Don’t call him Mr. Mom… Al Watts is an At-Home Dad. And don’t you forget it.
It happened again.
We were at the furniture store last week. As we strolled the store looking for bedroom furniture for one of the kids’ rooms, the salesman casually asked me what I did for a living.
“I take care of these guys,” I said pointing at our four restless children eagerly hoping I take my eye of them so they can jump on the beds.
“Ah, so you’re a Mr. Mom!” the salesman exclaimed.
“No,” I corrected him, “I’m an at-home dad,” which is my not-so-subtle way of saying I don’t appreciate being called “Mr. Mom.”
This is a conversation I have had frequently over the last 9 and a half years of being an at-home dad.
It’s getting old.
Last time I checked it was 2012. Being an at-home dad is nothing new anymore. Thirty-two percent of dads take care of the kids while mom works for crying out loud!
And yet almost everyone I meet considers me to be a “Mr. Mom,” like from the 1983 movie starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr.
Yeah, 1983… 29 freakin’ years ago!
Now, if I were to refer to an administrative assistant as a “Working Girl,” referencing the movie staring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford from 1988, I’d get slapped in the face.
I want to slap people who call me “Mr. Mom” in the face!
C’mon! Have you not gotten yourselves into the 21st century? Do you not realize how much it emasculates at-home dads by calling them “Mr. Mom?” It’s like asking your buddy if his skirt got in the way when he hits a weak golf shot; a vile put-down that suggests a man is less than a man by calling him a woman. It’s not cool. There is nothing feminine about taking care of and loving your own kids.
There are a few who are starting to realize this. The new movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” shows a lot of involved fathers but never once calls them “Mr. Mom.” A few months ago, a grocery store clerk assumed I was an at-home dad when I was checking out with our four kids on a Tuesday afternoon instead of asking me if it was “daddy’s day” as if I was on rare “babysitting duty.”
However, most people still can’t see it. All they see is a cute reference to an OLD popular movie (I know, 1983!). They don’t understand how completely inaccurate that image is of at-home dads of today. They don’t see the damage it does to the confidence of at-home dads who are in a role that is contrary to social norms.
That’s why I say it’s time to abolish “Mr. Mom” as a term for at-home dads. It’s time for this movie and its inferences of incompetent fathering to go straight to the fires of hell!
At-home dads are not doing women’s work or acting as a substitute for mom until she gets home.
We are dads. We are at home. We are raising our children well.
And we love it.
So pack up your “Mr. Mom” with your leg warmers and your mullet and your Rubik’s Cube.
Get into the 21st century, man, and start using the more accurate term for a father who is the primary caregiver: