Downplaying and… I dunno, "Up-playing?"

by doodaddy on August 30, 2007

I hugged Park Buddy today.

It wasn’t what you’re thinking — there’s none of that, thank you, despite the opinions of a couple of sanctimommies at the playground.

No, we just both needed a little reassurance today that even though Buddy Boy is going off to school next week, Buddy and I will still be buddies. We’re friends, we love each other’s kids, and we really enjoy our mutual outings. So we hugged, and there’s no reason I should feel guilty about it, right?

I’m not telling my wife about it, though.

Do you think you’ve caught me in a lie of omission? Well, ’tain’t the only one: I downplay the wonderful things about my life every day. I gloss over all sorts of stuff:

  • Outdoor adventures on beautiful days — my job is to go to the zoo and the beach and whatnot
  • Meandering (if interrupted) conversations with Park Buddy and my other (mostly female) friends
  • Those moments — like finding bugs together, or laying on the sand, or dancing — when I feel a deepening connection with my daughter

And then again, I emphasize parenting’s challenges:

  • Crying jags
  • Sore shoulders
  • Exhaustion
  • Isolation

I have no idea what drives me to do this, when the reality is exactly the opposite: I am generally thrilled with my life and career as a stay-at-home dad, and only occasionally do I feel the strain. And if it were any other job, I’d be likely to share with my wife all the things I love about it.

Why on earth do I downplay the very things that make me the happiest? I guess I’m justifying my cushy job… and rationalizing away the guilt I feel for depending on my wife to enable me to do this.

Do stay-at-home moms of one feel guilty like I do? Does it get easier when you have more kids?

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tagged as , in sanctimommies,stay-at-home guilt,Working Mom ·

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 30, 2007 at 5:27 pm

1) Yes
2) I don’t want to find out

Well, you’re still in the first year and all. Sometimes I think a few more tykes would justify my job a bit! Maybe I should open a daycare. –Dd.


Manda August 30, 2007 at 6:08 pm

“rationalizing away the guilt I feel for depending on my wife to enable me to do this.” –> Why would you feel guilt? My husband was a stay at home dad for the first 2 years of our oldest’s life and always told me how he felt guilty – yet now that our oldest is 6 years old he says it was the best 2 year of his life and the best job he’s ever had, hands down. Nothing is ever easier when you add more bodies to the picture.. LoL. We’re a chaotic family of 5 – somehow I can’t figure out how I manage day to day, but we do. =0) Cheer up – I LOVE reading your blog. You’re a wonderful “DooDaddy”.

Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence! The guilt only comes on those days when things seem so easy and wonderful — which is most days, these days. But I’ll try to fight it off and just enjoy my un-frikkin-believable great job! — Dd.


Johnny August 30, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Hello, I am a stay-at-home dad and just ran across your blog.

Sometimes I do feel a little guilty, but I try not to think too much about it. If you want my opinion, I think it has to do with the tough stuff we were taught as children.

Ask me in 7 months if it’s easier with two. My wonderful daughter is almost 2 and we are at about 12 weeks on the second.

I sometimes wonder if I’d be better off if I *had* learned some of the tough stuff as a boy. I was raised by a single mom — who became a psychologist, no less! — so I’m actually having to re-learn some of the basics, like playing catch and letting Boo fall on her own without being caught.

Congrats on #2 — keep me posted!



alysianfields August 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm

i’m a sahm, and i have to say, sometimes i do feel guilty. mostly because i know my huz really, really hates his job. i mean, a lot. so, those days when cheeky and i go to the park and have a lovely day in the sun and wind and gorgeous-ness, i tend to downplay the niceness, and up-play the fact that the boy wouldn’t nap. but, in all reality, i think my huz knows what really goes on. and, he knows somedays i would love to switch jobs with him, crappy job be damned!

Yeah, I know — the hard days will come, and then I’ll feel less guilty. I take the overnight wakeups, so that makes things feel more even, too. And even though Working Mom doesn’t hate her job — sometimes she loves it — it is still a job. Hanging out with a happy baby is better.



Kiki August 31, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I just found your blog through Manda’s! And yes, I feel guilty sometimes. I was a soldier 12 years and only have been doing the SAHM thing for 4 years, but I love it and I feel guilty! I have 4 kids, and no, it doesn’t get easier! Just more interesting! But the guilt gets less because I KNOW I work harder than my husband!!

Man, with four, I *bet* you do, unless he works three jobs. Wow. Someday… — Dd.


cake February 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm

i know this is an old post…
i feel very guilty being a stay at home mom. not because my partner has to go to work, he loves his job, and ends up being home a lot too. what i feel bad about is parents who want to stay at home with their kids, but can’t make it work financially. it is a privilege to be able to give our kids this wonderful time and attention, at the time when they need it the most.


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