure he’ll profit from whatever website he plans to run showcasing his “experiment”.

    • Crusty Socks

      No, I think this bitch is just trying to get attention and have others pay for it.

    • Valerie

      Zomg I love it when people call men bitches. It makes my heart sing!

    • etbmm

      really? 9 upvotes and no downvotes? This comment section is weird.

    • candyvines

      Disqus doesn’t show downvotes anymore :(

  • Crusty Socks

    Oh yea, when my parents raised me, kept me up till midnight so that I finished my science project and sent me to SAT Prep school at $1200 a pop, they were thinking their son would make a great SAHD for the wife one day.

    Norm is called the norm for a reason. Sure you can cite to your exceptions, but in a traditional dad-mom household, dad working in his career is best for the family.

    (This is not to say the dad does’t have roles in the household, I totally believe in that; nor is it to say that the mother shouldn’t focus on her career, I totally believe in that too.)

    (I also get with the Recession, many dads became SAHD out of necessity, but not choice; it’s the choice part I disagree with.)

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      I am sure there are plenty of SAHM that took SAT prep courses and are college educated but chose to stay home anyway.

    • Crusty Socks

      You know we’re talking about SAHD, not SAHM right?

    • Emily

      Yes, that’s the point. In the western world, most parents won’t choose a child to support in this way. If they provide these opportunities for their son, they will do it for their daughter as well.

      A friend of mine has spent the past 5 years as a SAHM and now that her youngest is weaned she is planning to switch places with her husband. He is excited to be at home with the kids, and she is excited to get out in the workplace. I am in awe of the equality in their relationship.

    • elle

      I honestly am at a loss as to why you think its wrong for men to choose to stay at home. Care to expound please?

    • Crusty Socks

      Never said it’s wrong. Sometimes circumstances dictate that’s what’s best.

      But when this guy is set out to prove it just to troll the internet, that’s when it’s stupid.

    • elle

      Yeah this guy is stupid I agree. but you said “it’s the choice part I disagree with” so what did you mean by that then?

    • Crusty Socks

      If a man chooses to stay home and raise the children when he can work, that’s not being a man.

    • elle

      Um……kay. well…..kay. I honestly have no response to how ridiculous I find that but thanks for clarifying.

    • Crusty Socks

      Well, always… um.. nice to um… have talks with people with whom… um… you have ridiculously different view points with… um.

    • Crusty Socks

      ETA: grow up.

    • elle

      Ok fine being a “man” I would think you wanted to do the best thing you can for your family. If that means working because you make more money okay great. If that means staying at home because your wife/partner makes more money and that’s what you decide is important then that makes you a “man” to. I make SO much more money then my husband. And I also have a trust fund. When we had our son I wanted to just hire a nanny but he wanted to stay home with our son. That doesn’t make him any less “manly” it makes him a human being just doing what we think is best for our family. Honestly some arguments are so ridiculous they don’t treat require any counterpoint, it’s ok to just let them lay there in their silliness. This was one of those times but now you have your dialogue you seemed to crave.

    • Crusty Socks

      Like I said, if there are circumstances in which the dad being a SAHM is necessary, that is completely different.

      I’m talking about the Dad who WANTS to stay home (i.e. avoiding his manly duty to bring home the bacon). You must think this is antiquated thinking. And I’m so sorry for you and those around you.

    • elle

      I think judging any parent for why they want to or choose to stay home or that the father HAS to be the one to bring home a paycheck is antiquated thinking. Please don’t feel bad for the people around me, I’m a fabulous human being.

    • Crusty Socks

      I’m sure you think you are in your hugely judgemental ways.

      But others don’t appreciate being labeled as unreasonable or “wow um wow” only because they have opinions that differ from you.

      Father SHOULD be the one to bring home a paycheck. I never implied “HAS to,” which completely changes my opinion.

      Again, we’re talking about the choice a dad makes, as opposed to dealing with his family’s circumstances.

