Mark Greene offers helpful tips for avoiding those pesky conversational faux pas with your local Stay At Home Dad.
Lately Stay at Home Dads have been showing up on TV and at the movies. (Usually portrayed as well-meaning simpletons who commiserate about doing things like dropping their kids in the toilet by accident.) If Hollywood has noticed SAHDs, they must everywhere. And believe it or not, you may run into one yourself, soon. Now that’s a produce aisle conversation you certainly don’t want to confront unprepared, so we’ve put together a helpful list of conversational hints, should you suddenly find yourself nose to noses with a real-live baby wearing SAHD. And one final note before we get started: as challenging as it may be, always try to keep top of mind that the baby in question really and truly hasn’t been dropped in a toilet.
#1. And this is CRUCIAL to getting off on the right foot. Avoid the the words “Mr.” and “Mom.” In that order. Right next to each other. Seriously.
– Men who do full time parenting are called Dads, ’cause that’s what they are.
#2. Also avoid beginning with: “So… did you get laid off or something?”
-Do ask him the story of how he became an at-home dad.
#3. As tempting as it may be to inquire if he’s “getting any” from the Moms at the PTA…
-He’s not. I don’t have to go into why he’s actually going to the PTA meetings, right?
#4. Perhaps you might also consider skipping this insightful query: “Dude, are you like, totally pussy-whipped?”
-Stay at Home Dads are the new Gloria Steinems. You’re likely to get a lecture on gender issues.
#5. This common intervention is also less helpful than you might think: “I’m gonna take you out tonight and get you totally hammered.”
-Not gonna happen. Kids are 6AM hangover amplifiers. Think Spinal Tap and “turn it up to eleven.”
#6. Nope: “Dude, sucks to be you.”
-It doesn’t suck to be him. He’s having an eye opening, amazing, life affirming time.
(Most of the time.)
#7. Here’s a doozy: “Man, I wish I had a easy job like that.”
-Being a stay at home dad is about a lot of wonderful things, but it ain’t about easy.
#8. And there’s this old chestnut: “Do you actually change dirty diapers?”
– What do you think, there’s a f**king diaper fairy?
#9. Avoid “I have to call so-and-so RIGHT NOW and tell them what happened to you.”
– Being a stay at home dad is a choice, not a meteor strike.
#10. Do not lean in and gently commiserate with, “Hey…are you okay?”
-Instead, ask yourself “why the hell would I think he’s not okay?”
#11. Skip “Wow, so you’re baby sitting every day?”
– Its called raising children, regardless of whether you’re a man or a women. Babysitters are people who watch your kids for a few hours, eat all your microwave popcorn, and then go home. Dads are parents.
#12. And, finally, in another generation or so, dump the “at-home” or “stay-at-home” thing, too.
– Dads can, in fact, be found in the home and with their children. Shocking, I know.
Do say, “Man, I would so love to be doing that.”
- It makes everybody smile.
Click here to read more of Mark Greene’s GMP Articles
Also read The Day I Acted Like a Sexist Jerk to a Stay-at-Home Dad by Heather Davey Fusco
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