From oil wells to the frontlines of fatherhood - a guest post by Robert Johnson
Topic: Guest post
Gawker take note
(Note: With a seven month old and a four year old on his lap Robert Johnson of Wyoming
sat down at his computer and wrote the
first guest post on athomedad. Originally submitted as a "rant"
on the message board, he agreed to share his perspective on dads and masculinity.)
There are difficult days, and because it is always fun to create or add to stereotypes, most men can not handle being at home with the
kids all day let alone weather the difficult days. I know because I worked in a number of male dominated environments and saw how lazy,
mostly emotionally lazy, my compadres are. This distance runs the same gamut through the oil field labor hands to the career motivated
professionals. Yeah, there are exceptions, but like I said, I am adding to and creating stereotypes here.
The brother-in-law the other day was lamenting how busy he is at the bank every day. I reminded him I worked in banks, was a specialist in
department consolidation during the big bank mergers of the 90's, and knew how hard bankers worked most of the time. He forgot. He was
using the "work" exhaustion to cover why he wasn't very patient with my nieces. We live in a small city where, like most places, the male is driven
by their status in the community. Here it manifests itself in the young professionals in the board hunt. There are numerous boards and civic organizations all layered in a pseudo hierarchy that represents
your importance to the community. The bonus is the members to got to make a difference, add to the community, make things better,
contribute to society, do good work.
The down side is the younger "boys" have to build their chops. To do this they must multi-board so
they can make the jumps to the higher status organizations. The multi-board makes them a stranger to their families because of the
number of outside obligations connected to each board. They are living up to their maleness to compete and be a big dog while almost
shunning their families. Then they parrot in interviews, "Yes, the most important thing to me is family and especially my kids." (the
ones who run to the door to the see the familiar stranger before he runs off to another board meeting).
I've witnessed male teachers, feeling the strain of proving their masculinity, coach all three school
seasons, join less status boards, and join or start clubs focused on their personal interest. All
proving that despite their dedication to the next generation, they can still be manly by avoiding their families.
When I worked in the oil field, the focus was on embracing as many hours as possible because of the overtime pay-- the same pay most of
them used up at the local strip club they used to avoid their families. The thing I
noticed in all of these environments is how little the male wanted to work at connecting with either his wife or his kids.
They all said the same thing, their wife and kids were the most important thing in the world--. The same guys who wouldn't think of
cracking a parenting book, believe that authoritarian parenting is the best, actually brag about spanking, complain their wives are too
indulgent, and want the home and nurturing work done so they can build their status and bank. An emotionally easier path because
there is no investment of self, only an investment for self. If the societal push of real but minor sex differences is to cater
to an illusion of self sacrifice and the myth of providing for the family then we can assume there will always be a high divorce rate, a
trend in kids leaving their communities when they enter the workforce, and the continued breakdown of families.
I am glad there are a lot
of books to justify this "difference" because it must make some people feel better-- mostly men-- who are usually too emotionally lazy to
build the real future (had to toss in some corn). Now I need to clean up a blow-out, fill a
sippy-cup ,and reload the diaper bag so I can fill up the truck, get the oil changed, go to the
library, and have the ski stuff ready so my wife and the oldest can go to their skiing lesson after school today. I love this job
am I tired.
you would like to guest post on athomedad drop
me a line)
The KCDADS have been invited to voice their opinion on the a new Children's Museum
during the planning stages. The 36,500 square-foot
museum which will focus on literature is
slated to open by the summer of 2009. Source: Al's KCDADS
I've seen thousands of
clients, and almost every time I've seen a stay-at-home dad seek alimony,
the wife--she's usually a software executive--goes ballistic. - Carol
Ann Wilson, a certified financial divorce practitioner speaking out on women
and alimony. Source:
Increasingly Paying Alimony