Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless: So are you still being Mr. Mom?
Me: You know, the term “Dad” works just fine.
Sure, I could have just let it go. I could have replied, “Yes, I am still being Mr. Mom.” thus avoiding the awkward pause that ensued. Don’t take it personally, I used to tell myself. It’s just a (tired, lame, unfunny) joke. But this terminology is pinned on me often and I have recently decided I am done with just letting it go.
It’s not that I feel emasculated wrangling the Twins all week. I challenge any “man’s man” who thinks stay-at-home parenting is for sissies to actually try it for one day. (In fact, I imagine it could make for a thoroughly entertaining reality show, with each episode culminating in a grown man sobbing.) It’s definitely not easy, but at the same time it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Many fathers would jump at the opportunity to spend as much time with their children as I do, especially at this age. I blinked when they were eight months old and was suddenly thrown into a DeLorean which promptly accelerated to 88 miles per hour, traversing space and time to today, as I open my eyes and find them eleven months old. Until I can get the Flux Capacitor to flux again, I make an effort each day to take it all in (and document it in HD) because I know how fleeting babyhood is.
It’s not that I feel like less of a man for shouldering the dishwashing, laundering, and cooking responsibilities. I don’t love to do them, but neither do most females on whom the duties usually fall (huh-huh, I said “duties”), and if I’m the one who’s home all day it makes sense for me to homemake the hell out of each task with finesse even June Cleaver would envy.
I don’t even mind referring to bottles as “babas,” diapers as “diapies,” and socks as “sockies.” To non-parent men, this may sound like the ultimate warrant for Man-Card revocation, but cuteness is more powerful than you could ever imagine. And yes, for any Textbook Parenting Enthusiasts with tape around the bridge of your glasses, I will tangent a little to say that while The Research dictates that using Baby-Talk Latin rather than The King’s English is detrimental to language acquisition, I’m not all that worried. I grew up thinking the entire English-speaking world called flatulent bursts “boofers” due to my parents’ euphemistic methods, but easily adopted the “fart” nomenclature once I began attending school. There’s also the fact that my children are smarter than everyone else’s, so with that in mind I’m quite certain they will be just fine. Until they are speaking in phrases and I actually feel it’s hindering Shakespeare-caliber vocalizations, I will continue to cute-ify my language. It’s my prerogative as The Only Adult in the Room Most of the Time.
I willingly make falsetto princess voices during storytime. I match my daughter’s pink clothing with flair. I carry a purselike diaper bag because hip dad-themed ones are too small for twin reinforcements.
Yes, I’m comfortable enough in my manhood to be completely okay with all of the above because I absolutely love being a dad.
However, if there is one thing I will not tolerate, it is being called “Mr. Mom.” Whether you realize it or not, by using this seemingly-casual, jokey movie reference, you are overtly calling me a woman. And that’s where I draw the line.
So, yes, if you insist on disregarding my anatomy, I will retaliate with a sufficient layer of snark. I’ll call you out on it and attempt to steer you in a more open-minded direction. It may make you uncomfortable, but I’m hoping it will also make you second-guess your choice of words.
I may be filling roles you consider motherly, but I still pee standing up, and if you suggest otherwise, you may find some on your vehicle.
Don’t take it personally. It’s just a joke.
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