I’m Not “Mr. Mom”…I’m Not Babysittin’ My Children…I Am DAD
By Eric Payne
Most if not all of you probably don’t know that I’ve been home alone for the past 16 days. By Sunday it will be 18. Not literally sitting in my home by myself, but on the last day of March my wife boarded a plane headed for the Middle East and Europe for her Business School Externship.
While she’s been gone I’ve:
- been to the DMV 3 times.
- been to traffic court where I was treated like a felon for an expired registration.
- traversed most of Georgia at least 8 times taking my son to basketball games.
- registered my daughter for multiple Kindergartens.
- had 2 job interviews.
- worked out nearly every day and lost 12 pound in the process.
- kept the kids comforted during a power outage.
- spit shined my home to museum standards.
- made 4 trips to a body shop making sure my wife’s car was fixed properly (she was in a minor fender bender).
- landed one of the 2 jobs I’ve interviewed for and waiting to hear back from the other.
- sifted, sorted, shredded and resubmitted more paperwork than any sane man should ever have to.
- worked out at the gym with my son.
- slept an average 3 hours a night.
- set up a tutoring schedule for my son
- volunteered my usual 3 hours per week and added mentoring a young man in writing to my goodwill basket.
- put up new curtains and curtain rods.
- gotten both of my children up, dressed, fed and out of the house before 8 am.
- done my daughter’s hair almost as well as mom does, including, washing, conditioning, oiling her scalp, detangling her hair (which now is to the small of her back) and braiding it
- taken my daughter bike riding everyday after school and on the weekends as weather permits.
- taken both kids on a picnic.
- cooked 5 out of the 7 days of the week.
- arranged 3 playdates with my daughter and her little friends.
- watched Inception 3 times (it wasn’t that deep to me – I got it on the first watch).
The only thing I didn’t manage to do was actually be in two places at the same time, though I tried. I was quite terrible at it.
Over the years my wife has traveled often but never for this long. And after this trip I will probably seriously insult the next woman who cracks a joke about me being Mr. Mom, or struggling with my kids when Mom isn’t around because guess what? None of that is true. But I guess gender discrimination washes both ways.
No I’m not Mr. Mom, or “babysitting” my own damn kids, or frazzled or hanging on by a thread. Have I been tired? Yes. Have I had moments where I’ve been at wit’s end? Definitely! Have I had any time to myself? After midnight when I can’t leave the house and I’m delirious with fatigue. Have I ever once considered that I can’t do this? Not even once.
I’m DAD, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, doing it thanklessly, doing it because I love my kids, doing it because I was ordained to do so, doing it because I’m not a boy, doing it because it’s my responsibility, doing it because I love doing it, doing it with my eyes closed, doing it in my sleep, waking up and just doing it, doing it and not thinking twice, doing it and doing it well.
I’m not some dude married to a woman that has my kids and then I “help out”. I’m not just the guy who steps up when it’s time to drive or pay a bill. I’m DAD in every sense of the word, and maybe even redefined. If my wife’s trip showed me anything, it let me know just how far I’m willing to go to see to it that me and mine are taken care of. And how far is that?
As far as the eye can see.
I’m DAD. Period.
E.Payne is the author of Investing In An Emotional Letdown and I Didn’t Invented Sex. Additionally, he has a new E Book soon to be released titled Dad: As Easy As A, B, C . For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between. You can check him out at MakesMeWannaHoller.com
Thank you for being a true dad in every sense of the word. Your words have been a source of hope and healing in my heart. There are men out there who hear and understand the cry of the family is for the heart of the father to be turned back to the chilldren. Your family is truly blessed.
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Wow that's really beautiful and I'm really proud of you. Not because its impossible or death defying..its because I know brothers can do it! You're not bragging, boasting or looking for a medal, you're sharing and I'm proud of your wife too. Peace and Blessings.
Beautiful !!! My wife works nights so its me & our son for the day after I get off work & he out of school & I love it. I don’t consider myself babysitting my son but raising him.
Great post!! I get where you're coming from and it's very clear in the post. Thanks for sharing as it will encourage others to continue doing the right thing by their families, while others may step up into their responsibilities and know that this is not a part time role but the role of being a father is not stepping in as if you're babysitting. Bravo!!!!
Thank god you said it!!! Finally. I am so pleased to read this today. There is a notion that men cannot be nurturing or that the rearing of children and overall maintenance of the home is "woman's work", and would diminish one's manhood, should he so choose to participate in those activities. I think this inflicts great harm, and is probably the impetus for lack of intimacy between men and women. True intimacy. And the discrimination does work both ways, as some women admonish men who are nurturing. I am pleased to read how these barriers are non-existent in your familiar cipher. May your home be filled with an abundance of love
This post makes me smile because so many times I hear people talk about getting my husband to babysit. That's kind of funny to me because I'm the mother and no one would ever ask him to see if I can babysit our kids so he can go out. I say kudos to you. I see the real intent of this post so regardless of what any of the naysayers have to say, keep writing and sharing your journey. We need more men like you raising our children.
