This week I published my 10th “Man on Third” blog post. Like many things in life, when I started the blog, I didn’t quite know where it was going to go and how I’d feel about it. I’ve learned that I really like to write about things that are important to me and I hope that at least for a few minutes I’ve entertained you and made you think.
One of the absolute unexpected outcomes of my blog is that I’ve learned that my mom has some strong and great “takes” about many topics – well, I actually already knew that – but I didn’t expect that my blog would spur her to write and share these opinions with me. It’s been a true joy. And now, with her permission, I’m going to share her response to my latest blog “Bizarro World” with all of you. As you’ll see, she’s quite the expert in parenting (just ask her) having four adult children and seven grandchildren, and has some pretty profound things to say.
Take it away Iris!
As the mother of four adult children, two of whom are “Mr. Moms”, I want to start by correcting a gross injustice – that of calling fathers who care for their children “Mr. Mom.” By doing so it is giving credence to the assumption that “Mom” is the gold standard of parenting.
Well NEWS FLASH! It’s 2012 and the world has changed. Mr. Mom is not the mother and not the nanny. He is Mr. Dad – a father who is perfectly capable of making the minute-to-minute decisions involved in being a stay-at-home parent or in some cases the only parent in a single parent household. Mr. Dads are now the new other gold standard along with their Ms. Mom counterparts who have made the life choice of being their child’s stay-at-home parent. If you really want to see this in action, visit the Upper West Side of NYC, ground zero of the freelancer, who in many cases has become a stay at home “Mr. Dad.”
Why are Mr. Dads disparaged by Ms. Moms? I don’t know and can only guess. One guess is that it is difficult to admit that someone who has always been thought of as inferior for the job can actually do the job just as well, and in some cases, even better (Kind of like men accepting women in the workplace at jobs traditionally done by men. Or thinking that someone can chew gum and still be intelligent.) It is the realization and acceptance of equality.
The other theory is that it is difficult to let Mr. Dads into the inner circle because Mr. Dads are men, and mothers sitting around coffee klatching or sitting on a park bench in the playground watching their children will not be as free to discuss whatever it is that women discuss when men are not present. Whatever!
The language we use is an indication of our thinking. Per the Rev. Jesse Jackson, NY’s melting pot has become a “mosaic” where people maintain their identity while becoming part of the whole picture. Or “handicapped” has morphed into “disabled” and subsequently into “differently abled.” You may say that “a rose by any other name…”, but in reality, changing what we call something eventually changes the way we think about it and makes us more enlightened and accepting. This is the very reason that the expression Mr. Mom should be changed to Mr. Dad.
The fact remains that I see my sons as Mr. Dads and am really, really proud of the terrific fathers they have become. At the same time I want to give kudos and lots of respect to the moms who work all day at the office then come home to all the joys and stresses of being both a wife and mother and just keep juggling.
Thanks mom – that was a great take. By the way, I chew gum all the time, which may or may not prove your point.
Readers, let my mom know what you think, she LOVES the feedback and perhaps will spur her to write some more.
Photo of Jesse Jackson courtesy of Flickr/University of Central Arkansas