Bumbling dads? Laid-back dads.

There's a pretty good article about SAHDs on NewYorkMetro.com that a friend tipped me too. It profiles a couple of Dads from Brooklyn (I'm assuming Boerum Hill is in Brooklyn) who seem pretty well adjusted and happy with their lives. In other words, like most of us SAHDs. The author does sort of make it seem like this is only happening in some of the "funkier neighborhoods," but whatever. You don't have to live in a "funky" neighborhood to be funky. (I hate that word "funky").

There is one interesting point to the article that I haven't really seen before, but I've been thinking about too. That is, as dads, are we more relaxed because we're allowed to be bumbling? Plenty of us rail at images in the media that show stupid dads  - like the Verizon commercial about the dumb dad getting in the way of his daughter's homework. But do we also use this convenient stereotype to, at the worst be lazy, or at best to just be more laid back about raising our kids? I'm not sure.

For me at least, I think I'm just naturally more laid back about parenting than my wife. This isn't a criticism, we just have a different way of dealing with things. The comment one of the dads made about "A child screaming hysterically and crying doesn’t upset me that much. I can roll with it." really rang true for me. But I have to admit I do fall back on the bumbling or clueless dad stereotype sometimes, particularly in public. For example, when the three of us are out at a restaurant or something on the weekend, usually the waitress or hostess will automatically ask my wife about the kid - whether she needs a menu or a high chair or whatever. And when she does I'm not offended; quite the opposite. I secretly like pretending I don't have a clue - it kind of takes off the pressure and gives me a break.

So am I perpetuating a societal misconception that dads don't have any idea about what their kids need when I don't get in the face of the hostess at the local brew pub and tell her that Madame will have a high-chair and no kid's menu? I don't think so - it's just a secret perk of being a dad that I don't have to deal for a change. The bottom line is being a SAHD is a great privilege, selfish side benefits and all.

Who's Their Daddy? [NewYorkMetro.com via brand new dad Brian]