Stripper poles should not be a part of a home. If you own one and I’ve offended you I apologize (sorry mom), but I personally can’t imagine explaining it to my daughters. This new exercise fad serves as a reminder of all the stuff I’ve pushed aside as a responsible parent.
If I didn’t have kids I’d listen to more obscene radio morning show DJ’s with names like Crap Boy & Charlie (oh Crap Boy, you’re so funny and relatable). I’d pee with the door open. I could once again pick my nose anywhere in the house without a little voice nagging, “Put it in a Kleenex dad!” My computer’s music library wouldn’t have all the bad-titled songs “X’ed” out. And I would have a stripper pole. Twelve of them. Less for exercise and more for structural integrity… but yeah.
Come to think of it I’ve been style-shedding for quite some time. Getting married was the first blow. Suddenly my framed Aerosmith poster wasn’t good enough for the living room. Or the basement. Or the frame itself (Dear S. Tyler: I’m sorry*). Gone were the shot glasses above the TV. Everything I gave up was replaced in equal proportion by either a candle or another pillow.
*In a wildly unrelated side story that just crossed my mind: When I was 22 I loved Aerosmith. Borderline unhealthy admiration. Anyway, I was at a dance club trying my damndest to talk to/dance with/touch the shoulder of any girl who’d allow it. One took an interest and danced several songs with me until the DJ played a Run DMC Walk This Way remix. She yelled, “That’s awesome, I love Aerosmith.” My heart leapt. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a plastic embossed card with the wings logo on it and yelled back, “Me too, I’m in the fan club!” The remainder of the night I danced alone.
The change keeps coming in waves. My shower used to simply house soap, shampoo and a razor. Those items all multiplied and had smelly little babies that exfoliate, scrub, and silken. My shower has evolved into its current form… an explosion of rubber ducks, foam alphabet letters and Nick Jr. paraphernalia.
Everywhere I look I see things I’ve either given up or altered for the sake of my wife and kids. Why do we do it… as men, that is? Why we change for our spouses is easy – sex. A high percentage of living room Aerosmith posters directly correlate to a low percentage of boobies.
But why change for our children? They don’t care how badly we decorate. They don’t see the radio morning shows’ raunchy content as negative. They just soak it all up and shape their lives around it. Therein lays the answer.
We dads modify our behavior in hope of being better men, thus creating a better environment for our kids to be shaped. We give up or suppress the ugly in order to grow more beauty. Sure, some of the vices we enjoy as adults are fun and tough to give up, but one look at those innocent, inquisitive eyes and you’d sacrifice anything for them.
I’m a little winded by all this sappiness. I could stand to exercise. You got a pole at your place I can use? I’ll bring my own Aerosmith mix tape.
Nathan Bright is a 30-something stay-at-home dad who resides near St. Louis, MO. He is a husband to an amazing woman and father to a doubly amazing 2 year old little girl. His blessed home is scheduled to be even more blessed in March, as Nathan and his wife will welcome a second daughter to their family. When Nathan is not blogging for The Daddy’s Den, he writes and illustrates his own children’s books. Available for purchase immediately is Maddi Patti and her Stay-at-Home-Daddy.
During the course of this blog I’ve established I’m a stay-at-home parent. Although at-home parenting isn’t a new concept it is difficult for some people to imagine a man doing. I’m not complaining – I have a hard time erasing the conventional from my own brain (Johnny Carson is on at bed time, right?).
While trying to come up with a topic for this blog it hit me… I’m not that different. At all. From a woman, that is.
People want to get my perspective on being an at-home dad. They genuinely want to believe I make blow torch grilled cheese and mop the floor with my daughter’s pj’s while she’s inside.
The reality is far from glamorous. I, like any stay-at-home parent, wake blearily to a schedule full of diapers, cooking, cleaning, planning, playing, instructing, yelling (from me) and crying (me again). I don’t see how it’d be possible for someone to do it any differently. Who would have time to build an erector set sweeping machine when boogers are stuck in their kids’ hair (and the dog’s, although I don’t know how exactly). It takes every second of the day to accomplish stuff… in a standard, non-sensational way.
What I’m saying is that when asked for my perspective I can’t imagine it being too far off from what my female colleagues would say. If there are things to cook… I cook. Things to clean… I clean. I can say I’m rather quirky, so I do put a little flavor on my day to make it interesting. Next time you have your children for the day try communicating mostly with movie quotes. Here are a few to get you started:
Forrest Gump “Lieutenant Dan. Ice cream!” Used when giving child ice cream. Or asparagus – it just sounds better to call it ice cream. Kids love being fooled like that.
Taxi Driver “You talkin’ to me?” Use this phrase when child demands something of you without saying please. Or just recite random lines from “Taxi Driver” to telemarketers. It does wonders for your morale.
