In a way, the decision to opt out of the rat race to pursue a more “meaningful” career as a parent echoes the classic Plan B narrative of the stress-addled professional who bails out to immerse himself in roll-up-the-sleeves work — say, craft-whiskey distilling, or beekeeping. (Given the drudgery and muck involved, parenting might be considered the ultimate “artisanal” pursuit.)
“For the creative, freelance, D.I.Y.-type guy,” Ms. Rosin said in an interview, “being a stay-at-home dad feels like a form of rebellion, like living off the macho grid and showing people that you are not tied to your father’s notion of what men should do on weekdays.”
In that spirit, Mike Adamick, 35, who left his job as a newspaper reporter to be an at-home dad in San Francisco six years ago, often spends weekday afternoons sewing clothes for his daughter, Emmeline, who is 6. Most recently, he salvaged the flannel from a ’70s-casual sports jacket from the Salvation Army into a thigh-length skirt. “It turned into this nice gray number with some distinguished flair,” he said proudly.
“This ain’t the 20th century,” he added. “There are 300 million people in the U.S., so there are 150 million ways to be a man.”..
.. Questions about the division of labor can be a challenge, even when couples enter the arrangement willingly. “Make sure you define it really well with your spouse,” said Dan Bryk, an at-home father in New York. “There are times when your working spouse will come from a particularly tough day at work and will just forget what a tough gig this is. As I’m sure men did for a century, they just take for granted, well, ‘What did you do? You kept him from injuring himself for eight hours?’ There’s a lot more to it than that.”
And even with the shifting power dynamic at the playground, there remains something of a line in the sandbox, said Matthew Pritchard, an at-home dad in New York. How does a lone man approach a lone woman at the teeter-totter without giving her the wrong impression?
“I feel like some moms have been resistant to me at the playground or wherever we meet because maybe they think I’m flirting or have a hidden agenda,” said Mr. Pritchard, 47. “As a new father, I find that kind of amusing. Not only do I have no desire for anything else but a play date, I have no energy or time, either.”
That quote about the versatility of today’s fathers vaguely reminded me of this time recently when I bought a second-hand mower from a local backyard business and the guy totally scammed me and sold me this ancient, rusty thing that stopped working on the very first go at our lawn.
Bill was kind of annoyed with me for being suckered and wasting money. I wanted him to sort it out because he is the mechanical one and a bit of ‘mechanical talk’ mano a mano might easily fix the whole situation. But Bill thought it was my purchase and I should resolve the problem, so I went and tried to broker a repair deal with the mower guy but I came home in tears because he gave me such a hard time.
And Bill was disgusted at this other guy’s behaviour so he stormed off in the car to have it out with him. I was afraid it might end up with the police involved because both Bill and the mower guy were pretty angry. But instead they did that yelling in each other’s face thing until finally someone backs down or throws a punch and fortunately the mower guy backed down. A deal was sorted, the mower fixed and Bill returned. As I went out to finish mowing the lawn I saw Bill sit down to show his daughter how to cast on with her knitting needles and I thought, awww this man is a little bit cool.