Friday, November 9, 2007

Shabbat Idea - Novemeber 9, 2007

It has been one year and here are my Shabbat Thoughts for November 9, 2007:
I didn’t make it this year…but there is always next year.
Brad on the (non) Jewish-ness of the strike

I am back and pissed. So all is right with the world. I really didn’t think writing this thing would be useful, but then I read another blogger, and thought I would try to be useful and important.

Judith Warner of the New York Times wrote on her blog that daddys who stay home have a double standard. Ok now I don’t know because I am not a dad who stays home, but I was raised by one, here is my take on Warner’s assault on the double standard issues but really her attack on parents who stay home in general.

Stay-at-home fathers are not common even though stay-at-home dads have increased by more than 300% over the past few years, they still make up less than 5% of the staying-at-home parent population. I am in my mid-twenties and when I was little my dad was strange, weird, and questioned about his manhood because he stayed at home with my sister and me. My mom worked. She also was questioned and thought of as a freak. And this all happened outside of the Cosmopolitan New York City.

These days, more dads are staying home as women work. Yet in places far from New York or LA (or Chicago for you out there who think it is a big city) dads don’t stay home and they are still seen as freaks. Warner however take this to an entirely ridiculous level, by calling involved parenting “ninnyishness” that once was seen as “a uniquely female thing.”

Shut-up PLEASE! This piece is more about values than who is making the statements stay home morality as she calls it. Warner has chosen a high powered writing career which is hard and filled with deadlines where you get to express your creativity and oh boo who! Parents who choose to stay home also have a lot of work to do and I would venture an important position in the world. Second Shift? Ever heard of it? Working at home as if you are working at a job...double standard this!

It is a good thing if a parent can stay home and raise children. It was wonderful having a parent at home who was involved in my life and cared about what happened to me. (For the record, my mother didn’t miss a single game or performance for either my sister or me.) But this crap about ninnyness and other such put downs about parenting as a burden reinforce the idea that people who don’t work are weak, people who talk about their “boring” life’s work (be it parenting or another unacceptable service profession, Ms Warner) don’t belong at socialite parties.

My goal in life, and I have said this before, is to be a good father. Other stuff will come because I work hard and try to live right. But being a good father is hard work that doesn't come just from working hard. Ms Warner seems to discount the fact that parenting is a useful and important aspect of our society. Just because it doesn’t yield exciting conversation for you and yours Ms Warner, doesn’t mean that working on the home front as apposed to the Iraqi front is less important. Arguably I would say raising the next generation of children is much more important than writing your hard-hitting column.

As a closing note: One Year ago, this blog started. I have written on lots, I have received some links, made some virtual and real friends, and pissed off a lot of other people. I don’t believe I have made much of a difference, but at least I make a few people read and think about things that I think are important. Thank you to DK, Annie, DovBear, Mobius, Oriyenta, MidEastYouth, Jspot, Jewlicious, Soccer Dad, Yael, KesherTalk, Esther K, East Village Mamele, red bun, David Singer, BZ, Ex Texan, Uppity Wisc,Winding Road and others who have visited, linked and commented.

Shabbat Shalom


Anonymous said...

Thanks POLJ... you told her!

Anonymous said...

First, you're welcome.

Second, thank you. I'm a stay-at-home Dad who is mostly amused at the reactions to people who hear that but sometimes perturbed. It would cost close to $25-30,000 a year to have the twins in daycare. And I'd still have to take off if they were sick or had a dr's appt. As a writer, I have the flexibility in my schedule to set aside the work and change diapers, feed, and sometimes just play with my boys. Not everyone is so lucky.

Take care - and make sure you make it to the ProgFaithBlogCon II

Xpatriated Texan

Liberal Jew said...


Thanks for the note!

DK said...

"I don’t believe I have made much of a difference"

These things are often hard to measure. But ultimately, the main payoff of blogging (besides meeting like-minded/not so like-minded and interesting people) should not be affecting change, though it is great when that happens, nor challenging others (which you have unquestionably done), but rather, challenging yourself, growing through the back and forth, and just forcing yourself to clarify and reexamine your own positions. In Judaism, the primary growth we are responsible for is not changing others, but changing oneself.