This originally appeared on The Good Men Project. Republished here with permission.
Mark Greene offers helpful tips for avoiding those awkward conversational faux pas with your local SAHD.
Lately, stay-at-home dads have been showing up on TV and in the movies. (Usually, as well-meaning simpletons who commiserate about dropping their kids in the toilet by accident.) This can only mean one thing. If Hollywood has noticed SAHDs, they must be everywhere. Believe it or not, you may run into one yourself soon. And you don’t want to confront that particular produce-aisle repartee unprepared.
So here’s a helpful list of conversational no-nos, should you suddenly find yourself talking with a real, live baby-wearing SAHD.
1. Don’t say the words “Mr.” and “Mom.” In that order. Not at all. Ever.
Men who do full time parenting are called Dads, ’cause that’s what they are.
2. Do not say, “Oh, no! Did you get laid off?” when you find out that a guy is a stay-at-home dad.
Do ask him the story of how he became an at-home dad.
3. Do not ask if he’s “getting any” from the Moms at the PTA.
He’s not. I don’t really have to go into why, right?
4. Do not say something like, “Dude, you must be extra pussy-whipped.”
Stay-at-home dads are the new Gloria Steinems. You’re likely to get a lecture on gender issues.
5. Do not say, “I’m gonna take you out tonight and get you totally hammered.”
Not gonna happen. Kids are 6am hangover amplifiers. Think Spinal Tap and turn it up to 11.
6. Do not say, “Dude, sucks to be you.”
It doesn’t suck to be him. He’s having an eye opening, amazing, life affirming time. (Most of the time.)
7. Do not say, “God, I wish I had an easy job like that.”
It’s about a lot of wonderful things, but it ain’t about easy.
8. Do not ask, “Do you actually change dirty diapers?”
What do you think, there’s a f**king diaper fairy?
9. Do not say, “I have to call so-and-so RIGHT NOW and tell them what happened to you.”
Being a stay at home dad is a choice, not a meteor strike.
10. Do not ask, “Are you OK?”
Instead, ask yourself “Why the hell would I think he’s not OK?”
11. Do not say, “Wow, so you’re babysitting every day?”
It’s called raising children, regardless of whether you’re a man or a women. Babysitters are people who watch your kids for a few hours, eat all your microwave popcorn, and then go home. Dads are parents.
12. In another generation or so, dump the “at-home” or “stay-at-home” thing, too.
Dads can, in fact, be found in the home and with their children. Shocking, I know.
Do say, “Man, I would so love to be doing that.”
It makes everybody smile.
Emmy® winning animator and author Mark Greene blogs about kids, relationships and politics. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD.
Also read The Day I Acted Like A Sexist Jerk To A Stay-At-Home Dad by Heather Davey Fusco