Defying Stereotypes

Although I write this blog as a way of processing my experience as a father, it has been so nice to have a handful of faithful followers support this effort. It's time I give props to each of them. I thank my wife, of course, and my friends, Lindsay and Lorne, for their continued support. In addition, I thank my mother for the opportunity to occasionally debrief one of my entries. It has been important for me to receive some affirmation for this work. Ok, back to the blog.

Two years ago, I made the decision to stay home with my daughter and walk away from a job and place of employment I truly enjoyed. At the time, it was one of the harder decisions I had to make. Thankfully, I had the support of my wife, who was really the only person who understood just how stressful the decision was for me, even though we basically made the call to do this during the summer before my last full year of working at that school. Towards the end of that final year there, the head of the school made an announcement about my impending departure later than usual, due in large part to my having been a finalist for two middle school division head positions. I eventually learned that there were people who for some reason didn't believe me. They felt that I must have been fired. There's no way I chose to be home with my daughter. I still remember the look of a former colleague who basically stinkfaced me when I told her why I was not returning. To be honest, I thank this person for that look, which in some ways reminded me to live life to the fullest. Without that look, I might not have developed an amazingly rich bond with my daughter, taken a photo with Jay-Z, been in a TimeOut Kids photo shoot and a CBS News report with my daughter, volunteered to be a class parent at my daughter's preschool, been in a segment on the Dr. Oz show, met Freckleface Strawberry herself, Julianne Moore, been able to teach English part time at an amazing organization for gifted students of color, and write this blog! To this day, I remain convinced that if I were a woman, the perception would have been quite different. It's never fun to be the one who is different. Trust me, I know this as a black man who has spent much of his life in independent schools and an interracial marriage. Hopefully, what I have done and will continue to do will affect some change of attitude. 

Close to a year ago, I joined a group with many other SAHDs (yes, we have an acronym!) I've thankfully connected with fellow dad bloggers (Shout out again to Lorne Jaffe and his blog!) and found a wonderful support network that I tap into when needed. I tell everyone that will listen that it's a good time to be an at home dad. 

Well, not everyone agrees with this. I recently watched a segment on the daytime talk show, Bethenny. The segment was to focus on SAHDs. Instead, it led to three SAHDs basically defending themselves and others from some old father and male stereotypes. Check out the segment hereThe fathers were so fantastic. (Way to go, Lance Somerfeld, one of the founders of the dad's group I joined.) Thankfully, another one of the dads wrote an incredibly thoughtful response to the show experience. A must read! 

Look, I am not looking for sympathy. I know that there are still certainly advantages to my being a man. It just seems like it is time for more openmindedness and a willingness to not perpetuate antiquated stereotypes. I am proud to be a SAHD and grateful for this life changing opportunity. I will continue to use this blog as a way of affirming my SAHD status as well as my fellow fathers doing work. In addition, I promise not to use that acronym as much as I did in this entry. :) 

Posted on February 18, 2014 .