December 14, 2012

Stay-At-Home Dads Rock Your Socks Off (Part 1)

New research shows that stay-at-home dads are seeking more legitimacy, and reaching out to reduce the marginalization of their lifestyle choice. I think I’ll hop on the bandwagon. Go daddy, go!

Some dads stay at home by choice, others were thrown into the role by layoffs and the current “mancession” that our country is under. Regardless of the reasons, there’s research to prove that we’re a sexier breed of dads, and we should wage a war against people who look down their noses to us, men and women alike.

According to authors Gokcen Coskuner-Balli (Chapman University) and Craig J. Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “Stay-at-home fathers aggressively pursue recognition by and acceptance from mainstream institutions, with a particular emphasis on the mass market and iconic household and family-oriented brands. Accordingly, they vigilantly watch for mass media representations and advertisements that positively acknowledge their collective identity,”

Many dads are taking to the net to join message boards, forums, and the likes for advice, ideas, and overall recognition. There are many out there, and a quick Google search will show you, but iDaditude and Dad Stays Home are just two of the sites I’ve actually looked at, but here’s a shocker…

Maybe I’m strange.

I don’t follow the trends in the research that Coskuner-Bali, and Thompson authored. I really don’t seek any kind of recognition or acceptance for my “career”, but I’m probably an exception. I’ve read a few stories from the sites above, but I never put any serious thought or effort into “portray(ing myself) as a gender vanguard breaking free from the constraining mandates of breadwinner masculinity and paving the way for other (middle-class) men to enact a more rewarding and socially redeeming model of masculinity and fatherhood,” I’m just a regular dude who’s making lemonade out of life’s lemons.

Coskuner-Bali and Thompson said, “Prior research has found that consumers who fall outside of the norm either hide their stigmatic traits or engage in countercultural rebellion against mainstream standards of normalcy and acceptability.”

Admittedly, it took me a while to confidently tell people that I’m a stay at home dad. Like I was some sort of reject or something. Usually when I was asked, I would say something like “I work from home” or I would avoid the question all together. That is an admission of guilt on my part because, for some reason, I did feel inferior to the workingman I once was. Covered in sweat, grease, and chemicals, back and feet sore from 12 hours in steel toe boots, I felt dignified.

Ohh how ignorant I was.

The Dalai Lama, said it best when asked what was most surprising about humanity, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was referring to people like me.

More in the second blog…

Image Credit: MCarper / Shutterstock

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