I was deep in high brow conversation at the park with another Dad recently when he drifted off our debate about the relative merits of swings and slides (swings are better) and into the far more murky waters of whether Dads are attractive to the opposite sex. Disclaimer numero uno – this is a story about a friend, this is not a story about me masquerading as a ‘friend’, got it, disclaimer installed I shall now continue. He claimed, with a slightly smug grin it must be said, that women find him more attractive now that he is a professional pram pusher. He also noted that having a puppy does wonders for his raw pulling powers, as he casually beckoned his pugadoodle pup – this guy had the whole package.
I found his argument a little deluded to be honest with you. I will now lay down my second disclaimer (I must be skating on thin ice to require not one but two disclaimers) and state that being a very, no wait extraordinarily, happily married man I am intrigued by his claim rather than hoping to profit from it. Being a stay at home parent has all the glamour and sex appeal of a pair of sweaty socks, actually some people are partial to a sweaty sock, but I’m talking about normal people. I will now allow you a voyeuristic glimpse into a typical unsexy day in the life of this dad. I wake up for the fifth time, this time it’s light so I know it’s serious. I inspect my growing army of grey hairs in the mirror, try to remember what it was like to have white eyes as opposed to red ones and step into the shower in the hope it will perform energising miracles. I pick up the clothes that were unceremoniously dumped at the side of my bed the previous night and through slightly gritted teeth promise Max that we will have a day of unparalleled fun and excitement. We have a bowl of cereal; Max prefers to let the milk really soak in before ditching bib, spoon and social etiquette in favour of good old hands.
I load up my wheels with everything I can arm myself to avoid a parenting catastrophe and start to push and I push and I push and I push. I look on at the “crisp shirts” lined up at the tram stop in the morning and look down to survey my own attire, wondering why I opted for jeans with dubious milk stains around the crutch. I then wait in line for my caffeine and ear wig the exciting exploits of the crisp shirts, all that talk of bars, restaurants and movies is so glamorous, I then turn to Max and we discuss whether he would like an apple or a banana.
We head for the park the same park we head for most days. Some Mums acknowledge us, some are friendly and some still can’t see the correlation between man and baby. I suppose being a dad in a sea of mums (we’re talking metaphorically again) is what makes the whole thing so unsexy to me. I am basically one of them (or you) I do the same things, I moan about the same things and I, well I am you but with different bits and pieces. The daily grind for stay at home parents of both persuasions is fairly unglamorous and I would imagine does not leave many of us feeling spunky (check out how Australian I am) but I can see that there is a certain empathy that would exist between SAHM and SAHD that could in the wrong hands be confused with attraction. One thing that is for sure The Boy gets all the female attention and thats just fine by me. I will conclude the rambling there and before I have to deliver anymore disclaimers I will sign out and wait with baited breath on the verdict; Stay at Home Dads – Duds or Dudes?