How can you Stay a Man?

There are two ways to maintain and increase your masculinity while being the Stay-At-Home and drudging through the emasculating chores of laundry, dishes, making dinner, cleaning vomit from couch cushions, more laundry, changing diapers, etc. The first is address your job your way. The second is to make sure that you exercise your self.

This is your job. It is not your wife’s that you are taking over for a short time while she goes out to the store. You are not the Substitute Mommy. You are not the Babysitter. You are raising your children and running your home. Do it like a man. Develop a system. Develop your system.

However it works for you, do it that way. If your wife has a better idea, maybe she would like to switch positions and stay home. If not, tell her to back up and watch the Master work.

However you decide to run the house and raise the kids, it needs to be done in such a way that will encourage your Inner Caveman and Hidden Gladiator. This does not mean you can test your daughter’s date by challenging him to a joust. However, give a nod to those instincts men have that we so often have to suppress for the good of society.

We like to shoot things. We like to hit things. We like to overpower things. Don’t agree? Then why are contact sports so popular? Of course, you can’t hit, shoot or overpower your children (or their boyfriends) or most of the stuff in your house. You can shoot baskets with a dirty diaper from across the room. You can put the toys that were left in the front yard into the back yard using a tennis racquet. You can pick up and carry your third grader to the car (probably a minivan) when he doesn’t want to go to the dentist.

If you want to clean the playroom using a push broom, shoving all of the toys to one wall, do it that way. When your wife comes home and asks you what in the hell you are doing, tell her you are tidying up quickly because the hockey game is going to start soon and you need the rink cleared.

Play hockey with your kids in the basement.

Laundry sucks, but you can make it manly. Buy a basket that only you can carry when it’s full. It can take three full loads. You will sweat and grunt when you take it upstairs and that is exactly the point.

Do things that will make you sweat and grunt. If you cannot find things that satisfy during the day, look outside the realm of parenting.

Not everything during a SAHDs day will lend itself to encouraging masculinity. Because of that, you have to find things that make you feel manly; that make you feel alive; that stir the fires of barbarism deep within you. Play football even if you think you are too out of shape. Go to a movie that has lots of mindless carnage. Chop wood. Go to a bar and watch a hockey game. Walk around in an sporting goods store and try to figure out what all those camping and hunting supplies are for. Dance like you did in high school. Embarrass your wife. Play poker.

Maintaining your masculinity cannot take precedence over the rest of your life, of course. Don’t spend every night proving how strong you are by being on a seven different softball leagues. You have an important job to do and most of that job involves paying attention to other people, not yourself. However, if you ignore your self and the aspects of it that most civilized people don’t talk about, you are going to run into trouble.

Even in the most sophisticated, sensitive man, there flows the blood of an ancestor that hunted for his food, killed for his country, and never even considered crying at “Old Yeller”. Don’t let that ancestor run around free, but don’t lock him away forever, either.

©2009, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance writer. Along with raising his four children, he is developing a franchise called “The Vacuum IS a Power Tool.” It is designed to help SAHDs maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching certificates in English, public speaking, and psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After six years as a high school English teacher and Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. or E-Mail

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