Mister Mister Mom Mom or Manual Manual Laborer Laborer?


It would seem that the internal monologue is getting pretty complex. Or maybe she’s just sleepy.

After not having heard it for weeks, I got called “Mr. Mom” twice in quick succession yesterday, at the very-quick-and-cheap haircut place and then by the supermarket checker.

I guess I do look a little like Michael Keaton.


The double insult put an ironic cap on a long day of domesticity. Boobaby woke up in an oppositional mood: not clothing, nor toothbrush, nor breakfast cereal would satisfy the beast. So we (read: “I”) decided to make it a home day and set out to accomplish what we could with a house torn apart by days of travel and neglect.

We washed a boatload of dishes, baked sugar cookies, watered the yard, ran a few loads of laundry, and by the time naptime rolled around, Boobaby was back to her usual peppy self.

I, however, was running-into-walls-tired. Doing chores with a two-year old means doing them several times over. She’ll wash a bowl, but then I have to wash her, and probably the bowl, too. She learned to fold napkins today, but then, of course, I had to fold them again. The watering, washing, and baking all took their toll on her wardrobe; she was in four sets of clothes, and each change took a negotiation and a wrestle.

Collapsing onto the couch after Boo went down, I popped a bunch of old newscasts on the iPod. I was only half-listening when a statistic caught my attention. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I perked up when the reporter mentioned that whatever social ill he was covering disproportionately affects “manual laborers.”

Does that mean — me?

In what way am I not a “manual laborer”? Sure, my job requires a fair bit of thoughtfulness, but I expect that the same is true of a typical auto worker. I really don’t know how the statisticians split the labor force (and I suspect with some annoyance that they probably call me a “non-worker”). But today, at any rate, my sore muscles and I felt ample solidarity with the world’s lunch-bucket workers. What a day.

So if you’re going to call me “Mr. Mom,” at least do so with a little respect for the toil that goes into that, won’t you?