Every time I’m at a party or some type of social gathering, conversation turns to the “so, what do you do for a living?” That’s when I look them in the eye, give them my Clint Eastwood tough-guy squint, and say, “I’m a stay-at-home dad.” Okay, there’s no tough-guy squint because, by this point, I’ve already tossed aside any toughness I might have when I shook their hand and gave them a gentle squeeze. Also since the musky odor of Febreeze lingers behind me, I’m not one to be feared. But I don’t like the look that a lot of guys give when I tell them I stay home with my kids. If there’s more than a few people standing with me, they’ll look at one another with a slight smile. This is when I usually make a joke and downplay what I do. I realize there isn’t anything “manly” about the job that I’ve taken on. John Wayne wouldn’t have stayed home and washed the floor, folded laundry, and played dolls with his children. He never would have said, “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t let dishes stack on top of the other.” Society’s vision of what a man is supposed to be is of a tough guy that won’t take anything from anybody. Not many men spend their days wearing rubber gloves scrubbing the toilet while discussing with their children the finer points of making sure all the pee pee hits the water. No amount of flexing in front of the mirror as I scrub will cause my testosterone level to increase.
So I’ve decided to create a club to shake up the stereotype of what a stay-at-home dad is. And that club is the STAY-AT-HOME DAD FIGHT CLUB! First of all, I must say, and I’m sure you saw this coming, that there is no such thing as the Stay-at-Home Dad Fight Club. Got it? In creating this club, I’m not trying to bring out my inner Tyler Durden, because my inner Bob Paulsen won’t let me. The goal of the club isn’t to create anything nihilistic, revolutionary, or explosive, but I wouldn’t mind creating a few bars of soap. What we’ll do is meet in the parking lots of various daycare centers after dropping off our kids, or we will all take turns watching one another’s kids at a local playground. After the drop off, we’ll let our fists fly. Nobody will question our manliness as we walk around the city with our black eyes, fat lips, and bloody noses. We’ll call the group Parent Mayhem. If Chuck Palahniuk wants to write a sequel, he’s got all the material he needs right here.
Until the Stay-At-Home Dad Fight Club begins, the rest of the world will have to accept that a real man is someone who will make hard sacrifices for the betterment of his family. Even if that sacrifice means spending every minute of the day involved in a family-related activity. It worked out for my family that I could stay home with the kids and take care of the house. If you think that makes me less of a man, then I’ll see you at a daycare center parking lot near you.