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What should we call dads who stay home with the kids?

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 01:08 pm
1/20/2012
What should we call dads who stay home with the kids?
By Janice D'Arcy -Washington Post

Fathers are increasingly the primary caregivers in their children’s lives. We all know that. But knowing it doesn’t mean we’ve accepted it culturally.

For instance, what do we call this emergent group of homemakers?

The options, so far, are limited. The obvious companion to the much-used stay-at-home-mom acronym, SAHM, is SAHD. Say that aloud. It’s clear this is a lame title.

Worse is the 1950s-era “househusband.” Worse still is the appalling-on-several-levels “Mr. Mom.” (We’ll go into depth on this later.)

New York writer and work-from-home father Greg Olear has had enough. He’s proposed a new term: fathermucker.

“People tend to intuitively know what it means,” he said. “It implies the mucking up of gender roles, which is what makes it so appropriate. It conveys the messiness, the blurriness, the sloppiness of SAHD-dom.”

In October Olear published a novel with the same name (Harper Collins) that follows a day in the life of a, uh, fathermucker as he navigates his problem-plagued kids, marriage and self-confidence.

He has also launched a blog (guess what the name is) that features essays from guest writers about the blurring of traditional gender roles in parenting.

In the novel the narrator, “fathermucker,” endures an episode that came from Olear’s own life. When an exterminator comes to his house and sees him at home with his kids, the worker chides: “A little Mr. Mom duty today, huh?”

For the narrator, this “subtle way of asserting a claim to alpha male-hood” triggers a silent fury:

“He derides my fatherhood duty, the implication being that I’m less of a man than he is, because his line of work is predicated on my primal fears ... but it’s more than that: he owns his own business, draws an income, makes a decent living — and I don’t. No matter how certain I am that stay-at-home-fatherhood will benefit my children more than an extra few dollars in the bank, no matter how evolved and twenty-first century my thinking, the fact remains that masculinity — and by extension virility — is inextricably linked to money.”

Olear, himself, finds “Mr. Mom” both offensive and ubiquitous. “Slowly, the notion [of fathers as caregivers] is attaining mainstream acceptance. But it’s almost impossible for a writer, myself included, to talk about without using the term Mr. Mom,” he said.

He’s right. Even the Census Report press release for Father’s Day 2010 had a section on fathers called “Mr. Mom.”

(Never mind that the report under-reported stay-at-home fathers as only about 150,000 because the Census counted only those who were legally married and had been home over a year.)

MGM, too, is apparently interested in re-making the blockbuster 1983 movie that introduced the term. This may not bode well for Olear’s push to coin fathermucker, which, he concedes, “some people are afraid to say out loud, for fear of a(n unlikely) malapropism.”

What do you think? Is it time for a new term to go with the changing responsibilities of fathers?
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 01:21 pm
Dumb, just call them Dads.. cause that what they are.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 01:40 pm
If Mr Mom is a Dad staying home is then a Mom working a Mrs Dad?
Why not call them Mom and Dad no matter where they spend most of the day between 9am and 5 pm.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 03:14 pm
Call 'em both domestic engineers.
Lustig Andrei
 
  6  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 03:25 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Janice D'Arcy really had nothing to write about for yesterday's column. So she came up with this totally meaningless piece of linguistic folderol. As far back as I can remember in infancy, my mother always worked outside the home. (Back in Latvia, where my dad had a business of his own, they worked together but it was still outside the home, in his store.) I don't recall ever hearing the expression "working mom" back then. Several of my friends' mothers also worked. The one's who didn't have outside jobs weren't known as "stay-at-home-moms" and that stupid acronym SAHM is probably no more than four or five years old. I had, frankly, never heard it. As for dads staying at home, what's the big deal? Why would we need a particular word to describe this perfectly normal and acceptable cultural situation? Whatever else, they are still 'dads' or 'fathers' or 'poppas' or whatever affectionate sobriquet one might select. Their economic status in the community is totally irrelevant to their primary function of 'father.'
FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 03:27 pm
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
fathermucker
I'm going with that one......lols.

Stay at home Mom
Stay at home Dad


Or frankly no one should have a Title, who ever stays at home to take care of the family, is or should be choice or circumstances but one has to do it, regardless..There should be no labels full stop in my opinion.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 03:30 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Dads.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 04:06 pm
@dlowan,
You stole my line . . .
thack45
 
  2  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2012 06:16 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:

Janice D'Arcy really had nothing to write about for yesterday's column. So she came up with this totally meaningless piece of linguistic folderol. As far back as I can remember in infancy, my mother always worked outside the home. (Back in Latvia, where my dad had a business of his own, they worked together but it was still outside the home, in his store.) I don't recall ever hearing the expression "working mom" back then. Several of my friends' mothers also worked. The one's who didn't have outside jobs weren't known as "stay-at-home-moms" and that stupid acronym SAHM is probably no more than four or five years old. I had, frankly, never heard it. As for dads staying at home, what's the big deal? Why would we need a particular word to describe this perfectly normal and acceptable cultural situation? Whatever else, they are still 'dads' or 'fathers' or 'poppas' or whatever affectionate sobriquet one might select. Their economic status in the community is totally irrelevant to their primary function of 'father.'

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here. This piece clearly demonstrates that there is never nothing to write about.



and being that I most often see parents in a grocery store, a general term that comes to mind for me would be poor miserable bastards
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 02:01 am
@thack45,
Pomibards?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 02:03 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

You stole my line . . .


Nope.....you claim to have almost preempted mine, while Ceili actually did.
WendyLou
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 02:36 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Smart, if their wife is earning a huge income....considerate for having the character to do so and the tag, just 'dad'.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 03:09 am
I ended up liking "full time dad" the best. "stay at home dad" second best.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 09:06 am
Much ado about nothing. Why does he need a label? Who cares who's staying at home and what we call them? And he's a full-time dad whether he's at home all day or not, isn't he?

0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 10:07 am
@dlowan,
I prefer to think, great minds think alike.. Wink
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 06:48 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

Pomibards?
Question
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jan, 2012 11:50 pm
@thack45,
POor MIserable BastARDS.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:28 am
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

dlowan wrote:

Pomibards?
Question


Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh......Thack, you need to loosen up that brain of yours!
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:29 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

POor MIserable BastARDS.


A mitzvah!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jan, 2012 01:29 am
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:

I prefer to think, great minds think alike.. Wink


I like that one!
0 Replies
 
 

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