Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Staying Home #1

(Even if you weigh 300 pounds and have a face like Jerry Quarry, when women see you taking care of your kids they see this fellow right here.)
The other day at the pumpkin patch my friend Leigh (all names fictionalized) asked me if I had a blog, and when I said “not really” she said if I had one, she would read it.  

I guess I should have asked her what sort of thing I was writing about on my imaginary fantasy blog, but it didn’t occur to me, so now I’m here with no real prompt.  

I glance over at my friend Hunter’s blog to see what kind of things he writes about.  He’s another stay at home dad/Browns fan/writer/longhaired deadbeat type like myself.  He has three boys - one of them recently got his hair cut, it seems, but that’s no help to me.  I’m not really into that sort of thing, as a writer.  Also my wife takes the kids to get their hair cut and takes the lead on most hair-related matters.  

I find the nuts and bolts of parenting, and life in general I suppose, to be pretty boring.  I like writing about sex and pain and death and revenge and things like that.  It would be a strange beat, the sex/pain/death/revenge/stay-at-home-parenting beat.  I’m not sure what quarterly I’d submit my work to.  

Sex is a natural fit, I guess.  I could be the stay at home dad who just writes about sex all the time.  Sex, sex, sex.  Sex in the morning, sex in the night, sex every single moment of your godforsaken life.  

I might be able to get away with it because I’m not that guy who has sex all the time.  That annoying fucker, the one who’s like “you’ve got to keep the magic alive with little touches like roses and massages and get her some nice bath lotion” or whatever the fuck.  Eat a dick, asshole.  

Or worse, his wife, some successful novelist whose work the New York Review of Books says “simmers with the savory broth of greatness” or some gushing poppycock, who writes an Op/Ed in the Times about how to be happily married and make time for your man and keep the spark alive and blah blah blah.  Fuck you, too, bitch.  

This isn’t going well, I feel.  I don’t think this is what Leigh wants to read.  I imagine she was thinking I’d be writing about how to listen to your children and respect them as people and put your family first or some crap like that.  I’m falling asleep just thinking about it.  Let’s get back to the sex stuff.

Sex is the key thing that makes stay-at-home fatherhood hard.  The rest of it is really very easy.  Not easy in the sense of, easy as falling off a log.  I mean, it takes work.  There are butts to be wiped (h/t - Hunter) and dishes to be washed and endless, endless laundry that never stops because kids like to wear four different outfits every day and shit their pants regularly and aren’t even embarrassed about it.  

It’s easy, though, in the sense that for cultural reasons there is a very low standard of success for stay-at-home dads.  Where stay-at-home moms have this ceaseless passive-aggressive competition that’s constantly hanging over every aspect of their lives every waking minute of every day, stay-at-home dads are exempt.  The shame that Kate Winslet feels having forgotten her kid’s snack for the 47th time at the playground in “Little Children” is not really present for a stay-at-home dad, at least it needn’t be.  No one expects you to remember to bring a snack, or sunblock, or a change of clothes.  The moms fall all over themselves trying to help you out, and trying sincerely to make sure you know that these things happen to everyone, and we’re all in this together, right?

A stay-at-home dad can walk out of the house, two kids in tow, with a diaper crammed into his back pocket and figure everything will pretty much work out ok.  In fact not only will it be OK, he’ll be such a hero other dads start to hate his guts because their wives won’t shut the fuck up about what a great dad he is.  And what did he do that makes him so great?  Nothing.  He talked his kid through some stupid tantrum about what color sippy cup he brought, and how whatever was in it wasn’t exactly what the kid expected.  For this (something all stay-at-home moms do every day) women will build you a nine-foot marble statue and put it on the capitol steps if you let them.  Which you shouldn’t because you won’t get invited to poker games.  

So now, once you’ve settled in and gotten used to this treatment and made your first real stay-at-home-mom friend, you’re going to realize the situation you’re in, which is that you’re spending a lot of time with a woman who has an unaccountably high opinion of you during the day while her husband is at work.  You’re developing nice wholesome relationships with her kids, which by the way if you’re ever trying to seduce young mothers is the beginning, middle and end of the playbook, and she’s opening up to you about the problems in her marriage and how she’s not sure it’s working out.

I slipped that last one in on you.  DO NOT LET WOMEN DO THIS.  There is nothing to be gained by listening to a woman complain about her husband.  The way you do not want the conversation to go is as follows:

My husband leaves his dirty dishes all over the house.

Yes, my wife does that too.  It makes me feel so unappreciated.

YES!  It’s so nice that there is a man who understands.

This is DEFCON-1 level seriously bad shit right here, my friend.  This woman is starting a fight with her husband about this TONIGHT.  Take it to the bank.  And even if your name doesn’t come up, it’ll be hanging in the air like a stale fart.  

Let’s try this again, but with a slightly different response from our hero, the SAHD.

My husband leaves his dirty dishes all over the house.

Yeah, I still throw my dirty socks at the hamper like a goddamn chimpanzee.  Drives my wife crazy, makes her feel so unappreciated.

Wow, I guess all men just fucking suck.

I’ll drink to that, sister!

See what you’ve done there?  If your excuse for the previous exchange was that you just wanted to be there for your friend, validating her feelings, well, here’s your chance, Romeo.  Validate her in a way that 1) reaffirms how much you appreciate your wife, even though you don't always show it and 2) closes down any stray thoughts she might have about how maybe you’d be a better husband than the one she’s already got.  

Well, my writing time for the day is up.  Your assignment for the day is to Google “Hot Dad-on-mom sex” (in quotes like that) and look at what comes up.  Yep.  This page (once the spidering is done) and one other page that says “It turns out that there wasn't much enthusiasm in the room for hot Dad-on-Mom sex either.  Go figure.”  

Go figure indeed.  Til next time, Dear Reader.  


Will said...

Funny. I can tell you've been there. Diaper in the back pocket is much more suave than a whole diaper bag.

Eric Brakman said...

Well done, Adam. I, too, feel your pain.