      (Please don’t alter my words/opinions around to bolster your points, so not cool)

    • elle

      Ok fine I refuse to sign up for disqus so yes you think a father SHOULD bring home the paycheck. But you do think it’s wrong for a father to want to stay home. You are the judgemental one. But you’re right, I’m totally judging you for your opinions on this.

    • Miriam

      Why should a father be the one to bring home a paycheck? You’ve yet to really explain this. The closest you’ve come is that you personally received a lot of financial assistance from your parents for your education so you feel you would be letting them down if you didn’t work. Many women also receive financial assistance from their parents and excel academically, so that’s not really a good explanation of why you feel there “should” be different expectations for fathers and mothers.

    • Ro

      Actually he has explained it. The man should work because he’s The Man. No further explanation needed. Why can’t us silly women understand this?

    • Rowan

      Are they Manly Men in tights? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtmbZnXSQ7k

    • Mystik Spiral

      If a woman chooses to stay home and raise the children when she can work, is she not a “real woman”?

      Odd, I really didn’t have you pegged as a misogynist.

    • elle

      Yeah, I didn’t either. This is definitely coming out of left field.

    • Crusty Socks

      Right. That’s exactly what I said…

      except that’s exactly the opposite of what I said. So you must have terrible reading comp.

      I specifically said I’m in favor of mother’s pursuing their career.

    • Crusty Socks

      Wow, so because I believe that women are better child rearers, you think that I HATE WOMEN?


    • Fondue

      “If a man chooses to stay home and raise the children when he can work, that’s not being a man.”–says the man who spends most of his day on Mommyish.

    • Moony

      Didn’t realise that “being a man” meant earning the most (if not the sole) income. Call me crazy, but I always thought that being a man meant being mature, wise, self-confident, loving, kind and compassionate.

      People like you honestly disgust me. You have no problem with women taking on domineering and independent attitudes and careers but a man taking on a more passive role is something shameful? Give me a break. You’re not going to go far with that kind of attitude, not in the 21st century.

    • Larkin

      Your logic is flawed. The fact that it’s the norm doesn’t mean it’s “best for the family.” Why is dad working in his career while mom stays home any better for the family than mom working in her career while dad stays home?

      Not to mention that I actually know more women who are highly educated (i.e. post-graduate degrees, etc.) than men. So how does that work into your equation? Are you arguing that the fact that someone’s parents paid for their education at some point in their lives means they have an obligation to NOT stay home with their kids? That it’s better for dads to work because their families (and society) will be disappointed in them if they opt to stay home? Are educated women letting down their parents too, if they choose to be a SAHM?

    • elle

      Ugh thank you. I had zero interest in voicing why I find this to be ridic but then I didn’t have to. You did it for me.

    • Crusty Socks

      And let’s see how long those relationships last.

      But let’s hit this closer to home.

      1. For the married women out there, who has a husband that wants to quit work and stay home for whatever reason? Tell us how that makes you feel.

      2. Other married women, do you make more money than your husband? Tell us how that makes you feel.

      You’re so obsessed over Equality… you’ve neglected to really think about what that means and what that does to a relationship.

      Making (more) money doesn’t mean you’re any more/less important in the family than if you stay home. I get that. What’s important is that in the partnership, each does what they’re best at and what’s in the best interest of the marriage. But don’t tell me most wives/mothers won’t resent their husband/father not making enough money or choosing to not make money at all for their family.

      You’re delusional.

    • Scoutergirl

      “Other married women, do you make more money than your husband? Tell us how that makes you feel.”
      I make more money than my husband and I always have during the 14 years of our marriage (except while I was on my two maternity leaves). It makes me feel awesome because I contribute to the best of my ability to our family’s well-being. My husband also makes an excellent professional salary – only slightly below mine because my profession is in more demand and I have more years of experience than he does. Our money is jointly pooled and used to care for our family in the ways that we feel best….open communication on all spending decisions.

    • Crusty Socks

      Do you think you’re in the majority or minority?

