Mr. Moms and the Daddy Revolution

Caryn: This is hard for me to write, in a way, because I SO love the movie Mr. Mom. I saw it when I was probably 10 or something with my grandmother, who laughed and laughed the whole time. Since my dear hard-working, hard-knock-life-sort-of-life Swedish grandmother NEVER laughed, you can see why I might love this movie. Plus, I love their house. Plus, it kicked off me wanting to work in advertising (which I did for a stint) and wear big-bowed blouses (never did. I think I wrote about this in an earlier post). Plus, it was funny.

That said, I hate “Mr. Moms” or to be more precise, I really hate the TERM “Mr. Mom.” It totally p—-es me off. Excuse my hyphens. I hate it because it implies all sorts of idiotic things:

1. That when a man cares for his kids—feeds them (LOVE that scene where Michael Keaton irons the grilled cheese!), bathes them (even with Sesame Street slippers on), and drops them off (now I’m laughing at that Mr. Mom carpool drop-off scene)—he is doing a mom’s job.

2. That a mom is simply a role—not a relationship—that can quickly swapped out by someone else doing those jobs.

Okay, so that’s just two things that I can think of right now. But, still, isn’t a “Mr. Mom” in all reality just a Good Dad? Isn’t this just as stupid as when a dad says he “babysitting” his kids? Or am I nuts? Or both?

 

Carla: You might be a little nuts, but I am still with you here. This is another one of those areas where it seems like today’s parents have inherited ideas and language that don’t relate to the way we really live. I have so many friends who parent as partners, not as two separate people with separate roles. They both do what needs doing, both arrange their work lives to fit their family life, both nurture and feed and bathe and tuck in with the same commitment to parenting well. I honestly don’t think men and women worry about this kind of stuff as much as the media or the culture or previous generations did.

That’s not to say I think men and women can or should parent in exactly the same ways. Jimmy is far more physical with our kids than I am. I am a more patient listener than he is. But he snuggles with the same delight and reads with the same enthusiasm and never blinks when there is a diaper to be changed or a meal to be made. He expects to be part of their lives and I can’t imagine what it would be like if he didn’t.

My dad has often commented that he wishes he had known how to be the kind of dad Jimmy is. My dad is a wonderful father, but he wasn’t on the floor wrestling with us or coaching our teams or climbing into our beds to read at night. Fathers of his generation just didn’t do that kind of thing. But men today not only do those things, they enjoy them. I think today’s fathers want to be more invested in their kids than their dads were in them. And that’s good news for moms.

The Mommy Revolution is all about encouraging women to live out their dreams. But I think we all know that it’s impossible to do that if we don’t have a partner who is willing to be a present, active parent. So the Mommy Revolution carries with it a need for a Daddy Revolution, one that encourages men to be the fathers they want to be.

Caryn: Totally need a Daddy Revolution. (Maybe a Grandma and Grampa one too.) Because one of the core values of the revolution is that parents are able—equipped and supported—to parent and raise kids and live lives as God intended them to, with gifts God gave them. Again, Carla, well put.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I agree with your perspective Caryn. I fondly recall “Mr. Mom” when I was a boy as well and although it is now completely a dated look at the balancing of family and careers in the 80’s, I recall even then thinking….”Wow, mommies do a lot.”

    Not sure what brought you to this topic of “Mr. Mom” but I found it ironic considering I saw myself coming to the defense of fathers this week. A SAHM blog friend of mine from Wisconsin has her hands full with several children at home and a deteriorating marriage. She deems herself “old-fashioned” in that she believes it is the role of the mother to stay at home and raise children. She posted in a recent blog this emotional and layered declaration that I couldn’t let pass….

    “Cuz guys suck at raising kids – lets face it!”

    (Obviously there must be a lot behind that statement.) Here is how I responded:

    Whoa. Uh….I take offense to this declaration. I understand that it’s your opinion and point of view which your entitled to….but do you really want to put that out there? Even if you’re joking….that’s just not right.

    I know your point of view comes from where you’re at in life and what you’ve been exposed to but at the same time I want to encourage you to look outside what you know. For the record, I’m no exception and I don’t consider myself to be any amazing father but I work at providing an environment of fun, love, encouragement, sacrifice, education, respect, disicipline and spirituality for my daughter. But I couldn’t do it alone. That I know. Of course I would if I had to but rit’s eassuring to know that my wife needs me to help her raise our girl just as much as I need her (and boy do I need her!)

    There are plenty of “deadbeat dads” out there….and mothers….as well as any other guardians raising children. Poor and negligent parenting is not exclusive to any sex, age or color. Unfortunately, it just exists and is a result of many factors such as: immaturity, abuse, selfishness, economic despair, a void of any faith in one’s life, and/or an endless cycle of dysfunctional behavior that is passed on and not dealt with….to name a few.

    Even if you consider yourself old-fashioned, I’m sure you’d agree that the demands and responsibilites of staying at home and raising a family can take a toll on any man….or woman.

    Reply

  2. So I know this was posted a few weeks ago and maybe you don’t view comments on old-er posts…

    I haven’t seen Mr. Mom so I don’t know how the father is portrayed in it, but I was pretty much raised by my father. (Pretty much meaning my parents were divorced when I was 6 and I lived with my dad) Never did I refer to him as Mr. Mom. He was just my father; my loving, caring, providing father. Of course there were many hard and confusing times between us, partly because he was delving into territories that a mother most typically satisfies, but most probably because confusion and hard times were bound to happen anyway. i.e. those special teenage years for girls.

    My father and I are extremely close today. He’s been the most influential person in my life and he did a wonderful job raising my brother and I. Although I’m sure he’d say it would have been ten times easier having a “mother” around, I’m not convinced. I’m proud to call him my Dad.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Robyn on January 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you! My husband does not “babysit” his daughter. He is her father. And he is just as qualified and capable of caring for her as I am, despite (or because of) his different anatomy, thankyouverymuch.

    Reply

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