Mark Greene is here to tell you.
I titled my site MEGA SAHD, as a tongue in cheek play on the unfortunate sound you make when you speak the abbreviation for Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). As in, “You are a stay at home dad. How SAD for you.” So I pretty much had to add MEGA, which is some kind of children’s animated fighting toy reference. Its meant to conjure brightly colored body armor and a big glowing sword while doing the dishes.
Anyway, I went with it.
As we stay at home dad’s know, being a SAHD is not really sad at all. Its insane. Its alarming. Its exhausting. Its hilarious. It generates a MASSIVE amount of personal growth. It’s frustrating. Its isolating. Its gender ANNOYING. Its deeply satisfying. But no, not really sad. Sad is for funerals. This is a self-improvement boot camp amazing-kid carnival of dirty dishes.
And by the way, life plows on and regardless of what ever tongue-in-cheek self identification one tries to apply to oneself, suddenly, “stay at home dad” becomes “dad of someone in kindergarten.” (Assuming you’re not home schooling.) So even as this stay at home dad is shifting to some sort of hybrid role, I’d like to clear something up.
Who qualifies as a stay at home dad, anyway? Is it about not having a paying job? Is it about some sort of cleaning fetish? Or is it something simpler? Is it about not knowing how to find the door?
I supposed the title SAHD initially implies something akin to “house husband.” Or, “person who seems out of place at play dates.” One FEELS that the Mr. Mom question is floating out there. IE: Why doesn’t that poor man have a job? Is he developmentally disabled?
But the fact is, a lot of stay at home Dads are freelancing or running home businesses. Which means, stay at home dads can even be the primary breadwinner. So, lets just broaden our point of view a little, okay? Aside from the INSANE amount of work it takes to raise a child and keep a house in order which is a big political issue in itself, I think the more specific issue here is does Daddy spend the pre-K years of his child’s life at home, in whatever capacity that may be, and raises his child in an engaged and ongoing way? (While mommy is there too, or working, or creating change or not married to him anymore or any number of other options.) If he does, I’m going with an official SAHD designation.
So there are all these guys who have a paying job or not, but who are staying home and doing the work of raising children. And it’s this way of living that I want to talk about because Daddies are figuring out some really cool stuff. And in doing so are changing the lives of those around them.
There are political, social, phychological and comedic implications around SAHD’s that are no doubt about to become some kind of new zeitgeist in American culture. I dread to think of what Hollywood will make of all of it, but whatever the case, I will say this. Deep and significant growth has happened in my life. Changes so vast, that I scarcely can imagine who I was before my son Sam was born.
It has been a baptism by fire. It has changed me into a person I like a lot more than that guy I used to be. And more than anything else, it has created a real understanding of what work, love, family and joy can be. During the last two years, I went through a divorce, moved three times, learned the rules of soccer, managed vast scheduling challenges, became a successful coparent with my lovely former spouse, and got remarried.
Yes, I got remarried.
I have my own deeply held reasons for all that has come to pass. My devotion to my son Sam has been central to my life, as is a fierce commitment to making a life for myself that I can truly live and look back on with joy. Which is a big part of why I married my wife Saliha. I’m sure all this and more will come out in the wash as I continue to blog.
Oh, and knock off that women are the nurturers thing. It ain’t just the women.
In the meantime, can we just settle what a SAHD is? Cuz, I want to make sure I named my blog correctly.
Originally appeared at MEGA SAHD.