(Diaper Bag Dialog is a new series of posts inspired by conversations in the real world of the at-home dad. Like at the post office this morning. Cheerful 50-ish woman in line: “Your daughter’s shoes are on the wrong feet.” Me (smiling through clenched teeth): “But she got them on herself, didn’t she?”)
The Baltimore County Public Library has tons of great books in its children’s departments –- I can never walk out with less than a towering armload of books. An added gem at the Rosedale location is Storyville, a play area for preschoolers with a pretend store (complete with plastic vegetables and laminated fake money), fake garden and a couple of climbing structures. (www.bcplstoryville.org) If it were closer to our house, I’d go every week.
The group of at-home dads I hang out with gathered there last week, and it sparked some online chatter. It’s about the age-old double-standard when the at-home parent is a man, not a woman. Read on…
“There were four of us dads standing and talking at Storyville on Wednesday while our kids were ‘interacting’/playing with each other, when a librarian came up to us Dads and told us Storyville was intended for the parents to interact with their child and that more or less we should get to “interacting” with our kids.
“It didn’t bother me so much while I was there … but when I got home I thought about if the scenario was different and we were four mothers standing there. Would anyone have dared to walk up to four mothers and tell them they need to start interacting with their child??? And if they would have dared I am pretty sure the scenario would not have ended as peacefully as it did with us.”
“Interesting. I’ve been there plenty of times to see moms talking with each other. Not an issue unless mom or dad’s kids are going crazy, I would think. But, what would a Dad know?”
“That’s a pretty disgusting story. Good thing I wasn’t there because, being my father’s son, I would have lost my temper.
“I just emailed them asking for an apology (firstname.lastname@example.org). If I don’t get a reply, I’ll see what else we can do. Maybe email the County?”
“My daughter and I have been to Storyville at least a dozen times during the last couple of years and not once was I instructed to “interact” with her, but only to make sure I didn’t leave her unattended (should be noted that we have gone there many times for playdates with other Dads). Sounds like another example of the all-too-prevalent “double standard” that sometimes still makes being a SAHD a little uncomfortable.
“Here’s another one: the mother of one of [my daughter’s] classmates approached me about a playdate with her child outside of school. As usual, I was agreeable and inquired about their availability. Her response: ‘Oh, um, what days is your wife available?!?’ Thanks … thanks a lot.”
“In her defense, she was probably feeling nauseated by our in-depth analysis on the Patriots’ lambasting Monday and the genius of some fella named Sean Payton who, to her chagrin, turned out to be just some coach to some sport called football :)”