Tag Archives: SAHD

Surrey Dad and son banned from playgroup

Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at h...

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I really hope someday I will never come across stories like Surrey Dad Rick Kaselj.

Rick is a fairly new arrival to daddyland, the Stay-at-home Dad world and to Vancouver. Like many Dads before him, he wanted to hook up with other parents for playdates. So Rick went online and found a group to join in Cloverdale – a group made up of Moms. But the group responded to his request with a resounding “you are not welcome”.

The email, signed Cloverdale Mothers Group, apologetically informed Kaselj that more than half of the members want the group to be for mothers only.

“I hate to discriminate,” the author went on, “but hope you can understand when it comes to the security of our children and especially since you have not been able to attend a meetup.”

What an idiotic excuse – for the safety of our children. For someone who hates to discriminate, seems like the author of the email is pretty darn good at it. And saying sorry doesn’t make actions acceptable.

If you are a Mom involved with a group that has to deal with the issue of allowing (apparently dangerous) Dads to be a part of the group, I sincerely hope you will help defend a Dad’s place in these groups.

At the very least, please realize that your actions send a message to your kids. If your 4 year old is like mine, then you know they are not oblivious. The Girl notices when I am the only Dad at a playgroup.

Nothing but Moms in a playgroup sends a message to the kids that when it comes to socializing, women are the only ones who do this with their kids. It is another subtle gender reinforcement to kids who are starting to form their gender identities that the responsibility for socialization is a Mommy’s role; a women’s role.

I know, you are thinking these kids are 4 and this is some pretty heavy stuff you are expecting them to internalize. But the truth is, they do internalize it as they struggle to form their gender roles. They are sponges, trying to figure out how society expects them to act. And they are looking to us for guidance.

This goes double for boys in the playgroup, who see absolutely no male role models in the playgroup setting. How do we expect these boys to grow into caring, nurturing fathers when potential role models get excluded from participating?

I don’t think any of this thinking was at play in this Mom groups decision. Maybe they truly felt threatened by a male in the midst. It wouldn’t be the first time Moms have felt their traditional roles threatened by a Dad. But I believe kids pick up on the underlying messages and decisions about whether to allow a Dad into a playgroup can have consequences for our children.

Thanks to RebelDad and At Home Dad for the link.

“It’s hard to respect a man who is not willing to provide”

Oh my goodness, where do we begin with this? This type of world view is so far out of whack with my own that it is hard to take it serious enough to comment on this point of view. But I’ll give it a shot.

Apparently the preacher in the video, Mark Driscoll, is some kind of rock star amongst the evangelical right. But if you ask me (and others), Driscoll sounds like your typical everyday right wing evangelist who, like all the rest, continually use the word of God to justify and advocate their patriarchal ideals that women do not belong in the workplace and that men are incapable of being caregivers.

A man who does not provide for his family is worse than a non believer?

At home Dads are a case for church discipline?

Having a stay at home Dad in your house is a surefire recipe for divorce?

It’s all crap.

Don’t tell a stay at home Dad that they are living a Peter Pan lifestyle. Stay at home with your kids for a few weeks, Mr. Driscoll. Change the diapers, feed them, care for them when they are sick, shuttle them around to practices, comfort them when they have been hurt. Then come back and tell stay at home Dad’s they are not taking responsibility or providing for my family. Tell them they live a Peter Pan lifestyle.

And since when did “providing for your family” become synonymous with bringing home a pay cheque? Is money the only way a man can “provide” for his family? Sorry, that just does not fly with me. I provide for my family in dozens of ways that are much more valuable than simply bringing home the all mighty buck.

I am also getting tired of hearing the comment that somehow parents who have their kids in daycare are abdicating the responsibility for raising their kids and leaving their kids in the company of “strangers”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the kids started attending daycare both my wife and I made it a priority to get to know the daycare workers, and judging from the level of interaction we have with other parents at the daycare, many other parents make the effort as well. I know which of the Early Childhood Educators have kids, which ones have partners and which ones are single. I know what their hobbies are, what kinds of food/movies/music they like, the sports they play. Everyday we see them, we talk with them. They learn about us, we learn about them. I see them around town. These are not strangers raising our kids. These are people who live in my community. These are my neighbors, not strangers. To call them strangers is an insult.

