A grateful stay-at-home dad speaks
Greetings from the Invisible-to-you Man. If you could see me at our kids’ preschool, you’d recall the mumbled “Good Morning,” milk-stained T-shirt and chronic conjunctivitis.
I get it. No morning is good at my home, where an imp awakes promptly at 5:02 a.m. demanding Red Bull in a sippy cup. It’s just too early in the day for you to acknowledge my gendered humanity.
But look closely. You’ll find a sorrier version of yourself in me, a stay-at-home dad. Not the hot single father from the movies. Nope, I’m an unemployed, unwashed Y chromosome that recently reproduced.
Like you, I was once paid a salary.
Like you, I used to have clever words, artistic opinions and daily showers.
And just like you, I gave it all up for the spawn. Nanny school would have been a better value.
I can’t complain. A man with a baby attracts “awww!” like a panda falling out of a low tree. Both incompetent creatures would be extinct without the sympathy of strangers.
In the parenting world, a mediocre man is glorified for work that is routine for a woman. For me, success is a kid who’s not dead. My kind isn’t judged for not losing the baby weight (I haven’t) or child abandonment (a.k.a. getting a job).
Sorry to mansplain. Sleepiness is no excuse for not being woke.
I’m just working up the courage to say I’d be grateful for a smile.
Well, it doesn’t have to be a smile.
Look, my vomit-colored shoes are ugly (trigger warning: it is, in fact, vomit) but I’m not an ugly sexist. I know Resting Bitch Face afflicts female and male faces (including mine) equally.
Don’t panic. A smile is not an opening for conversation. Ms. Myers, Ms. Briggs and my wife will attest that I am an impenitent introvert. If you suggested a playdate, I would stammer, flee and homeschool my toddler.
Thanks for the superpower, but I’d rather be seen. Let’s forget speech or smiling. Namaste would be a nod to our shared heritage: I’m brown, you’re into yoga. Or perhaps an actual nod is less culturally appropriative?
Really, any gesture would comfort your oppressed comrade trying not to assassinate a tiny tyrant.
Yours in stay-at-home solidarity.