Question? Am I the only one that said whoopdi dooo when I read this. Single mothers deal with this reality on the regular. You don't need to tell me or the world what you do. Just do it. If it was all good and you held it down there would be no need for this post. It kinda felt like you were writing to yourself …..I'M ABLE. Your wife's trip shouldn't be needed to show you that.
My wife travels often and I'm EXTREMELY involved with my kids and have been since I first laid eyes on them. Your response is exactly what this piece is about. Women spend soo much time talking about what men don't do and then spend just as much time downplaying what men do do. I don't need any pats on the back or accolades from anonymous blog readers. Visit my blog, see what I'm about (if you actually care) …you'll see I'm not bragging.
And it is better than "All Good"… it's great in my home, plenty of love to go around for everyone. Now I am bragging.
Mr. Epayne, I know you don't need accolades, but I say to you and all parents who do this everyday, Bravo; Excellent . Because you are simply displaying non-judgmental, unconditional Love. In my humble opinion love is one of the greatest gifts afforded to us by the Creator. Our children are blessed when parents understand this~
I think that is exactly the point he's trying to make. The society expects women to juggle a job and the caretaker role at home but doesn't normally view men in a nurturing role. For men the home is traditionally seen as a place where they can relax from the stresses of work and be catered to by their wives. What he is proving is that men too can take on the task of caring for children and that this shouldn't be seen as something that is foreign or out of the ordinary. Be happy that real men are finally taking up their responsibility. Hats of to you Mr. Payne.
Thank you, Dianne. I really appreciate you for correctly receiving the true message of my post (which was originally posted on my blog – which puts this post into better perspective) and resisting the urge to say, "so what"? Love is the most powerful thing in this life and love is that thing we need to share a lot more often and a lot more freely.
Thank you for the love!
I appreciate your parenting. I think we as a society should be more invested in congratulating successful unions and well-raised black youth. I applaud the platform you've established here as so many find success yet do not share it.
With that said, I think we have to respect the hesitation and questioning and so whats–for 30 years I've been told, seen and experienced the opposite of what you write here, so I just think it's unfair to categorize the poster's response in such a negative manner. If you are bringing insight, direction and education you must be patient–you remain a minority and if you're authentic as you seem to be, gentle clarification is simply a better way of approaching those with conflicting paradigms.
I don't think there was lack of love in the "whoopdi doo" post. I interpreted it to be more of a…nobody thanks us either and if we wrote a blog about what we did for our children as mothers–single or otherwise–the yawns would drown out the insinuations that we're complaining before you'd even hear the "so whats".
Not to mention–I think the underlying issue was the subtle comparison to single parenting. Married people should never compare their stints without the mate to single parenting. Unless the separation is permanent. If your wife contributes income to the household without you requesting it or seeking a court order, you are not even "like" a single parent. Many of the stressors associated with single parenting are economic. The fact that you are able to do all those wonderful things while LOOKING for work just whispers to me that you probably aren't THAT single in the solo parenting realm of things. The very fact that you have a wife whose clothing hangs in the closet is an emotional comfort that many single parents, male and female do not receive. Again, I know this wasn't stated explicitly but the comparison was implied. If shacking up ain't marriage then taking care of your kids while the mom is away is not single parenting even subtly.
Very good post. I'm definitely checking out the Blog.
Write On Brothas & Sistas.
Good point Sharif. I too told myself this man is indeed looking for a pat on the back. But after reading a reply I realize he was just saying he too can do this. However if he doesnt want this role anymore, that is for he and his wife to discuss. Also the idea that the 'community' needs to encourge men is laughable. Men should be stepping up and taking their role.
E. Payne – Preach bruh Preach.
Your schedule reads like mine for the most parts because I am a single mom. It's good to know that you didn't dodge your responsibility and you are doing all you can for your kids. Reading this also made me realise that single fathers, like mothers, go through the same thing same up and down, same struggles, same little hours of sleep but for one goal – the children we so dearly love. Cheers to you brother.
Real dad's represent. I tell my wife all the time to ease up a little because I got this. You hit the nail on the head by acknowledging it's hard, but you can handle it. This was a great post. That was a helluva To Do list you tackled. You had to have been focussed and organized.
Congradulations! real dads step up to the plate and they do not complain about taking care of their children. A husband is not just a dad, who steps in when he feels like the wife needs help with the children. The wife should not have to ask the husband to take care of the kids. Real dads do what they have to accomplish to care of their children.
This is a great post! Dads are certainly different these days than they use to be. I too take pride in doing everything and anything for my baby girl. I'm very thankful for my wife as well though. We work well together. Keep on doing what you're doing man.