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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

outnumbered by severely bitter, yet somehow terrifyingly capable, moms

unless i am completely delusional (not totally impossible), i think i've got a good hang of this whole stay-at-home-weeping-while-your-child-refuses-to-nap-then-drink-scotch-at-3-pm fatherhood thing. i got it down, more or less. gotten more zen on the whole napping front, seeing as how she sleeps through the night and i can't really complain. my sideburns are supremely bitchin'. wearing the bjorn no longer makes me feel all leprous. all's good.

every now and then, when the child and i are returning from an afternoon strolling through the neighborhood, chilling in the park or, mostly, carousing at the local public house, we will run into a neighbor. (a word about the hood: it has been overtaken by the stay-at-home zombiemom. stepford's got nothing on the ladies of park slope: the bugaboo strollers, the coffee klatches at tea lounge, the dark social dance of the playground, small talk teeming with ill-concealed envy, intrigue and treachery.) so when the kidlet and i return from a stroll we will invariably encounter one of these odd ducks -- all brittle smiles -- and they will ask me, "so how's it going? how are you handling staying at home?"

it's clear that they want me to crack. they want me, the dad, to fail. they are rooting against me, all of them. maybe, just maybe, they are jealous because their own loveless husbands would never dream to stay home (personally, i like this interpretation). mostly i can tell they want me to confide, to crumble, to shake my disheveled head and cry "she won't nap, she always cries, she doesn't like her bottle!" and they will gleefully reply: "babies, what can you do?" never! i will not give them the satisfaction of seeing me play into that tired old hapless-dad meme. that will only happen behind closed doors, when mrs nice guy returns from work to find me in the storage closet, naked and drunk in the fetal position, sobbing quietly. publicly, however, life is good. granted, since i refuse to commiserate, i just don't have any momfriends. thank goodness for dear old jim beam. he's always there for me.

ok, fine, i will cop to one dad shortcoming. i don't know if this is a gender thing or not, but here it is: the moms all know how to dress their kids impeccably. my wife included. me? i cannot even dress myself without multiple attempts and focus groups, and even then i usually end up leaving the house looking like some dishonorably discharged soldier of the salvation army. example: yesterday i put my daughter in an adorable violet onesie. but then i wondered, what now? a dress? overalls? shorts? jeans? i tried a pair of orange shorts. she looked like benny, the retarded office worker in LA Law. fine. i tried a denim overall-dress. she looked like a lunatic baby, the tiniest neighborhood cat lady. fine. jeans? she looked like a fat german tourist. gah! by now she was crying because i kept putting clothes on her and then taking them off. finally i went with a tried-and-true matching top and bottom. my new strategy: keep her naked as much as possible. if venturing outside, just dress her in something practical. don't try to get creative.

the next time i run into an overzealous neighbor acting impossibly interested in my doomed dadhood, i will tell her the truth: "oh, she's fine, but she hates her burlap loincloth. her skin 'chafes' and 'bleeds.' she cries all day. babies, what can you do?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just imagine trying to be one of the pack.

Let me tell ya, its brutal, judgemental and catty to the extreme.

"Well, my little Jimmy was SITTING UP...and doing algebra at 4 MONTHS!!"

"Bah...thats nothing, Sarah was TALKING at three weeks, and even dialed the UN to open discussions on equal rights for all babies"

"Well, my darling Timothy has discovered the cure for cancer, and HE is ONLY 2 months old!"

A LOT of the women that I have come into contact with are constantly trying to one-up each other. Better stroller, better dressed (matching outfits always sent me into hilarity), hitting milestones sooner than every other child on the planet, pre-admission to John's Hopkins already arranged etc.

When they go home and no one is watching, you betcha someone is cryin or boozin.

When DH stayed home with the Rugrat, he coped by making me look bad. He cleaned, cooked, did laundry, strolled the mall getting hit on my women. I hated him.

She is two now, and some days I need a drink by 10.

9/07/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger momma of 2 said...

They are just jealous that their husbands wont stay home with their kids. When Big Guy was born, Hubby worked 8 on, 6 off, and didnt' go in until noon. Big Guy was only in Daycare from 12:00 until 4:30 every other week - we were so lucky. A lot of people, including Hubby's Mom couldn't believe that hubby would do that. He loves his kids, why wouldn't he. Up until a few weeks ago, when his shift changed, he was home with them in the morning until 11:00 and all day Friday. Life was good.

And the ASHM's didn't get it, the ladies in my office didn't get it...but my kids did - and they loved it!

9/07/2005 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm convinced the only reason my wife wanted a baby is to dress him/her. She has kind of admitted this to me. We have enough clothes for our son and some triplets. Thankfully we have bought most on Ebay and probably spent less than most on baby clothing despite having the clothing inventory of Baby Gap at our place.
We are now trying for another baby and my wife would prefer a girl. Why? Of course so that she can dress her in the finest clothing on earth. God ohh God I hope they don't come up with Prada baby clothing....

9/08/2005 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn;t just you... generally those kinds of moms like to see anyone fail. We call them the mommy mafia in my 'burb...

BTW, dressing kids is one of those "nice to do"s but I find it is easier to hose the Bean down when he is just in his diaper. Saves on the laundry time. Of course, the mommy mafia would NEVER approve.

9/08/2005 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burlap loin cloths and Mommy Mafias....hahahaha!

Took me a while, but I finally made it through all of your escapades. Laughed so hard my abs are now tight as a rock. Thanks. I look forward to staying in shape via this site.

9/08/2005 4:29 PM  
Blogger BIYF said...

(Fist raised high)


9/09/2005 2:27 PM  

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