Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Identity in Balance Guest Post: Scott on Balancing Identity as a Stay-at-Home Dad

The latest guest post in the Identity in Balance Writing series comes from Scott, a stay-at-home dad who found himself to be a "minority among minorities." Read on to see how he navigates his identity as a stay-at-home father.

I am an at-home dad and a pansy.  I am, of course, being a little facetious when I call myself a pansy, though I do think they're lovely flowers.

But here's what I mean: when I chose to stay home and raise my girls while my wife works full-time, I eventually started to feel a little isolated, so I reached out for some other dads who'd made similar choices.  And it became obvious pretty fast that almost all of these dads were very defensive about their roles as at-home parents.  They wanted to announce to the world that, even though they were doing the "woman's work" of childrearing, they were exceedingly macho in all other areas of their life.

And that's just not me.  I don't follow any sports.  I love cooking.  I carry a "man-bag," which I just refer to as a purse, because that's what it is.  I work part-time in classical music and opera.  I love gardening.  I read feminist blogs with regularity (no offense).  I have a nerdy doctoral degree, and live in academia.  I am a screaming liberal.  I cook vegetarian much of the time.  When assembling things, I read the directions.

These things obviously don't make me any less of a man, but I find I'm a minority among minorities.  Or, even more often, people want very badly to understand me (which is great).  But often this starts with something like, "so you lost your job, man? Bummer." (Actually, this was a conscious choice.)  Or, "Hey, even though you're an at-home dad, I know you're just a guy. So how about the Packers?" (Thanks for the effort, but I have no idea!)  So I stake out my own little corner.  I'm a stay-at-home dad who actually fits the description people use to poke fun at us at-home dads.  And I wouldn't want to change myself at all. 

The Identity in Balance Writing Series is all about looking at how different parts of our lives and identities intersect. If you'd like to submit a post, you can find out more about the series here 


  1. Thanks for posting this! I should say, looking back the essay now that it's up here, "a minority among minorities" is probably overstating my case a lot. I mean, I'm a middle-class heterosexual white male. But in this one tiny particular instance, I do feel pretty marginalized...

    1. I think it's a fair way to describe it, especially since parenting is one of those things where we tend to seek out other people for advice and guidance. I think that can make it even more obvious that the people around you aren't doing it the same way you are.