I still remember it like it was yesterday. I had finally made a decision. After months of gut-wrenching introspection, I was finally ready to reveal my grand plan. “Honey, I have decided that I’m gonna quit my job, and stay at home with the little one.”
Deciding to stay home was the best decision I have ever made. I enjoy spending all day with my child. There is no greater feeling then seeing a smile come across my little ones face, and having my entire insides light up because of it. There are days that are demanding, and at times I feel completely exhausted, however one utterance of the word “da-da” makes all the dirty diaper changes, and carpet cleanses worth it.
I love going places with my baby even though we draw crowds everywhere we go (ok more so the baby than I,) but there are some downsides as well. Sometimes the glaring crowds we get are terrific; however there are other times that we run into individuals that want to get a little too close for comfort. I can’t help but notice that people are much more likely to want to offer up ‘advice’ when they see the little one and me out and about, yet the opinions and advice are much less frequent when mom is also present. The same can be said for visiting family. Everyone, especially the female relatives, seems to not only have an opinion on how I should raise my child, but at times they outright ignore me and proceed to do the very things I ask them to not do.
Now I know this may seem like I am being overly sensitive here, but honestly it can get very frustrating. I watch the way that women completely trust the judgment of other women, yet they seem very reluctant to accept that a man has a firm grasp on parenting. Part of the issue for me stems from the fact that as a stay at home father, I see my child every day. I know the habits and behaviors of my child better than anyone, mom included. Now, this isn’t an indictment on mom. She is a wonderful woman that loves our child unconditionally. She has a full time job, and goes to school full time as well. She gives me the utmost respect as a parent, and for that I thank her dearly.
There are others however that don’t show that same respect. I have been around people that have valued the words of my child’s mother over mine despite that fact that I have my child every day, and mom doesn’t! I believe that as a society we have gotten too comfortable with the idea of dad being either the financial provider, or simply the bumbling idiot that we see on too many television programs. There are many great fathers that do a damn good job of raising children, and it is time that fathers are shown more respect. I don’t want it to seem that I am advocating fathers over mothers; I just want fathers to receive the same respect that they can take care of the little ones with the same precision as their female counterparts. Now off the soapbox I go, I smell a dirty diaper that needs changing!