Via At Home Dad.

CTV looking for Dads

Got an email from Heather Sherman, a producer for CTV. Heather is working on a series on dads and is looking for some dads to talk to. Specifically, they are looking for stay at home dads, ideally with twins or triplets.

Not many more details than that, but I’ve emailed Heather and said she can flesh out a few more details in the comment section here, so hopefully she will post a few more specifics about what they are doing here.

If you are interested, you can contact Heather at CTV. Her phone number is (416) 332 7483 and email hsherman at ctv.ca.

Great video on being a stay at home parent

I absolutely love this video! Part of the Washington Posts’ “On Being” series, it’s a real snapshot of what life is like as a stay at home parent. I emphasis the word parent because in this case the parent happens to be a Dad, but not once in the story does that even come up.

Is the SAHD dying and being replaced by the SAHP – Stay at Home Parent? I, for one, hope so. Like RebelDad, I hope that someday SAHD’s will be a normal part of the parent landscape and not treated like some kind of weird anomaly. This video does that very nicely.

Thanks to ParentDish.com for the lead.

Blogging Daddies: rounding up the daddy blogosphere

Here’s a number of Dad blog posts that I found interesting this week.

Okay, off to play with the Lego!

The Conservative Budget, SAHD’s and the media

I’m reading our local newspaper this morning, digging to find reaction to the federal Conservative government’s new budget and the first non-politician quote I come across is from a stay-at-home dad.

Reymond Page, a stay-at-home dad in Winnipeg, says he would have preferred to see the money spent on health care, education and infrastructure improvements, something he sees directly impacting his family.

“Is this a short-term thing that’s supposed to fire up voters because the Conservatives are throwing money at us? Could that money be used to better effect?” said Page.

It’s really nice to see a media story where a stay at home dad isn’t the focus of the story, or portrayed like an anomaly, but instead is just another regular, everyday participant in our society.

As for the budget itself…man, this kills me because I loath the Conservatives. Actually, I loath the Alliance/Reform wing of the Conservatives. The old Progressive Conservatives were not so bad, and it seems there is much more Progressive Conservative than Reform Conservative in this budget.

True, there is no income splitting, which would have been even better for families where both parents work outside the home. This budget is going straight at the heartland of Conservative support – the single income family with a stay at home parent. Only in the Conservative mind, you have to think they see that parent as a Mom and not a Dad.

Overall, parents in Canada should be fairly happy – I know, I know, yes you can smell the slightest hint of praise for the Conservatives. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his budget speech, “a single-earner family with two children and a $37,000 income will see its income tax bill cut by $620 or nearly a quarter.” That should pretty well get us parents back to even with regards to making the Child Tax benefit taxable income.

Most of that is due to a new tax credit of $310 per child under 18. There is also an increase in the basic personal tax credit for low-income spouses so that it equals that of the working parent, and an increase of $100 to $500 per year in federal government contributions to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan.

There are still a few things missing from this budget for families, first and foremost a dire lack of quality, affordable daycare for many working parents. And in many parts of the country, housing costs are so high that it makes the dream of owning your own home just that – a dream. Address those two major concerns and you’ll make a lot of families in this country extremely happy.

Colbert on SAHD’s – funny or not so

First, let me say I’m a fan of The Colbert Report. Colbert’s satire is usually bang on (who else could come up with such a clever term as “frienemy” to describe the relationship between China and the West – part friend, part enemy. Brilliant).

But I am not sure how to feel about this piece on Stay at Home Dad’s. As I posted over at RebelDad, I get that the satire of the bit is established by framing it in an over the top way (“these guys are dangerous and ruining America”), but on the whole I found the execution quite condescending and patronizing. In the end I think it made stay at home dads look silly. Can’t imagine many single, 25 year old guys watching that and going “hey, that staying at home with the kids looks good. maybe I’ll give it a shot someday.”