Fight Club Tyler Durden: “Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?” There is no need to quote this other than to watch your two-year-old’s face try to figure out what the hell you just said.
Pulp Fiction Marsellus: “In the fifth, your ass goes down. Say it.”
Butch: “In the fifth, my ass goes down.” When appropriately modified to reflect time, this quote can work wonders for naps.
But I digress. Hey look, a job’s a job and you do what ya gotta do to make it all come together, whether male or female. Unfortunately, the only alluring side to what I do comes from my quirkiness, not my manliness.
Now it’s time to welcome my wife home from work with another movie quote I’m sure she’ll love. “Frankly my dear…”
Nathan Bright is a 30-something stay-at-home dad who resides near St. Louis, MO. He is a husband to an amazing woman and father to a doubly amazing 2 year old little girl. His blessed home is scheduled to be even more blessed in March, as Nathan and his wife will welcome a second daughter to their family. When Nathan is not blogging for OurMilkMoney.com’s The Daddy’s Den, he writes and illustrates his own children’s books. Available for purchase immediately is Maddi Patti and her Stay-at-Home-Daddy.
Start by embracing “change” as our only hope to a brighter future, and see the rainbow at the end of the storm.
Written by Ally Loprete
Have you noticed that there is no longer a basic definition of what a typical American Family entails? These days, families are being redefined by what works for them as a means of survival. There are those that oppose the unfamiliar, which is certainly understandable, and those that embrace it, which is what I believe is THE ANSWER.
Nowadays, anything goes. Men are staying at home with the kids while the women go to work. Women are becoming business owners while staying home and running the household. Families are working together to bring in extra revenue with small side businesses. Men are playing bigger roles in their children’s lives, contributing more with what used to be considered the women’s responsibility: cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, grocery shopping, helping with homework, etc. Gay men and women are getting married and having children together. Women are running for office, and winning.
If this isn’t a revolution, I don’t know what is.
Standing ovation and Bravo!
I honestly love all of it! I am so impressed with the way American families are coming together and making it work. I know it’s been a struggle for so many of us, but I think it’s important that we are all aware of how much we have achieved already just by surviving… and all the glorious places we can go to from here. If you are a parent, pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished and the innovations that are activating a brighter future for all of us, especially for our children.
You don’t see it yet?
Okay, suppose for a moment that you deserve the difficult time that you are living in. It doesn’t matter where you think you went wrong, the truth is, you probably didn’t. We all remember the basic things our parents and teachers told us growing up, and the simple keys to happiness.
Get good grades, stay in school, get a degree, marry the right person, save 10% of your paycheck, work your way up the ladder and earn your increase every year, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Okay, so maybe we deviated from the advice just a tad, but so what? We were promised a pretty secure and stable life with 2 cars, a house, some pets, stuff to play with, family vacations, college for our kids and a pension for early retirement. So what went wrong? Why are so many of us left scratching our heads after doing what we were told?
We’re broken down, beaten up, stressed out, over-weight, over-medicated, under cared for, jobless and hopeless, short-saled, repo-ed, and drowning in debt. We have blamed every president, politician, pushy boss, parent, partner and professor. We are fighting with our spouses, yelling at our kids and blaming ourselves. Sheeeeesh!
Let’s all just stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and decompress.
Did it ever occur to you that this is all just part of our journey? This may not be a punishment. This “challenging” time may very well be an opportunity to rebuild an even better tomorrow for ourselves and for our children. We are living in a radical time of ground-breaking technology, new forms of mass communication, insurgent medical discoveries, and we live in a country where no one can REALLY tell us “no”. Sure, society might discourage us from trying something new or to taking risks, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. We need to re-program our minds to see the benefits of CHANGE, and how we are already in the middle of a spectacular revolution.
In the words of the late, talented and insurrectionary Michael Jackson, “Make that change.” Look in the mirror and start with yourself. Stop fighting with your spouse, your business partner, your boss or your neighbor. Look for the commonalities of what we are all trying to achieve, and realize the power we have in togetherness.
We are a new collaboration of men and women, alike. We are a partnership of moms and dads, of CEOs, COOs, and CFOs in our lives and in all that is important to us. We are united and we celebrate our differences. We are unapologetic for who we are, and accepting of those that have different viewpoints. We are each other’s teachers. We embrace each other’s special qualities, exceptional idiosyncrasies and unique characteristics because it is our only hope to solve this puzzle. We have only just begun to realize that by coming together we may all have a necessary contribution to the answer we have been seeking. This is a very distinctive time for us all, and we have the power to make a difference.
A rainbow cannot exist without first the presence of a storm. We deserve that rainbow.