with Avi Spivack
Hi, I'm Avi, and I try to put the work and the dad together, with mild success. This is all about trying to give you a view from what it looks like on the dad-man's side of the world, and I hope you find my ruminations humorous because I try not to take myself too seriously.
On Tuesdays, I drive our daughter to her pre-school. And I love Tuesdays because I don’t have to run off to work and can spend the morning being less rushed. So this morning, after breakfast was consumed and she was chewing her gummy vitamins, she sat on my lap as we looked out the window, watching the rain and looking for squirrels.
And then we packed it up, I dropped her off at school, and I went to work. And I felt okay about all of that, even happy.
Which is why the recent Charlie LeDuff piece in “Men’s Vogue” really pisses me off. Because he essentially says that being the SAHD (stay-at-home-dad) that he is, he’s better than I. And all of my fellow fathers who go to work everyday.
Judith Warner rants about this on her NY Times blog, and she comes at it from a different direction, from the perspective of a mother who is offended. And while she has some valid points, I read LeDuff’s piece as the father to whom he is speaking and offending directly.
In his words and silly types: “Mr. Half-at-Home”; “Mr. Oprah’s Book Club”; and “Mr. End of His Rope.” And guess what? I have likely been each of those in the three years that my daughter has existed, and I try not to feel too guilty about it. But it doesn’t make Mr. LeDuff a better father, does it?
From this reader’s point of view, his piece starts off with a tinge of pomposity, moves into some rather heartfelt daddy stuff, and then explodes in a ridiculous array of loony philosophical garbage with a large dollop of holier-than-thou conjecture.
Did I mention that he thinks he’s better than I am because he stays home with his daughter and “teaches” her stuff (at age 11 months) while his wife supports his family on her school counselor’s salary?
Our family has always been two income, and it’s never easy, especially to turn your child over to a nanny. But the way in which LeDuff writes about these nanny-raised children and his seeming disdain for fathers who work (practically saying they aren’t “real” fathers). Don’t misunderstand: He’s not merely exalting the virtues of being a SAHD (like him), he’s also deriding those who fail to “see the light” and do the same as he has done.
He may have a healthy financial cushion, but relying on your wife to bring home the public-school bacon while you sit atop your perch of fatherhood means only that you are failing to provide for your family in possibly the most significant way.
But who am I to judge, I’m just a mister half-at-home.
Go read his piece and let me know what you think.
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