Mr. Mom

Fatherhood 2.0

This article was written in 2007, before the “economic downturn”, before the End of Men. It basically outlines the travails of house husbands and how “fulfilled” they felt they were in just “being there” for their kids.

What I find interesting in this article, and the many more just like it, is the fact that, once again, masculinity is always perceived in the negative. As if there is not a single beneficial quality of masculinity. “Masculinity is bad for you” you’re poisoned by your testosterone. Never is it mentioned that traditional, positive masculinity emphasizes rationality, persevereance, duty, and yes, risk taking behaviors that are necessary elements in daring to be something, or someone more than what your limited expectation might have you believe if all you had taught to you was feminine empathy, security-seeking and self-preservation instincts.

Imagine a world where men are taught not to rush into a burning building to save innocent lives because it’s just too dangerous. A feminine aspect is necessary for empathy, caring and nurturing to be complete, but you cut a person in half when you fail to teach them risk taking, perseverance, rationality, a desire to dominate and win, a positive competitive drive, and yes, a calculated ability to reserve and control one’s emotional reactions – all of these traits serve to make a more complete human being be they male or female.

99% of men in a house-husband capacity are there by economic or personal necessity, not by design. Notice that in every instance the guy is cast in his role due to his wife making more money than he – that was the reality of his situation. Of the guy’s interviewed in this article, you’d be hard pressed to find one who’s life’s ambition was to be a stay-at-home Dad. Most are so because of personal decisions they made and didn’t pan out. Is it any wonder that unemployed or underemployed men would need to find some rationale to give them a sense of pride? They make their necessity a virtue and then pass their failings along to another generation.

How many of these couples would’ve decided to have the father stay home if they both made the same money? How many opt to keep their children in daycare while both work due to economic realities? How many of these men will remain in their role once their children reach a self-sufficient adolscence? How many of these house husbands would still opt for this role (or reverse the role with their spouse) if offered a job that paid half again what their wives were making? You can fluff up the touchy-feely emotionality of it all, but at the end of the day it’s the bottom line that makes the decision, not some self-righteous sense of masculine or feminine purpose.

Paul Haley, 38, a father of two, says women look at him when he walks down the street with his kids. “I think it’s admiration,” he says.

Well I’d guess he’d better hope it is, otherwise it’s just him standing out like an anomally. Something tells me that a 38 y.o., married with 2 kids house husband would necessarily HAVE to interpret it as admiration, even though I’d doubt he has the social skills to recognize admiration from pity considering he’s been socially cut off dealing with diapers, runny noses, cartoons and early childhood development. Once again, necessity is a rationalized virtue.

I think there’s a derivative of Beta Game that men fulfilling a matronly role for their kids like to convince themselves of. They fashion for their egos the idea that since they are more directly involved in their kids upbringing, they share this commonality with women that other men don’t or wont. It’s a more pronounced form of Identification (beta) Game; “The ladies love me (but can’t have me) because I’m already the husbandly ideal they crave – a man who changes diapers, washes dishes, and gets the kids off to school.” As with most identification schemas, Mr. Mom thinks he sets himself apart from “other guys” by being better able to relate with experiences unique to women. By becoming a woman he believes he’s more desirable.

“Masculinity has traditionally been associated with work and work-related success, with competition, power, prestige, dominance over women, restrictive emotionality.”

Oddly enough, this is exactly the world into which women choose to put themselves. By this article’s definition, they are assuming the masculine role, but notice that for women, emmulating masculinity is a positve. If we’re going to go to the absolute and say “masculinity = bad” then professional mothers are the worst offenders of masculinity, because it is also their role to be the examples of feminine virture and nurturing. At the very least, by this logic, we’re expecting women to play both the masculine and feminine equally well. However in this model, we have a woman give birth and then pass off her responsibility of engendering her children with this exclusively positive femininity on her mate (which admittedly he’s unprepared for) while she goes off to engage in the masculine.

