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Stay-at-home dad (facebook.com)
303 points by joebeetee on July 7, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 197 comments

The part about being viewed suspiciously at the playground was particularly awful.

Why is it that we as a society are so fucking fearful? We have an irrational fear of communists, socialists, terrorists, serial killers, sex offenders, and of course, child molesters and abductors. Everyone thinks that there is someone out there who is out to hurt them and their family. Like, that is the default assumption, and people's subsequent behaviors (such as pulling their kid closer) is based on it.

A non-parent man sitting at a playground bench and reading his paper is very, very likely to get the cops called on him, even though he's on public property. Is this right?

Speaking as a dad, I hate taking my boys to the playground for the same reason. Moms see "man unaccompanied by woman, must be a predator" - I make a big show out of interacting with my boys and obviously being their father, but it's really grating that it's even necessary at all.

As to the culture of fear, I blame local news. It's wall-to-wall with alternating RAPISTS EVERYWHERE and LOOKIT THE CUTE PUPPIES, because those are the only stories that can compete with other news media. Telling people that they should be terrified (your neighbor is probably a child molester! Full story at 10!) is an extremely powerful tool, and people eat it up.

As a parent, I can understand those moms' reactions, even if I don't condone them. My kids are the most precious thing in the world to me, and I would rather err on the side of caution than ever let something truly traumatic happen to them. But, I think there's a line between being vigilant and being paralyzed in fear because someone with a penis is within 200 yards of your kid.

> I make a big show out of interacting with my boys and obviously being their father, but it's really grating that it's even necessary at all.

I wanted to disagree with you, but when I read that, I realized that I do the same thing. And as much as I want to play with my boys, I'm also consciously doing it for the reasons you mentioned.

I also realize that my interaction with other children is tempered by the realities that I'm a guy. And those thoughts are always lurking there.

I take my boys to the playground most days when I pick them up after work: my wife works later than I do, and it gives us something entertaining to burn the time until she gets home. I usually have my DSLR out with some sort of "stalker" lens (e.g. a 70-200mm[0]). If my boys want to play with me, I play--if they don't, I wander around and keep an eye from a distance. If someone else's kid needs pushed on a swing and I'm not busy, I give pushes. If someone else's kid needs help off the monkey bars, I help them down. I've never once felt like I'm under a microscope or anyone thinks "man unaccompanied by woman, must be a predator."

1. The feeling you have could be illusory. It's very possible that moms really aren't thinking that, and you're just a little paranoid. I know the feeling you have, because I had it at first as well, but I think it's seriously overblown and largely unjustified. Until someone actually tells me to get away from their kid--I'd be happy to oblige, of course--I'm reject those feelings for lack of supporting evidence.

2. I live in California--maybe that makes a difference.

3. I consistently go to the same park at around the same time. My wife once took the boys to the park on a day I needed to stay late at work and people came up to her and said, "I recognize your boys, but I don't think I've seen you with them before, you must be their mom." I don't know a single parent there by name, but they know my face and they see me parenting my boys on a regular basis.

The point I'm making is that you should try not hate taking your boys to the playground, and the best way to become comfortable with it is to take them more often and involve yourself in the ad hoc community that forms at the playground. You have nothing to worry about, and the more you go, the more you'll see that your concerns are unwarranted.

[0] Obligatory pictures of my awesome boys: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jemfinch/sets/72157634058745609...

"Hate taking them" was the wrong phrasing. I should have better said "I hate that I have to dread running into someone new when I take them, because then I have to do the I-actually-have-a-legit-reason-to-be-here-dance". The area that I live in isn't very communal (mostly due to weather!), and I don't tend to run into the same people frequently. Seeing new faces is common.

Being recognized alleviates the concerns, absolutely. Once you're known, it's fine. My issue is that the default assumption many moms seem to have about men is that they are dangers until proven otherwise. I think if you took your kids and camera to another park where you weren't known, and were taking pictures without playing Obviously Engaged Dad, it might be quite different. Being Visibly Dad "proves otherwise". No such expectation applies to my wife.

(Your boys are adorable, btw!)

this doesn't happen in non feminist countries (ie usually 3rd world).

There are a lot of societal differences between first and third world countries and they exist for a lot of reasons. I really don't see why you would pin this particular one, if it even exists, on feminism.

i know, feminism is a sacred cow.

the truth is that men tend to be highly valued in the 3rd world. by comparison in the west they tend to kill themselves as they get older: http://www.prb.org/Articles/2006/ElderlyWhiteMenAfflictedbyH...

are you aware we've blocked right wing research out of academia, so these issues never get researched properly?


and that margaret mead was basically a fraud? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coming_of_Age_in_Samoa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Freeman

(margaret mead is an early feminist)

Yes, men do tend to be highly valued in some countries. And women in such countries tend to be treated as property. What does that have to do with suicide rates of men in the US? And what does any of it have to do with your original point about feminism somehow causing media scare stories?

It's unfortunate that politics can have such an influence on science and psychology and sociology are far from the only fields it happens in. But, again, that doesn't somehow prove feminism wrong or your original point correct.

Did you even read that link you provided about Margaret Mead? Freeman was accusing her mostly of incompetence (taking jokes/lies as fact is the main example) and Freeman's attacks on Mead's work have themselves been heavily criticised.

And even if they hadn't... so what? You're going to condemn the entirety of feminism (and the field of sociology, I suppose) because one person early in its history may have lied?

>I condemn the parts of it that are transphobic, and I wonder why nobody mentions it

Because it's BS? I know people in politically correct societies wont even consider it (if anything, to avoid being labelled), but mutilating yourself is not exactly, well, alright.

A society has to draw a line at what it considers normal/desired behaviour and what not. Regardless if said behaviour is any harm to others or not.

For example, showing you genitals in a mall doesn't harm anyone, but we still don't consider it kosher. And we wouldn't think twice to say people should not use meth (despite them being able to afford it).

In this sense, this "transphobia" thing is a little too much to take. What's next? Respect for self-amputees-for-fashion?

Slippery slope is a terrible argument.

If folks want to change their gender, then let them. Much like someone being black or gay, it's quite litetally none of my, or nyone elses, business. If people want to chop off their leg for fashion, who cares?

Anyone who says anything else is a bigot.

>Slippery slope is a terrible argument.

Fortunately it wasn't the only argument.

And I'd say, slippery slope is not a terrible argument by itself, just because there are "fallacy" list saying so. It is quite appropriate as an argument in an awful lot of situations. Matter of fact, the "broken window theory" is an example of the slippery slope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory "Overton Window" is another: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

>If folks want to change their gender, then let them.

I did not say "don't let them".

I said labelling those that are not Ok with this "phobics" is taking it too far. