David and I went on a date to the movies to see The Hunger Games midday on Friday (one of the advantages of having a stay-at-home dad paired with a college instructor on Spring Break). While there, we saw a preview for some new movie about dads where the dads had some near-accidents with children at the park. When the preview ended, an older lady in the front row said, "That's why you don't leave kids with their dads!"
My husband stays home with our children and he does a WONDERFUL job. I feel 100% competent with them in his care. He homeschools a five year old and takes them to see the geese laying eggs in the backyard. He plays endless games of hide-and-seek. He's endured more VeggieTales than any human should have to.
So, here are some request when you encounter a father with his children:
- DO NOT ask him, "Are you babysitting today?" How does a person babysit his own children? He's not BABYSITTING kids, he's raising them!
- DO NOT give unsolicited advice. If a baby's screaming, I know you might think you're helping when you ask, "Have you tried changing his diaper, dear?" However, you're not. (This one goes for moms, too)
- DO NOT assume that he's "unemployed" or "displaced." Believe it or not, some fathers WANT to spend time with their children in the same way that mothers do. My husband is one of those individuals. He's not "unemployed"; he has the job he wants!
- Likewise, DO NOT put down his occupation as "Housewife." Yes, the hospital where I'll be delivering the baby has David's occupation listed as "Housewife." How offensive!
Dads are people, too. Give them the same slack that you give anyone else. Sometimes our children will be angels, sometimes they'll be covered in paste eating a shoe. Don't judge a parent based on the two minutes you see: you have no idea how the rest of the day went!