12 Things Not To Say To A Stay-At-Home Dad

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

Enraged Man by Shutterstock

About Mark Greene

Executive Editor Mark Greene’s articles for the Good Men Project have received over 250,000 Facebook shares and ten million page views.

Greene writes and speaks on culture, society, family and fatherhood. His work is a timely and balanced look at the life affirming changes emerging from the modern masculinity movement.

Greene writes and speaks on men’s issues for the Good Men Project, the Shriver Report, the New York Times, Salon, the BBC and the Huffington Post.


  1. I particularly like #11. When our kids were young I was a stay-at-home mother. My husband, however, was always very much an active participant in raising our children. It often irked me when I would going out somewhere and a friend would refer to my husband as “babysitting” his own children. I would alway reply that a man does not babysit his own kids, he raises them.

  2. Well said sir, great post! Gender equality does seem to be taking a long time to extend to the concept men being able & dedicated parents

  3. Thank you sir, for saying what so many of us have wanted to, but didn’t have the words for.

  4. Mark, can you help me turn my blog about being a SAHD into a movie?

  5. Life Lessons says:

    Amen. 🙂

  6. Heheh.
    I don’t have kids of my own. But I used to baby-sit regularly for my in-laws when their kids were small. 🙂
    But every time I uttered the words that I was gonna baby-sit one evening, there was the token Feminist in the crowd who took it upon her(usually!)self to lecture me about not calling it “baby-sitting”, cause she assumed it was my own kids…

  7. You know in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey that there will be a book about #3.

  8. Alisande T. says:

    SAHMs hate #6 and 7 as much as SAHDs do. I went back to work when my son was 3 and it like a vacation.

  9. Agreed on all points, and number one is firmly where it belongs… at number one.

  10. Mark, I admire you and what you and so many SAHDs and SAHMs are doing…. I see extraordinary parent-child connections being made that way. Beautiful!

  11. Great list. I’ve always hated the “babysitting” term. If they’re your kids it’s not babysitting. And “Mr. Mom” makes me want to scream. Men are perfectly capable of cooking, cleaning, buying groceries, cleaning scrapes, wiping tears, helping with homework, changing diapers, and just about everything that doesn’t require breasts. I was lucky enough to stay home with my twins for the first year and then later to work from home for a few years as a single dad. I applaud anyone that’s able to make it work.

  12. What about the case of Jerry Mahoney: Mommy Man, Adventures Of The Gay Super Dad?

    Can I still refer to him as Mommy Man? Or would this be a breach of SAHD reference etiquette?

  13. I think it’s cool. Lots of men would never consider it. I know from personal experience.

  14. Imagine the comments that never find their way to the vocal cords!

  15. I love the list and I’ve heard every one of them. I dislike the smirk and gestures that usually come with the questions even more.


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