Originally published 6/28/2012 on GoodMenProject.com A reality show is looking for at-home dads who are funny, burn their children and forget them at the park. Should be easy to find lots of them, right?
At-home dads are still a novelty in our culture. This makes them a natural fit for today’s “reality TV” programming. In fact, at least twice a month a casting or production company contacts me for help finding at-home dads for a reality show they are developing.
Most of them seem to understand at-home dads fairly well. Some are even willing to listen to my suggestions on how they could accurately frame a show.
And then there is the casting company who sent me this email the other day:
ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME DAD?
Do you go to a stay at home dad support group?
Do you have a dad blog talking about being a dad and the hilarities of raising babies and toddlers?
Have you caught your child’s high chair on fire?
Have you walked in and watched your toddler creating art with their own poop?
Have you left your playground without your child?
Does your stomach ache at the sight of a sonogram?
We are looking for dynamic “Mr. Moms.” If you are single, widowed or mom is MIA and you are therein daycare we are searching for you. You must have at least one newborn, toddler, or up to kindergarten kid.
Would be excellent if we found a group of friends, interconnected, going through the development of at-home fatherhood together. Send us your stories of visiting the parks, setting play dates, organizing birthday parties, and handling any of the other challenges and mishaps of being MR MOM.
Uh, I man. I turned on stove! Why smell like burned plastic and hair? What pretty brown wall painting! OOOO... do not like smell from that small human. I run way from scary child!
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!
I would really like to ask them how their sick and twisted minds conjured up this load of diaper fill. Sadly, I don’t have to. I know there are people who still believe this is how bad men are when they take care of children. Sure, there are some men who are not great at parenting.
But only a demented child abuser would fit the character profile they are looking for!
Despite my reservations of this company’s ability to accurately portray at-home dads, I decided to send in my application anyway:
YES, I AM A STAY-AT-HOME DAD.
Yes, I go to a stay-at-home dad support group. Our group is called LinOma Dads and they are an awesome group of guys I and our kids get together with each week. I also will be attending the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention which this year is in Washington D.C. on October 6.
I don’t have a personal blog but write for several. I’d like to think some of what I write about is hilarious.
I’ve never caught a high chair on fire. Normally I only cook food, not my children.
I’ve always changed our babies’ diapers regularly so they never sat in their filth long enough to use it as paint.
I have never left my children at the playground because I can remember what they look like and I can count to four.
The sonograms I have seen of our children gave me a giant lump in my throat and caused my eyes to water; they never made me want to hurl.
I am not a dynamic “Mr. Mom.” I am not a man doing a mom’s job at all. I am a dad who happens to be home everyday parenting our four children, ages 10, 7, 5 and 4, and I’m pretty good at it. Their mother is not MIA. She is a very involved and loving mother who works hard to make sure we have what we need as a family.
I have a lot of interesting challenges being an at-home dad of four, but the most difficult is dealing with uninformed people like you who think dads are idiots.
Wonder if I’ll get a call back?
She was 24 with long wavy chestnut hair and a smile that lit up every room she entered. She was riding in a UTV driven by her boyfriend in a field in western Iowa. He didn’t see where the earth had given way to all the recent rain. The UTV hit that invisible rut, threw her out and rolled.
She was 11 with long straight golden brown hair and bright, wondrous eyes. She was riding a dark black horse on a trail in Yellowstone National Park. At the top of a cliff, the horse veered off the trail, threw her off and both tumbled down the near vertical face of a 300 foot high canyon.
One of them died.
One of them didn’t.
This was the question running through my mind during the funeral. This was a question I could not answer. Nobody could answer it but God. It was fate, determined by God, that I was at the funeral of the 24-year-old daughter of our friends and had not, six years earlier, been at my own 11-year-old daughter’s funeral.
When I first saw Anna lying motionless on the face of a cliff in Yellowstone, I assumed she was seriously injured, possibly dying. With my eyes, I could draw a straight line from the point where the horse left the trail to Anna glued to the canyon face about halfway down to the horse, dead, in the creek at the bottom. There was no way the horse didn’t land on her on the way down or at least hit her with one of its hooves.
But the horse didn’t even touch her. She had a bruised lung, a few scrapes and nothing else. It should have been worse.
I was thinking of this as I listened to the service of our friend’s daughter. I was imagining myself in the front pew, my beautiful daughter silent in a casket a few feet in front of me, my wife inconsolable next to me. It was surreal, devastating. Our family and our lives, irreparably changed like theirs now was.
After the funeral, we chatted briefly with our friends. Actually, my wife spoke to them, I was silent. There were no words I could imagine saying that would be of any comfort. One day their daughter was alive, full of life. Then they were burying her. What can you say?
All I could do was be there, hug them and let them know we would support them as much as we could.
In a few months, Anna will be heading off to college. She has grown into a kind, caring and confident woman. I can’t wait to see what comes next for her. I’m grateful I get to see it.
The rain fell down heavy from dark clouds and struck his body like a thousand pebbles all at once. Each drop seemed to pass right through him before landing softly on the pavement. He didn’t feel the wetness of the rain, only the pain of it. He was a tall, slender man, except for the slight bulge about his mid-section. His hair was dark brown and thick and short but wet it looked black and thin pressed down on his receding hairline. He had a boyish face except for the puffiness under his brown eyes that gave away his late 30’s age. His arms dangled at his sides with his keys clutched in his right hand and a closed tall golf umbrella in his left. Absently, with his soft-sided faux leather briefcase shoved under his left arm, he just stood there next to his jet black Lexus, eyes cast down, absorbing the pain. The light from the open garage in front of him did not seem to penetrate the outside making it appear as if there was a glass wall between him in the cold rain and the dry warmth inside.
A slow squeak caught his attention and he lifted his head. In the doorway between the garage and the house he could see four eyes staring at him. He squinted through the rain and the pain and saw the flowing auburn hair of his oldest daughter and the light golden ponytail sticking straight up in the middle of the head of his youngest daughter. They blinked. He looked down. The rain fell harder.
How was he going to tell her? She would do what needed to be done, he knew that, but it didn’t make it hurt any less. There would be fewer smiles from her for some time or maybe no smiles ever again. Oh how he lived for her smiles! They were enormous and lit up her face brighter than the sun. He could get blinded by just one of those smiles. He lived a lifetime in each moment she smiled. Now they would be gone. Their future changed. Their everything unknown...
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