My daughter is not at want for anything either positively masculine or positively feminine. When she was younger I combed my daughters hair for her, not because I was “exploring my feminine side”, but because her hair needed combing so she was presentable and we could get out the door and be on time to whatever it was we were doing. I also personally taught my girl to ride a bicycle, even after she’d gone and fell off it numerous times and was scared crazy about it. But she got back on that damn bike, tears and all, and learned how to risk injury for a greater reward. I taught her to swim as well using the same principle. Mrs. Tomassi has a primal fear of deep water and about pees herself when I take my daughter into the waves (and they’re pretty small in Florida) at the beach. But once my girl got over that fear, she learned how fun it is to play in the surf. Both of us do homework with her and teach her along with her schooling, is this a masculine or feminine trait? On occassion, I’ll make her re-do an assignment, even though correct, if she’s done a sloppy job of it. She predictably complains and kvetchs all over, but the “big, mean, evil masculine” Father sticks to this so as to instill a sense of pride in ones work. I’m sure the authors of this article would call me a callous tyrant for being masculine and insensitve, but often enough it takes a masculine man to kick a kids ass because sometimes ‘good enough’ isn’t – not because masculinity is bad, but because I love her and it’s necessary.

34 comments

  1. From the article:
    “When men take on nontraditional roles in the home and family, it also makes a difference to the marriage. ……… found in separate studies that when men contribute to domestic labor (which is part and parcel of parenting), women interpret it as a sign of caring, experience less stress and are more likely to find themselves in the mood for sex”
    If you are beta guess who gets the sex?

  2. Ouch Rollo, that man/mom in picture you used lives in my town.

    Being a father, I have had to balance the issues you bring up as well. I sincerely value the time and connection I have with my two young boys but I realize that the influence that I have over them will be different than that of my wife’s. I absolutely reinforce the strength, power and responsibility they will take on as they become men.

    Recently my nephew fractured some vertebrae while doing flips on a trampoline. He was in pain and wearing a back brace. I called him up and aside from telling him to take it easy and heal up I also joked with him about how his mom, my sister, would never understand why he wanted to take risks and do flips on a trampoline.

    This is something I find myself doing more and more with the boys around me. I’ve been trying to give them permission to take risks despite what the women around them might think.

    Lately I’ve been thinking about the “bully” issue with kids. We hear so much about how bullying is a problem and how we need to control it. The annoying part, from my perspective, is that no one is talking about equipping the kid getting bullied with tools to deal it. Arming the kids with the tools to deal with bullies is not even in the discussion! The only thing that is focused on is controlling the bullying in the first place.

    This is very frustrating to me as it, again, reflects the feminized/victim mentality so prevalent in our societ today. The kid that is getting bullied is little more than a passive victim and is not being encouraged to stand up for himself.

    I think all of us have been bullied by someone when we were kids and what it taught us carries through to adulthood. Being able to take a stand against something you don’t think is right is a necessary skill. I believe that positive masculinity and the will to take the risk that standing your ground might invite is survival skill.

  3. It is evident that game principles are necessary not just for courtship, but well into mairrage and raising children.

  4. Its all like some alternate version of Freaky Friday where women are in men’s bodies and men are in women’s bodies. Except some magic event is not going to suddenly switch us back to the correct spot.

  5. On the far end of the spectrum feminists believe that testosterone is the “evil” hormone, responsible for everything that is bad in the world. They believe that if we were only able to eradicate everything that is masculine that the world would be a perfect, peaceful and harmonious place. No joke, I had one frothing at the mouth trying to tell me this awhile back.

    Obviously most women don’t think this way but as with a lot of other radical thoughts and behaviors that are more common these days how much of this seeps down into the collective consciousness?

  6. My BIL has probably genius level intelligence, but doesn’t like to work. He’s now a stay-at-home dad to a single school-ager while his wife works. His family and friends think he’s lazy as he putters around all day like a retired dude, waiting for his kid to get off the bus. His wife and him are both masculine role models for their kid, and his wife accepts his non-work because he’s easier to live with (aka less stressed from not working). I think my nephew is weird and my BIL a lazy emasculated pussy while my SIL is a ball-busting bitch. Nice family dynamics to grow up in.

  7. These guys can spin it all they want, they can’t hide the defeated, sunken look of the few SADs (heh) that I’ve met.

    Sure they’re good people and all, but they look like they’ve given up. Like they know they’re not Men anymore. It’s tragic, really.

