Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gender Blends

I have been trying too hard around here, I recognize that, and, in response, I am going to try even harder in a gallant attempt to fail better.

You may remember that last week I did a post called Handburgers.  I thought I'd be cool and not mention the fact that it was in response to a writer prompt from the Blogger Idol competition I did not get into.  As a consolation prize, they offer a way for the wannabes those not competing to write a post and link that post so others can read it.

Here is the prompt for this week:

"Write about a day in the life of you. But it wouldn't be Blogger Idol without a twist. You have to write about your day, as if you were the opposite sex! There is no word limit, but make sure to include at least one image."

It would be easy, too easy, in my opinion, to get all snarcastic and pithy and cloyingly clever.  I also think the assignment reeks of the inherent sexism and stereotypes that still hang in the air of society.  I know the persist because I am a stay-at-home-dad.

So...  what to do?

If I were the opposite sex... there would be less meat for breakfast.  (That seems safe enough.)

If I were the opposite sex... my boys would wear clean, neatly folded clothes because I work for a living and, trusting that my capable and loving at-home-husband will do a great job, I can not focus on my job.  (Well, alright, I guess, seems a little preachy.)

If I were the opposite sex... I wouldn't have a big grey beard and mustache; I wouldn't be thick; I wouldn't look rough and questionable; I wouldn't get long looks down the noses of the mothers of the other children and the employees at he school where I go to volunteer in the libraries and classrooms of my children.  I wouldn't be so disarmingly different, so threatening, so dangerous, so unacceptable.  I'd just be another Mom, I'd like that.  (Okay, now that's just a sad cry for attention.)

If I were the opposite sex... I wouldn't have been shunned so many times on the playground, questioned and untrusted.  I wouldn't have been watched with distrust over smartphones and cameras at the pool, eyes watching me as though I was some sort of lecherous creeper.  I wouldn't have wanted to scream:  "I have every right to do this; these are my children and I take care of them!" when asked how I was doing by some old woman at Costco who thought I just had them for an hour, mentioning how nice it was giving Mommy a little free time on the weekend.  (Wait, is this a soapbox on which I am standing, sweet.)

If I were the opposite sex... I would cherish and respect every man I saw in the schools; volunteer, lunchworker, teacher, principal, or UPS dude; because there are so very few visible.  I would thank (and I think hug) the male coaches in the boys' sports who manned-up and took on the daunting prospect of managing another little league team, another dozen soccer 'passers.'

I would accept and embrace that Dad on the playground, the one who just organized a giant pirate improv, complete with princesses (for the girls) and no sticks (for the boys), for every child on the playset, including yours.  I would not dislike a guy just because you think the SAHD is a better Mom than you, he's not, or, and this happens a lot, because you know I am a more involved parent than the father of your children.  I would open the doors of the "Mommy and Me" playgroups to the Dad with twin toddlers; I'd open the Infant Zumba ("mommies only') to all the chubby dads as well; I'd make sure there were changing tables at all restaurants and that I was advertised to with respect and...

Uh, oh.  I got Popoed.  It's a widget  installed on my blog that warns me when I am starting to get ranty.  (I wondered what I'd use as an image in this, how serendipitous.)

Alright, I'll stop that train of thought.

If I were the opposite sex...  I wouldn't sit alone in my basement watching the Reds, drinking beer, by myself.  I'd have friends who are nearby and available, new friends, changing friends, lots of friends.  I'd make a new friend in CVS and meet my BFF out of the blue.  I would be able to make myself more vulnerable to others, less afraid at new things, and, more than likely, I'd be a better multitasker and... person.

If I were the opposite sex... I'd take time to consider my womanhood...

Oh, I see where you thought I was going on that.  No, I was thinking about how love feels for the opposite sex.  It must be so inward and deep, reflective, intrinsic.  It is so rough and raw for men, me at least, love, that is.  So difficult, so confusing, especially raising boys.  And, it so rewardingly deep, soul deep.  Women know when they are doing it right, men are never quite sure.

 If I were the opposite sex...

If I were the opposite sex... my day wouldn't be that different than anyone's really, you see, I play all the positions around here, and so does my wife.  All of us, you, me, Mr. President, The First Lady, the ironworker, the dancer, the waiter, the doctor, all of us, play all the positions and, hear me, no one is better at any one position than anyone else.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear find on the floor from of the backseat...'

"Mom works so we can git (get) anuf (enough) for a roof rapar (repair).

That pretty much nails that......


  1. This one strikes deep, but is still a wonderful read. I'm not sure women "know when they are doing it right"...we just have more examples to follow. Your boys will grow up with a very healthy appreciation for the jobs both sexes do. Well done!

  2. Alright, dammit, I'll start hugging the coaches, even though I'm pretty sure they just want to feel my boobies.

    1. Hee, hee, she said boobies. Wait, did I say that out loud?

  3. Thanks for this post! I think too often people don't think about the challenges of stay-at-home dads. Gender roles are so ingrained in society that sometimes we don't stop to think that most of those roles are just socialized. There are no laws that say the dad has to work and the mom has to be at home. Personally, I think having a parent at home is crucially important, and it doesn't matter who the parent is as long as there is one. Kudos!

  4. Really liked this. I like that you point out how we need to appreciate stay at home fathers more, coaches, principals, etc. because I am totally guilty for not thinking along that vein. I take so much for granted.

    Kudos to you! Very well done.


  5. I really love your take on the prompt especially the way you sectioned each paragraph with "If I were the opposite sex..." I am a big fan of that style when reading blogs and how it flows one into the next with a poetic style. I don't like the interruption in the middle because your post was on the serous side but I guess some humor may have been needed to lighten the mood. All thought I agree with your post, regardless of what we (men and women) do that are the same, we think different, which you have shown here very eloquently.

  6. I just want to say that sometimes other moms are mean to other moms. Hopefully, as a man you will get to avoid some of that! There has to be at least one perk to being the cool dad at the play ground. Maybe it's just me, but the dads at least talk to me. The moms just give me looks. I guess I am just saying that I can relate even as a mom because so many times I don't fit in either.

    I love the note your kid wrote (at the end). Pretty cool stuff going on at your house!

  7. I like this from a guy. Nice change. And you're right about the teachers. Luckily, I worked with my favorite dude teacher (my husband), so I could hug him a lot in the halls. :)

  8. This is a really thought provoking post. I am a stay at home mom, and I often think about how misrepresented and misunderstood stay at home mom's are, but the next thing I think about that and get a little whiney about inside my brain, I'm going to think about you, probably come back and read this post if I'm not in the middle of 96 other things, and then, I am going to shut it.

  9. I liked this post a lot. I live in an area with a fair amount of stay-at-home dads around, so I think they are becoming more accepted. But I'm guessing that's not true everywhere. I found you through your comment on The Real Matt Daddy's Blogger Idol post this week--I'm another contestant, but I'll probably be eliminated this week because I struggled so much with this assignment. It was really hard not to be sexist and over-generalize!

  10. Impressive. I definitely would have stooped to getting in touch with my feminine side.

  11. As a woman who wears all the hats, well done. :) If I were the opposite sex in my house, I'd sit on the couch, take a nap, and leave my socks on the floor. And then I'd redeem myself by bringing dinner home as a surprise and staying with Oldest so my love could get a break.