Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm Minding the Kid, Though He's Often Not Minding Me

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to a fascinating article about a report from the Census Bureau and how it classifies stay-at-home dads and the work we do. He seemed annoyed by the way the report willfully skews its view, assuming always a mom-centric child-rearing experience, where a dad is only a "designated parent" when he's the only parent.

Me, though, I'm glad this stay-at-home dad thing is still staying off the mainstream radar, more or less. I mean, I'm a white, middle-class, suburban father in a two-parent household. There aren't a lot of opportunities out there for me to feel "alternative" or "subversive."

I have had the conversation now and again where someone, usually an older woman, says, "Oh, giving Mom a break today, huh?" Or where someone, usually an older man, says, "Oh, got the day off from work today, huh?" But mostly moms on the playground say that they think it's great that I can do what I'm doing. I suppose that in itself is evidence of a bias, since I am certainly not telling any stay-at-home moms how great it is that they can do what they're doing, but still. I almost never face a negative bias.

But to be so out of the mainstream that I'm not even measured? That my contribution isn't even considered as part of the equation? I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I find that appealing. I suppose we'll see if I still find it appealing when I'm sitting in interviews someday with these days as an entry on a resumé, with a potential employer questioning what exactly I did all this time.

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