Okay, so daily blog subjects are harder to come up with than I thought. However, previously stated, as a new stay-at-home dad I find myself having lots of epiphanies resulting from my new experiences that I find as low hanging fruit for subjects. One of the things I realized recently is really going to boost the egos of all stay at home moms out there and probably cause one of my man cards to be removed from my deck of manhood.
The realization that I refer to is that I seem to want credit for everything I do at home now that it is my ‘job’ to be at home, yet, my wife has been doing most of the things I find myself doing for years (we will have been married for 6 years this June) and know that I’ve done nothing but expect her to do them for most of that time and given little credit for her doing them. Yes, I still have my testicles.
The main reason I think I expected it so much was that I always saw my mom doing those ‘womanly duties’ (child bearing, dishes, vacuuming, etc., etc.) most of time. So I guess I attribute my previous way of thinking (on this subject) to my environment growing up. Not that my environment was terrible and my dad is not a chauvinist pig or anything to that nature. Just the way it was for me.
My dad was gone a lot growing up, juggling multiple things at once. Since I am the oldest of the four children I have more ‘experience’ in the family than my other three siblings. My dad started out as a teacher and coach making less than twenty thousand per year, which is sadly a poor living if you want to raise a family of any sorts and not have to wear hand-me-downs for your whole life. Don’t even get me started on teacher salaries. So to better himself and his family my dad went back to school to become an administrator, eventually becoming a superintendent. In addition to teaching, coaching, and going to school my dad also started refereeing any sport he had time for. I can only assume that my dad’s refereeing is the direct cause for my love of sports and competitiveness. It gave us time to bad and some damn good stories but it also made sure that my mother was home a lot between work and four children. So what I saw was my mom taking on the historical sense of wife at the same time working as well.
When my dad was home he would take care of the yard, the house repairs, and other ‘manly’ duties but most of the child bearing and house chores were left to my mother. However, as I got older I did have chores to do so don’t get the impression that I’m a spoiled brat and want everything handed to me - I’ve had a job, until recently, since I was thirteen when I put up drywall for $5 per hour.
In shorthand notes, that is my basis/excuse for the way I thought about household chores. I thought when I got married that I would be able to mow the yard once a week, trim the bushes, and make sure the vehicles had oil and gas in them. Oh, how I was 180 degrees wrong.
Now that I am starting to play the role of stay-at-home dad I tell everyone I know how much work and stress it takes to watch three kids (one in school and two at home full time), clean, do laundry (to my wife’s dismay), and I don’t know that I ever heard my wife do the same other than to defend herself when I tried to say that I actually did those things as much as her. Don’t get me wrong, I did do some things like wash dishes, vacuum, and always cleaned the bathrooms (my specialty), but not nearly as much as I should have because I was “tired from work,” was my complaint like she hadn’t even been at work or something.
The bottom line is that I have a new found appreciate the jobs that mothers have done historically, unless you happen to be in a matrifocal society, like the few that you may have learned about in school like the Berbers or Tuareg (no, not the Volkswagen vehicle - that’s Touareg). And that is why I say that a “Super Dad” is simply a “Standard Mom” as the title suggests. With the ever changing work demographics, sped up by the recent recession, all men at home will become very comfortable with their schedule of making mac and cheese for the kids, doing the dishes, and vacuuming the dinning room before they go to swim lessons at two in the afternoon.