Originally posted to The New American Dad (www.BloggyDad.net) on June 10, 2013
It is time for a bit of a mea culpa.
When I started this blog, I opened with a post detailing my choice to be a stay-at-home Dad. In this post, I made a reference to being “Mr. Mom” for my infant daughter. In recent days, my eyes have been opened. I have seen the light and the error of my ways. Therefore, I need to take back those words… strike them from the record, please.
No, my plans have not changed. I still plan to be at home caring for my infant daughter for at least a year, possibly longer. So why am I taking back my words? I can explain…
Technically speaking, I am only taking back two words. Two tiny words made famous by Michael Keaton in 1983: Mr. Mom. While visiting the At-Home Dad Network I mentioned on Friday, I came across their campaign to erase the term “Mr. Mom” from our culture and language. They are on a mission to entirely eliminate this phrase. To borrow a term from one of my third graders, they want to extinctify it. And you know what? I completely agree.
When people refer to Mr. Mom, what are they talking about? They talk about a guy who dedicates most of his time to his children. A father who makes caring for the kids his top priority, whether that means feeding them, bringing them to soccer, or helping them with homework. It is a Dad who does his best to maintain a clean, orderly household while being ready to meet the needs of his children as soon as they pop up. Why do we need to define these actions as being “Mr. Mom”? Why don’t we just call him “Dad”?
In a nutshell, we shouldn’t need to put a special, feminine label on Dads who take on these responsibilities. We should expect it as part of being a Dad! Does this mean all Dads need to stay at home or ignore duties at work? Of course not! But when we find a father who does stay home with the kids, or one who does a fantastic job at balancing work and family, we should not have to label him a “Mr. Mom” for doing so.
In all fairness, this comes with a grain of salt. I, personally, will make an effort to never use the term “Mr. Mom” to describe these men again. Will I be offended if someone uses the term when talking about me, though? Not at all. Will I hear it used around me? Absolutely. In fact, I know certain friends and family members who will use it repeatedly, and I know they also have great respect for my choice. It is fine, and not a huge deal at all. I will laugh when I hear… no scowls.
We can and should start to broaden our minds, though. We really should make an effort to break down these set gender roles even further. I am happy to do my part and I am hopeful others will, too. In short, when we see these Dads, we shouldn’t be so quick to call them Mr. Mom. We should call them what they truly are: Really greats Dads.