Forward: The title of this story has nothing to do with this story.
Preface: The forward of this story doesn’t have anything to do with this story.
Introduction: The information contained within this story is true. Any likeness to those living or dead is on purpose. Any similarities to real life occurrences is done on purpose. Any subsequent swearing or fart jokes are completely consequential.
Body: The other day, whilst swimming with my son at the Clareview Recreation Complex in lovely east-end Edmonton, a woman swam up to me in the pool. She said to me directly, “What are you doing here?”. My response was to look at my son, look at the water around me, look back and her and think, “Attacking the Consulate”, but actually say, “Swimming with this rad little dude.”
She apologized and explained herself. You see, she wanted to know what I, a strong and handsome male (not actually her words) was doing in the afternoon in a pool full of mothers/women. I told her that I’m the day parent for this wily bundle of awesome (my child). She then commended me for it and we chatted for a bit. She let me know how she supported my decision and how it must be what God wanted because there I was, doing it. She said I was blessed and that I shouldn’t let my son get tattoos. She said my wife and I should be very strong to allow this to happen.
In situations like these, I’m never sure how to react. I’m not really doing anything super special. I’m loving the bejezus out of my kid. I’m trying to do the best for my family. My wife has an awesome job. I’m not a frigging hero, nor am I doing anything new. I guess in Alberta, being at home with the child and being male is new. Maybe? I know of a few stay at home dads.
With that said, my wife is getting her fair share of guff/sass as well. Some are looking at her and thinking how dare she neglect her family and be working. How dare she give up her duties as a wife and mother. To this I say, “What the glorious fuck?”.1
Those that spray their ideologies on others who are attempting to make their lives better in a healthy way are troglodyte nitwits. I hope they get a severe case of the farts and have to drive, nonstop, across Canada with their peers.
We are a family. Our dynamics are slightly different than the norm. We are not trail blazers or heroes or anything like that. We are just playing our cards as best we can. It’s simple really. To dissect is at an affront to what a family ‘should’ be is an insult to intelligence.
Epilogue: Bored people create drama in their lives. When their lives are full of drama, they look to others to create more. I just wish that stupidity was painful.2
1 It’s true. The questions/comments I find most challenging are as follows: “Don’t you love your son?” “Why would you chose work?” “Isn’t your husband willing to support you?” “Doesn’t your husband have a job?” “Don’t you care about what your giving up?” “Aren’t you willing to fight to not miss out?”
Gee, thanks for your input. I married an artist. A wonderfully creative artist. He supports our family with love and fantastical ideas. He’s willing to sacrifice his insatiable need to interact with everyone and everything to be at home with a little dude that cannot even talk yet. He’s learning how to vacuum the carpet (sort of). He’s learning how to grocery shop (sort of). He’s learning how to clean the kitchen (sort of). He’s learning how to organize the tupperware drawer (no seriously, he does this now, it’s amaze-balls). I happen to be the primary income winner in our family. Yes, I’d love to be at home teaching the little one how to sit up, feeding him mashed up sweet potato, and giving him 50,000 kisses before we hit 2 pm each day, but that’s not an option. If the roles were reversed I would want to stay home. No one would be asking my husband the same questions I get. No one would be questioning my husband’s commitment to our son. How dare you for thinking I’m a bad mother because I go to work each day. Also, I love my husband, but stop raising him on a pedestal as a virtuoso superhero for staying at home — unless of course you are stopping each and every stay at home mom and saying the same thing to them.
2 No, you don’t. Otherwise, we’d all be fairly reliant on pain killers. How about ignorance? Maybe you should wish ignorance was painful?