Thursday, July 27, 2017

For the past few years the Hat Trick has taken a new course, professionally speaking, that has been a big change from my previous career.  That is the role of Stay at Home Dad.  Back in 2012, after some excruciating health issues with my son, we decided we needed a parent more available at home.  Mrs. East Coast Wing's job was experiencing more success compared with mine, so I took on the role, along with attempting to begin a consulting practice, and a plan to apply to the Ph.D. program in Public Administration at a Big 10 University in New Jersey...because that's what washed-up lobbyists do!

I've learned a lot in this experience.  Some of the lessons I've learned include the following:

  • Starting a consulting practice and trying to pull together clients, not to mention some type of profit, is really, really hard.
  • The amount of hoops one has to jump through to take very legal tax deductions for a business in the home is truly amazing.  
  • Applying to a Ph.D. program in your early 40s is a challenge.
  • In order to apply to the Ph.D. program, taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) 20 years after you previously took it to get into a master's program is also really, really hard.  Even with a prep class.  Needless to say, the Big 10 University was unimpressed with my scores and invited me to not matriculate at their academic institution.  Probably a blessing in disguise given the the current environment on campuses today for anyone even remotely center-right.
But one thing that has been particularly interesting has been the issue of gender stereotypes and how they exist for the Dad who is the at home parent. While in no way am I discounting negative gender stereotypes of women, there does exist similar gender stereotypes of men and its pretty common in the domestic situation.  Examples abound in television, movies and advertising of the "Buffoon Husband/Father" who is incapable of performing any domestic task properly, thereby putting all the work on the long-suffering wife.  That's why I found this recent advertisement so refreshing:

I even commented on this in a forum:  "Nice to see some focus on these issues, and that male gender stereotypes will also be examined in addition to female gender stereotypes.  As a stay-at-home father, trying to keep up with busy kids, while also attempting to stay relevant professionally, has been a huge challenge.  Add in the tired narrative from television, advertising and movies of the buffoon father who can't do anything right and it creates a level of resentment that we (fathers who stay home) are never going to get respect in this area, as well as recognition that in many areas we can do an equally, and sometimes better, job at domestic responsibilities."

Gender stereotypes are a challenge, and I know that women have been fighting many stereotypes for years.  It's unfair and it's unlikely to be solved in a blog post that not very many people read.  But they exist for men as well, and it's been an enormous challenge for me to battle through them.  I think it's getting better, both for women and for men that stay at home, but there is still some work to do.  

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