Friday, December 13, 2013

Frankly, my dear...

de·sir·a·ble

/dəˈzī(ə)rəbəl/ 
adjective
1. wanted or wished for as being an attractive, useful, or necessary course of action. 
Apparently, Vivia Chen of Time.com doesn’t think I’m desirable. This has ruined my day in the same way discovering that Martha Stewart doesn’t like my window fixtures might; In other words, not at all. I am actually irked to be mentioning her on my blog, part of me thinks I shouldn’t have bothered and I certainly will not link to her most recent piece. If you are unfamiliar with the article and curiosity gets the best of you, just google “Vivia Chen Embarrassing Undesirable Vapid Writer” and her article should pop up as the first result.

The long and short of it is Vivia believes since a few people she tried to interview did not want to put their lives in the spotlight of media scrutiny, this equals embarrassment for their husbands and non-traditional family/gender roles. The few people she attempted to speak with were “superearning” high-powered female wall street partners (you know… the average American family).  Even if we overlook the limited sample and anecdotal observations presented in Ms. Chen's piece, we also are supposed to make the giant leap that anyone who does not want to be featured in Time could only come to that conclusion out of sheer and utter embarrassment. I’m very pleased in my role and my wife could not be further from embarrassment, but we have turned down many offers to be featured in stories and even TV shows as that is not the type of exposure we feel is healthy for us or our kids.

Ms. Chen indicates Stay-at-home dads (househusbands as she calls us) are “undesirable.” I can’t understand why anyone would even take the time to belittle a group in such a blanketed way, but I have to chuckle at her skewed perspective and how limited her grasp on the term “desirable” is.

I am one of the most desirable men I know. Sound conceited? Well, maybe, but I can prove it.

I know I am useful because I care for children who would otherwise roam the streets or be relegated to day care. I do windows, toilets, floors and laundry (does someone do that for you? If so, I bet you find it useful.) I’m useful because I cook, I buy groceries, and I manage the household (it’s actually a job, there is an inventory that must be constantly replenished and consumption to be monitored).

I’m attractive because I’m a nice person, well sometimes anyway. I’m not the most physically fit or debonair man in the world, there is no questioning that, but that has nothing to do with my occupation as a stay-home-father and I doubt that is what Ms. Chen intended. If it was, then I can point to some of my most handsome SAHD peers to dispel the idea. Trust me, we could make a calendar with some of these guys. There is some grade A prime rib among my comrades.

In all seriousness, I know the comment was not about physical attractiveness, if so I would just step aside and let the interwebs eviscerate her argument without my assistance.  I don’t think Ms. Chen was indicating at-home dads are not desirable because of our physical traits, but simply because of the state of being one. The thing is, I know I’m desirable because there are two little people in my house who call my name constantly. Seriously… it’s nonstop. They need me, they want me. They yearn for a look, a shared game, or a hug and the real estate known as “my lap” is some of the most sought after property in these parts. These incredible people hang on my every word (when I’m not correcting them that is) and they follow me around the house like lost puppies. I can’t even write this post without turning on a TV to distract them momentarily and even as I type, my son is close enough to me that I should probably teach him to operate the spacebar. My daughter draws pictures for me constantly, sings me songs, tries to wear my shoes, thinks I make the best oatmeal in the world (I do cook other things, but that is her favorite dish apparently) and wouldn’t miss a chance to go to the grocery store with me for all the blog entries ever printed in Time. My daughter seeks my approval and insists that I watch (every single day) how fast she can run, how high she can jump and how many costumes she can wear at once. If I were wanted any more, I'd need two of me.

My wife thinks I’m desirable, she tells me and shows me and that’s good enough for me. She appreciates that I take care of the house even if she is sometimes disappointed with my idea of “clean.” Vv finds me desirable as a caretaker who would throw himself between any danger and her children. She knows I give one-on-one attention to our children and that they thrive under my supervision. I think my wife finds a warm dinner after work desirable, not to mention an in-house caretaker who can allow her to focus on her career, travel when necessary, and take care of many of the “to do’s” so she can spend her time at home being what she loves best, a great Mom. If we both worked we’d have less quality time for the children; that is just a fact of life. I don’t say it to knock working parents in any way, we all do what we have to do, but I don’t know of a working parent who doesn’t wish for more time with their kids and who doesn’t wish their time at home could be used to focus on the children primarily rather than having to spend much of that time doing all the things that have to be done around a home. The point is, a parent (whether working or at home) is desirable to their children, attractive to their spouse (in a healthy relationship) and *NEWSFLASH HERE* none of us need to be “attractive or desirable” to anyone outside of our household. We have already landed our big fish and I have a keeper, so frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn what you think. My house is my concern, I find it and all who reside here desirable. If I were working and my wife were at home that would not change, we'd simply appreciate each other for different things. That feeling is reciprocated by my family. In closing, I am relieved and content not to be found desirable by the shallow, in-the-box, gender-role enforcing people of the world. I can assure anyone who thinks I'm undesirable because I'm a full time father... the feeling is mutual. 

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful, and in particular, the paragraph about how your kids desire you really tugged at me. I could go on and on about why it's so good, but my biggest fan is hitting me with a book of Mother Goose and won't stop until he gets what he wants. You're right: it's a good feeling, damn the opiniobloggers.

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