John on March 12, 2010 at 11:22 am
Boy does this ring true. After describing his sister’s surprise that he does the shopping, Peter Familias writes:
This little scene says something about a basic condition of at-home dadhood: Isolation. You spend your days in Mamaworld, especially out here in the suburbs, living in strange detachment because you’re not female. Shunned is too strong a word, but don’t look for full acceptance and membership in the mama’s parenting club. Usually, you don’t even go to the meetings. The obvious solution is to connect with other at-home men, easy to find these days, but we don’t connect so well. We just don’t. Others agree with me here. I blame shame, the monster isolator.
I don’t know if he’s right about shame but isolation, yeah that’s the deal. I’m the dad who shows up with my kids, surrounded by moms in their workout outfits. Granted being a man surrounded by attractive, fit women in stretch pants doesn’t sound all that bad, but this isn’t a bar scene. This is moms with their kids. They dress like this to impress each other, not the stray dad who turns up. As a man, you’re always just a bit out of place, even suspect. No one talks to you for a number of reasons, some of which are understandable:
- You’re somebody else’s husband and a stranger.
- They figure you might get the wrong idea…?
- They figure other women might get the wrong idea.
- They figure (sometimes correctly) that you don’t really know when the birthday party is anyway.
- They figure you don’t have the same interest in kids, or maybe only in their sports activities.
- They figure if you’re not at work something is wrong and they don’t want to get into your problems.
To say it’s a whole weird vibe on the kindergarten playground would be understating it. It’s not like I lose sleep over it or anything. Honestly, it’s sort of in my nature to not give a crap what most people think, but you definitely get used to feeling like a second class citizen. A minority. Not shunned but not embraced either.
Category: Marriage & Family |