      (about the way you feel)

    • Scoutergirl

      If you’re speaking specifically about the group of women who make more money than their husbands and how they feel about that, then I would say I’m in the majority. Of the group I know in that category, I would say we all feel pretty good about it. This will start to become more and more common and there has been plenty published lately about the growing percentage of women outearning their husbands. There is already a higher percentage of women getting university degrees so higher level employment and higher salaries are soon to follow.
      My husband is well-educated (Master’s Degree) and has a job in a well-paid profession. It’s just not as well-paid as mine. So how could I hold that against him? He works hard at his job, just like me and we both earn what the market pays for our job types. Most women I know feel exactly like this. It’s not like their husbands are slackers. If they jointly decided that the husband would stay home because he makes less money, no one would resent that because it just makes sense for the family.

    • Crusty Socks

      Wait… also, did your husband stay home while you worked? Because if he didn’t, that’s not really the focus of my point.

    • Scoutergirl

      You specifically asked women who make more than their husbands how they felt about it. That kind of implies that the husband is also working, just making less than the wife. You also implied that those relationships wouldn’t last.
      You seem really threatened by the idea of the women in a relationship making more than a man. Is that not ok for you and if not, why not? Do you not think women are as capable as men?

    • Crusty Socks

      Capable as in what? Lifting heavy objects? Composing music? Applying makeup? Being a neurosurgeon? Be more specific

    • Rrlo

      I make more money than my husband. I don’t resent him, he is amazing and I love him. You at least always make sense when you’re being serious – like I can say hmm disagree but see the logic- I have no idea where you are going with this one.

    • brebay

      Oh, Crusty, please tell me you left your laptop open at Hooters and this isn’t really you typing this garbage…

    • Larkin

      I do make more money than my husband, and he’s strongly considering quitting his job to stay home with the baby after it arrives. And I think it’s awesome, and makes a lot of financial sense. So nice try, but no dice.

    • rrlo

      Disagree that dad working is best for the family. Where is the evidence? Choice is usually a good thing when it comes to how one wants to live their lives.

      Honestly, when you start talking “norms” all I can think about are Fox News talking heads harping on about how in nature males are the dominant ones etc.

      This is a very loaded topic and considering how messed up society has been “norms” should not dictate anything.

    • etbmm

      LOL That’s hilarious! When my parents raised me and kept me up all night to finish my homework properly from the 3rd grade on (they never had to spend money on prep school classes for SATs or the LSATs), they were thinking that their daughter could be anything she wanted to be. My parents DGAF whether I am a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, but you know what? If they did, I’d tell them they raised me better than to be a follower of other people’s expectations.

  • Mystik Spiral

    “But, if I put myself and my kids on greater display for other’s entertainment, what would that be worth?”

    Uh, I can’t say what it might be worth, but I hope it’s enough to cover the divorce lawyer and therapy for the kids from the fallout of putting your family on display for entertainment. Jesus, I want to say something like they’re not animals in a zoo, FFS, but even animals put on display for entertainment makes me sad… :(

  • Life-Sized Mommy

    My husband has been staying home with the kids since our second was born. Wish I’d had the bright idea to crowdsource 50K out of it.

    • Deena

      My husband is a househusband right now and can’t wait to be a stay-at-home-dad someday. He cooks, cleans, and does repairs around the house muuuch better than me haha.

  • Natasha B

    So, is someone gonna crowd source me being a SAHM? I’ll totes do a daily slideshow.

  • mannakay

    Wow, this thread went crazy real quick like. I make almost double what my husband does, so he stays home with the kids. Why on earth would we forfeit half our income simply because the man “should” bring home the bacon? As long as we’re supporting ourselves and the kids are well taken care of, I see no reason why it matters.

    • brebay

      Is someone arguing this point?

  • brebay

    Gary Shirley of Teen Mom gets so much credit for raising his daughter while Amber was in jail…like millions of moms and thousands of dads do. I’m sorry, but if he was a 350-pound-mom sitting two feet from the door in his recliner telling Leah to get up and get the door, no one would be oohing and aahing over his ass…

  • Ligeia

    Wait, so he wants to crowdsource 50k to prove he can do something that many/most fathers in scandinavian countries do normally. Alrighty.

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