Posts Tagged ‘ gender ’

How I Was Wrong About Male Daycare Workers

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

When I starting writing yesterday’s The Thought Of A Male Daycare Worker Weirds Me Out, it was meant to be a simple story about you calling me “Miss Daddy.” Instead, it took a random turn by the 5th sentence:

I broadcast my opinion (which has now proven itself to be unpopular and undefended) that the thought of a male daycare worker is weird.

In case it matters, I am referring specifically to a (hypothetical) full-time male daycare worker in the 2 to 3 year-old classes.

The main reason this concept is “weird” to me is because I find it strange that a man would choose to work full-time with children who are still potty training, but who still need their diapers changed.

It just seems like there wouldn’t be that many men wanting that job.

However, I could totally see a part-time storyteller/music man/entertainer who “floats” around to all the classes, regardless of a child’s age group.

Technically, a person’s opinion can’t be wrong. But there were definitely some things I predicted about how other people feel, which I realize now, were wrong.

I was wrong to think that a lot of other parents feel the same way as I do about this. They don’t.

Here’s a quote from yesterday that is completely off with reality:

“I think it’s one of those nearly irrelevant conversations that could cause quite a stir on Facebook, but in reality, I would bet most moms and dads would agree that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with a male worker at their kids’ daycare.”

Wrong. That’s not true. That’s not how they feel.

That’s how I feel.

And honestly, it’s not a belief I am passionate about or am interested in talking about again.

Back in college, I worked in after school programs and taught elementary school during the summers. I am so in favor of men having an active role in young children’s lives.

Even so, for me personally, the thought of a man working full-time in a 2 to 3 year-old daycare class seems a bit bizarre. But who cares? After all, I’m referring to a hypothetical person who doesn’t work at your daycare.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming about dinosaurs and monster trucks…

 

Love,

Daddy

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The Thought Of A Male Daycare Worker Weirds Me Out

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Sometimes you call me “Miss Daddy.” Slightly less funny is the fact you call Mommy “Miss Mommy.”

Given that most of your daytime hours are spent at school, it’s easy to understand that how natural it could be for you to want to call me “Miss Daddy.”

(That’s somehow a pretty fitting term for you to use, considering Mommy and I just bought you a pink sports coupe with a silver skull on the front, named Bone Crusher.)

It’s not like there are male teachers at your school, to familiarize you with the term “mister.”

Actually, I’ve never thought about it before, but my honest feelings about there being a male teacher at a daycare… that would be pretty weird and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it.

But hey, that’s all speculation anyway. I suppose it’s simply me being gender biased in that I only feel comfortable with the thought of  female teachers at your school.

Now that I’m thinking about it, though, I would imagine that if your daycare suddenly hired a male teacher, there would instantly be a good number of parents pulling their kids out and moving them to another daycare.

I think it’s one of those nearly irrelevant conversations that could cause quite a stir on Facebook, but in reality, I would bet most moms and dads would agree that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with a male worker at their kids’ daycare.

A lot of people would like to believe that gender equality in the work force is always an attainable thing, but the free market tends to decide otherwise. I predict that male daycare workers are bad, or at least a gamble, for most daycare businesses.

I’m sorry, but I’ve been conditioned to distrust men I don’t know around little kids; especially my own. If I wasn’t weirded out by the thought of a male daycare worker, then I would be weird.

 

Love,

Daddy

P.S. I published a follow-up to this 24 hours later called How I Was Wrong About Male Daycare Workers, which discredits much of what I said here.

 

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Girls Don’t Have The Cooties… Yet!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

19 months.

You mean there’s a difference between girls and boys? Who cares.

Best I can remember, girls didn’t get the Cooties until I was in preschool. And by Kindergarten, I stopped caring.

As for Jack, he’s far from the “Cootie awareness stage.” I’m sure he recognizes that boys are different from girls in some subliminal way, but I think it’s mainly because of the different playing styles of the two genders.

Because boys play more rough. Put Jack in a group of girls and he escapes from the crowd, looking for the loudest, most dangerous adventure possible.

This weekend before we dropped off Jack at the nursery at church and were printing off his name tag, I noticed some “Allergy Alert” stickers.

Without thinking about it, I grabbed the pen and wrote  ”Girls” on the sticker and slapped it on his shirt.

So clever and witty, I am.