  8. I’ve not yet met a SAHD who seemed truly confident and happy in the role. Those I’ve gotten to know all have a look in their eye like they’re wearing an ill-fitting garment–and look like they’d prefer to take it off.

    Yea, I know. There are polls reporting that SAHD’s say otherwise. But I suspect a great many responses to the question suffer from both a social desirability bias and a heavy dose of rationalization (in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance).

    The simple fact is this: men alive today have descended from those men before them who were absolutely the LEAST likely to find satisfaction in a stay-at-home-dad-type role. That is, our male forbears who were the most reproductively successful were the ones who found satisfaction in leaving home for the hunt. (And our most successful female forbears were the ones who mated with the men who enjoyed bringing back the kill from the hunt). Everyone else simply starved–and the dead don’t pass along their genes.

    What we’re left today then is what Warren Farrell wisely calls the father’s Catch-22: “Fathers show their love to their family by being away from the love of their family.”

    I suspect that only when women begin wanting to hurry home from the office in order to rabidly f*ck their SAHD partners (instead of becoming coyly attracted to their successful male partners in the office) will the genetic code begin to change. …And I’m not counting on this change in female behavior anytime soon.

  9. Far too much of this feminist male-mitigation bilge has seeped down into the collective… and please, no one take this as a threadjack, but those other cultures that DON’T tolerate being emasculated – like Islam – will roll right over our subsequent generations unless it’s reversed.

    Again, NOT to make this political or a holy war of religions, but to paraphrase the saying, ‘history belongs to those who show up, and assert the will to dominate.’ Unless we foment and cultivate that masculine into our generational males – by clearly dividing the masculine and feminine – and appreciating both roles – they’ll suffer because of it. And that’d be a crime on our part.

  10. “Fathers show their love to their family by being away from the love of their family.”

    That is quite a powerful statement and I really never saw it that way before. I’m glad you posted that. It just doesn’t make sense to a woman that being apart can show love when being together is what is so important to us.

  11. Rollo PLEASE delete tha picture, its grossing me out and making me not want to click on your blog!!

  12. When I first looked at the picture I thought some guy was seriously about to give birth.
    That’s a frightening image.

    And

    “On occassion, I’ll make her re-do an assignment, even though correct, if she’s done a sloppy job of it. ”
    If you didn’t she would be average like most of the world, I totally agree.

  13. necorochi ,

    LOL that guy did give birth.

    And Rollo, I also request you take the picture down. It’s sickening.

  14. Hold it. Hold it, hold it, holditholditholdit.

    That pregnant dude isn’t a photoshop? He’s some kind of fertile hermaphrodite? Got on the wrong hormone prescription?

    In hell will I click on that YouTube. Not that curious.

  15. If I remember correctly (not going to click on it, either), it’s a sex change operation type deal. All over the place a few years ago. You’re lucky you were able to avoid this while it was going on.

  16. Absolutely right!….Europe’s just a few years ahead of us in this race to national suicide….And the Muslims are rolling there…

  17. I think the first photo was in some ways more illustrative of the dystopian nature of the reality in which we now exist.

    But boy am I glad you took it down.

  18. Male traits and female traits are perfectly suited to the role we evolved to fill, and both are EXACTLY what the opposite sex find most attractive – if they weren’t, those genes/traits would have died out. I find men who try to be women sickening – it goes against evolution, and several hundred thousand years of evolution. Personally, I embrace who I am, and relish in being male and doing “male” things – since it is who I am, and the women reward me for it. They did when I was 20, and still do now that I’m approaching 50. Why argue with success?

    So the men that want to be women, that’s fine – it means there are more real women out there for me. And from my perspective – that is all that matters in the end.

  19. Amazing how the old pic triggers a visceral disgust in so many people, especially men.

  20. So the right thing to do as a man is to not marry any woman with a career. Why accommodate her “she can have it all” meme that’s utter bullshit but actually make that a reality?

  21. Pingback: The Perfect Man «
  22. Would a *real* alpha change the picture because some wimps can’t handle a confronting pic? Oh, the alpha hypocrisy!

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