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