I worked so hard at not being that guy. It was in vain apparently.
I didn’t even know there were guys like that until I started running into more stay at home dads, and dads who believe themselves to more involved then what society considers the norm.
It had happened once before. In fact the story surrounding that incident is what got this whole blog thing started and became the intro to the book. You can read that first post here: The the Kroger Lady Strikes Back. But I was a rookie then, brand new to being a father, a retiree, and a stay at home dad. It was also our first adventure out together.
After that exchange at the Kroger I vowed to not become “That Dad”. You know the type, easily offended at the smell of the slightest degradation of stay at home dads, or the faintest sniff of placing moms higher on the pantheon of parenting then dads.
Navy fighter pilots used to have a saying, “Don’t ask a man if he’s a fighter pilot. If he is he’ll let you know, if he’s not, don’t embarrass him.” Stay at home dads are starting to corner the market of the “he’ll let you know” part of that quote.
I promised myself I wouldn’t become that. I even went to war with some of these dads on a web site called the Goodmen Project over an “offensive” commercial made by Huggies diapers. You can read that here if you want: I’ll be taking these Huggies…”
All a waste of time. I’ve been assimilated.
I picked Frank up from pre-school on Monday like I do every day. I knew it was Veterans Day but I did not equate that with the increased number of dads in the parking lot picking their kids up from stay-n-play. By the way, the person who came up with stay-n-play, keeping the kids in the schoolyard for an hour after school, is a freaking genius. I would take a bullet for that person. They should retire the Nobel Peace Prize in this person’s name.
Anyway, so I’m not clueing in that the number of dads in the lot has gone up exponentially or why it has. Honestly, I really didn’t care as I am a self centered person of the highest order.
But then I got to the gate of the Stay-n-Play yard. It’s not unlike yard time at your better high security prisons. I notice a newbie on the gate. Maybe a newbie, probably not, but I’ve never seen her before.
Newbie girl says, “wow another one, a lot of dads picking up their kids today.” The look on my face must have said, “I’m stupid, enlighten me.” So she does; “You know cause of the holiday and all.”
Then it hit me. She thinks I’m just one of these other dudes. I resisted the hollywood star faux pas and did not say, “Do you know who I am?” Again I did not say that, although I wanted to. What I did say was about as bad.
“Oh, I pick Frank up every day. I’m retired.” Hahaha. Sounds as dumb now as it did then. I might as well been wearing a Members Only jacket with the SAHD letters embroidered on the pocket.
Ask any one who ever served with me, I built a 22yr military career on not caring what people thought of me. I had no other discernible skill and still lasted 22 years. Yet in a heart beat I was reduced to idiocy in the parking lot of a pre-school. By a newbie too.
Ah well, such is life.
Gotta run, have to send hate mail to some diaper companies that think moms are better than dads at handling a crap riddled cloth with ultra absorbent material and stay put tabs.