Interestingly, it turned out that there happened to be 10 boys his class and only one girl. The sticker ended up being appropriate, after all.

Something Henry’s dad was telling me about recently is how Henry can tell if a person is a man or woman; no matter their age.

How does a kid know? I’ve never thought about it before.

Sophie’s mom and I have joked about how, by default, Sophie is sort of a tomboy right now at daycare: She’s always right there in the mix of whatever hijinks that Jack and Henry are into.

And this is interesting to me, because Sophie is the girl Jack is around more than any other.

So clearly, Jack hasn’t yet developed any preconceived ideas about girls. Sophie is just as cool as Henry… for now.

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Fathers Are 1/3 of Stay-At-Home Parents, But Still Pay The “Dad Tax”

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

15 months.

The newest US Census shows that one third of stay-at-home parents are dads. Yeah, for every two stay-at-home moms, there is one stay-at-home dad. That’s a lot, actually.

I’ve pointed out before that companies are really missing out by not doing more “dad ads” in highly read publications, like Parents magazine.

So when Baby Orajel decided to feature a dad ad in the January issue, I spotlighted them, promising to do the same for any other companies who were brave (and smart) enough to acknowledge the relevance and buying power of fathers.

While there were no dad ads in the February issue of Parents magazine, I am pleased to announce that the March issue features two of them!

On page 130, Huggies is not only running a dad ad, but also doing a contest on their Facebook page where you can nominate a dad to prove that their Huggies’ Leak Lock stop leaks better.

I appreciate that Huggies acknowledges how normal it is for dads to be actively involved in changing their kids’ diapers.

Turn back to page 111 and you will see an ad for Vick’s NyQuil and DayQuil, making a reference to the concept of “Super Dad.” I like that.

It means a lot to me as a dad to see that men are being deemed in our society as more relevant than ever before.

At the same time, I’m very aware that that the “dad tax” exists. The concept is that fathers have to work harder at most parenting tasks in order to be considered an equal parent, as compared to a mother.

I recently read a spot-on article by a fellow daddy blogger, Jonathan Liu of Geek Dad, featured on Wired.com. It’s called “Who’s Minding the Kids? Not Dads.

Liu, a stay-at-home dad, explains how he is often mistaken by strangers as a dad who is “babysitting” his own kids during the day.

He points out how it’s still not a legitimate concept, especially to older generations, that a man could be the daytime caretaker of his children without it being a substitutional, sub-par arrangement.

However, now that a third of stay-at-home parents are fathers, and now that companies are starting to feature more dad ads, it’s becoming pretty obvious that we aren’t simply babysitting, we’re being active fathers.

Sure, we can’t give birth or breastfeed, nor would we want to (!), but there’s a lot we can do beyond stereotypical examples like having tea parties with our daughter or showing up to all of our son’s ball games.

Don’t forget, we change diapers too.

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This Dad’s (Naive) Take At Understanding Feminism

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

13 months.

When I think of a feminist, I think of stereotypes like Jessie Spano from Saved By the Bell or the bookstore owners on Portlandia. I don’t really know what else to go on.

To make matters worse, no one can or is willing to define feminism for me. The answers I got when I asked people on Facebook were either A) “there is no one definition” or B) “you should read [so-and-so] book.”

So not only can no one tell me what it is, but I’m still left with stereotypes that no one seems to necessarily defend. I am a dad who simply wants to understand feminism. Why, though?

Because there is no denying the trading of so many traditional gender roles in the world of current American parenting. Like I’ve said before, changing diapers is no big deal at all for me. I can do that. I can learn to do a lot of things, but not all things are natural to my gender. In my book, changing diapers is neutral.

From what I understand, a feminist would say that when we assign gender roles to either parent, we are promoting sexism. Yet I was never able to breast feed. But I was the one able to get our son to sleep through the night by letting him cry it out. A lot of women would have a hard time with that.

I think it’s ridiculous to ignore gender roles. Why not work to the advantages of our natural abilities which our genders have graced us? Sure, some things are neutral; but others aren’t.

Are men and women truly equal?

Can a woman do anything a man can do?

Can a man do anything a woman can do?

My answer is: in theory. But in reality, I think if we are honest with ourselves, we know the real answers.

I celebrate the truth and find no shame in it. Celebrate women. Celebrate men. Celebrate both.

To me, if we can do that, we are truly not being sexists.

Image: Two hands giving each other, via Shutterstock.

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