I believe that all children deserve to have an at-home parent. I've said that before, but earlier today, I learned that this opinion is apparently an unpopular one, especially among some other Dad Bloggers with whom I associate on occasion. A series of questions were posted by a fellow Dad within a private Facebook group, all curious as to "How" this works in families where there is a Stay-At-Home Dad (SAHD). This gentleman and his wife both work, and they've been trying to find a way to change things up so that one of them can stay at home with their kids. He was looking for feedback, and while Addie was at preschool this morning, I offered some:
Here is the comment I made, in it's entirety:
By posting this comment, I unknowingly opened the floodgates for anger in my direction. Between the original message thread, private messages and personal emails, I have read nearly 175 notes related to this, and it's been fascinating to see how many people misconstrue what I said or just miss the point completely.
Some early remarks (both posted by Dads I actually like):
- "I don't think it is fair to classify parents who want to have full time careers as neglectfully 'shoving off' their kids to nannies and daycares... I work full time, and my kids go to daycare. Whether by choice or not, I am not shoving them off and shirking responsibility."
- "Your opinion is rude and dismissive. That's my opinion. Imagine that some parents actually WANT to keep working. Gasp. The horror. I like to work. I also like to be a dad. So I do both and that's not neglectful and it's certainly not "shoving off" my kids. I understand you don't get it, but thankfully you don't have to get it."
I'm going to stop here to point out that never once did I say the word "neglect," yet here two separate Fathers use it as if I'd said it. What I actually said was that I "know that some people actually WANT to keep working outside the home full-time and still have kids that they shove off to daycare or into the hands of a nanny... which I don't get." I'd added into the discussion thread that I feel that parents who knowingly choose career over family should probably not have kids. Essentially, if you can afford to have an At-Home-Parent (whether stay-at-home or work-at-home), then that's what kids deserve. If both parents have to work in order to financially support the family, that's fine - do what you have to do. Most families do have to have both parents working... and that's assuming that a child even has a two-parent family. Going back again to my original statement, it's a shame that most have to. And what about single-parent families? The kids often get shafted.
As the day went on, the word "neglect" continued to be mentioned repeatedly, along with those who chose to call me "pompous," "arrogant," an "asshole," "unfairly judgemental," "stupid," "insensitive," "a dick," and more. This was coupled with gems like "Who gives you the right to tell me what my kid deserves?" I gave myself the right to state a general opinion, and that's just what I did.
And I started thinking more about the offense taken by people today - those that didn't like my comment about nannies and daycare. When I take the girls to gymnastics, it's often hard to decipher who's a parent and who's a nanny at first. After getting to know the kids and caregivers, it's interesting to witness the RARE occassions when some of the actual parents attend. I've seen some of the most disconnected and vacant parents on those days. It's just weird to see kids that seem to have a more loving and natural relationship with a paid employee than their own Mom or Dad. It's sad, and makes me even more grateful for what we have here. It also reminds me that even though there are days as a Work-At-Home Dad that are rough - days that make me wish I could leave the house and go to work for eight hours - how incredibly selfish of me it would be if I chose to work outside the home full-time without it being 100% required to support my family financially.
In the midst of this came forth another Dad Blogger (one whom I do not like as a person, and will not even give the courtesy of a name-drop on this website), to poke me repeatedly. If it was just today, that would've been fine... but this guy has been jabbing me for months, and today he got a bite. He spewed a lot of crap, and I tossed some back... something that I shouldn't have done. At the same time, he proved just how much he reads The Rock Father by taking shots at no less than four previously-posted blogs (including one that was not intended to be taken seriously at all). The problem? They all were in direct disagreement of his views. He has a few hardcore followers... some sheepish "Yes Men" of sorts, who were more than happy to join him in piling on me. But, like Biff Tannen and his band of mindless buffoons in BACK TO THE FUTURE, these guys can feel free to take a dive into a manure truck for all I care. I just hope someone sends me pictures.
I am not here to provide "fair" opinions to someone else, and now that I'm writing in the confines of my own personal blog on my own personal website, I can fully declare: MY HOUSE. MY RULES.
I believe that all children deserve to have an at-home parent.
About five months ago, I joined a private "Dad Bloggers' group that I now have some regrets about joining. I won't leave it (unless I get kicked out), as I've met some good guys in there... but as each day goes on, I like it, and several of it's members just a little bit less. The truth is, there is no way to get any group of people together without conflict, even where no conflict was initially intended...
Take 100 people and put them in a room. Soon, they'll divide based on common interests. Then, they'll subdivide based on what they don't like about others. Then, the first missiles we be launched. You've just witnessed human nature going back to the beginning of time. And people just love a good conflict...
BEGUN, THE PARENT WAR HAS. - Yoda
But I don't think I'll partake. Instead, I think I'll just watch from a distance. After today, contributing to any of the conversations just seems like a waste of my time. I've got more important things to do... like taking care of my children.
And at nearly 1400 words, I'm also fresh out of ellipses.
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHERâ„¢.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.