But maybe I am being overly sensitive. I tend to be that way sometimes. Check out it and let me know what you think. The clip is below.

Feeling a bit SAHD

Those of you who have read this blog for the past couple of years know that I have been a part-time stay at home Dad, staying home with The Girl a couple days a week. Well, after close to 2 years, my p/t SAHD days are over. I have started work at my new, full time job. Continue reading

Social Aggression

For me, September has always been about transition and that seems to be holding true this year as The Girl begins preschool.

Friday was day one and I had the opportunity to sit with her for a few hours on her first day. It was tough for her, as to be expected, but not as tough as it could have been. Being that I still work p/t outside of the home and am only a p/t SAHD, The Girl has been going to daycare a couple of days a week -a daycare that is affiliated with her new preschool. The two facilities are a few blocks from each other and the daycare kids often go on field trips to “the big centre” to prepare them for the transition. Additionally, a few of her chums from the daycare have “graduated” to the big center, so the place is not without familiar faces. But still, it has been a transition nonetheless, and transition is not an easy thing when you are just shy of 3.

For me, the biggest shock on the first day was seeing just how big the kids are. The difference between The Girl and some of the 4 and 5 year olds was disconcerting, especially when I witnessed first hand some of the bigger girls already practicing the politics of exclusion and other socially aggressive tactics.

The Girl and I went downstairs where the kids have some space to run around and engage in physical play. A group of older girls were dressing up and pretending they were Princesses – fun and fairly innocuous until another girl tried to join in. The small group of girls told the newcomer that she couldn’t play with them – only Princesses were allowed to play with them. Fortunately, a staff member was right there and moved in to intervene, telling the girls that all the kids at the center are friends and that all the kids can play with whomever they want. The big girls immediately backed down and everyone did start playing happily together, but it makes me nervous to think my little girl is about to enter into a massively different world.

Later that night, perfectly on cue, I open my inbox to find the latest issue of Pediatrics for Parents, a newsletter I have just begun subscribing to. One of the articles was entitled Mean girls: social aggressiveness is mainly determined by children’s environment. I was a great and sobering read and brought back a lot of childhood issues for me.

As a boy, I was a fat kid and did face my share of exclusion, teasing and bullying. It was devastating and, even though it was 30+ years ago, I still occasionally find myself feeling like the fat little kid on the playground. I have a sneaking suspicion that what I experienced is only a fraction of the social aggressiveness my daughter may experience in her life simply by virtue of the fact that she is a girl and that frightens me.

I do take solace in the fact that the teachers at the preschool are very aware of social aggression and are on top of nipping it in the bud when it occurs. And I feel confident that we are raising a strong girl who won’t rely on external validation to fuel her self-esteem. But I still worry a bit more when I send her on her way in the morning than I did when she was heading off to daycare with the other 2 year olds, full of hugs and love for everyone.

Housework? Dad Can Do It!

News Flash!

Men CAN do housework AND take care of kids AND run a household just as well as women.

The findings are based on the results of a recent BBC reality TV show in Britain where all the wives and girlfriends in the village of Harby were sent away on a holiday. While they were frolicking in the sun, their partners were filmed getting to grips with child care, domestic chores and community projects. And surprise surprise – the men didn’t fall on their faces.

The piece is fun, but I do have to take exception with Jemima Lewis when she says

As bachelors, they often live quite contentedly in a sea of discarded underpants, beer cans and mouldy crockery. Nothing terrible happens as a consequence: they still manage to hold down jobs, make friends – even pull off the occasional seduction.

I know it is in fun and jest, but the underlying truth perpetuates the myth that all men are slobs, which is far from the truth. Anecdotally, I have known many women who are slobs and many guys who are fastidiously clean. I’d imagine that, like many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but yet conventional wisdom holds that men are slobs and incapable of doing more than lying on the couch drinking beer and watching hockey and soccer…oh, wait a sec

In the meantime, good on ya Dads of Harby village, Nottinghamshire for showing a skeptical world once again that Dad can do it.