Family Man

Despicable Me

The Provider
The Protector
The Repairman
The Outdoor Cook
The Empty Seat at Dinner

The Family Man
Many roles to play
Some choose one and hold
While others forge new niches
The Stay-At-Home

Times change the needs
More than a wallet or hammer
Diapers need changing
Homework needs checking
The Caretaker

Put on a tiara for her
And sip the invisible tea
Be his sidekick
And fight the villains on the couch
The Playmate

The Family Man
Is no longer defined
By work hours and wages
Home now requires
A tender masculine touch

____________________________________________________________

Some context here because the poem got away from me.  It was supposed to be about Ichabod Brooks and him being a family man.  This is a popular topic in The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks because he brings his wife and son up at least once per adventure  Yet, I thought of myself and how I’m different from him.  He’s certainly more of ‘The Provider’ in the stories since I don’t show him at home where he does a lot of kid stuff.  Anyway, the Stay-At-Home father is fairly new just as men being more involved in child-rearing.  It’s a change that causes a lot of confusion and criticism for some people.  I remember taking my son out food shopping in the middle of the day and I’d get strange looks.  Older people would even tell me that women are naturally better at feeding, diaper changes, and everything else.  I’d never get a response when I pointed out that I’ve done more of that than my wife, especially because of her Post-Partum issues.  I think the family dynamic is changing a lot for fathers, but the conversation doesn’t come up as often.  I’m looked at as a failure because I’m not working 3 jobs to provide and give my wife the time to stay home.  Does it hurt?  It used to, but I know I’m creating a bond with my son that I wouldn’t have if I was working myself to death.  Makes me wonder if fathers have to work harder to bond with their kids because we don’t have the initial contact that comes from the early stuff.  Hard for me to say since I’ve been hands on since before my son was born.  Never missed a single OBGYN appointment with the wife and people find it weird that I’m proud of that.

Anyway, that’s kind of where I’m coming from.  Mostly because I see so many discussions about parenthood and I can’t really get involved because I’m in a different situation.  People don’t like it if a guy steps in and points out that they’re a stay-at-home who isn’t like what they’re complaining about.  You’re really looked at as a freak on the Internet more than in the real world.  Not sure why.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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16 Responses to Family Man

  1. I love your poem, Charles. I think it is nice that you stay at home and are able to write and be involved in your child’s life. I find it really hard working full time and my husband works even longer hours and I don’t think he came to any of my OBGYN appointments when I was pregnant with my younger son.

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    • They were tough to make, but I had a flexible schedule that allowed for me to get there. Have to admit that it does get exhausting. Mostly because I feel like I have to juggle on weekends too.

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  2. I took a year off to be with my daughter during her first-grade year. Was homeroom mom and did all the mother things. I got strange looks as well. Someone even asked my daughter who the man was. She said loudly, “That’s my dad.” A proud moment indeed.

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  3. L. Marie says:

    Beautiful poem, Charles! I need to forward this to a friend of mine who is a stay-at-home dad of two little boys. He’s so good with them. But I know he gets the same judgmental looks. Thank you for sharing this part of your life.

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  4. I love that poem! It might be worth looking around for anthologies that take parenthood poetry. Chicken Soup For The Single Dad, or Parenthood Magazine, or whatever.

    I also have to say that being a stay-at-home Dad isn’t as strange as you might think. When my husband and I began to consider adoption (for reasons I won’t get into here), we thought it was a strange and exotic thing. That we were the only ones who ever had to have those conversations. But as we went along, we found that at least three people we knew and admired had been part of an adoption in some way. Adoption wasn’t strange and exotic. We weren’t the only ones.

    Being a stay-at-home Dad is like that. Once you mention it, you discover how many other families have had that conversation. In fact, Charles, a lot of stay-at-home Moms get pushback from different segments of society who think we should be working instead. You are definitely not alone in this.

    I guess, no matter what choices we make, people we know (or on the Internet, people we don’t even know) will take it upon themselves to comment before being asked. You’re right to let it slide off.

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  5. As my father traveled a lot, I work from home in a conscious decision to spend as much time with my daughter as I can.The tradeoff is that I’m a lot more cash-strapped now than I was growing up. Turns out that everything in life has an up and a down side. Who knew, right?

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    • My dad did night shifts for a while, so he was there, but sleeping a lot. I’m doing the same thing with working from home because it just feels harder for a father to connect to a child. We don’t get paternity time and are expected to be absent for most of the week. With you on the cash-strapped part too.

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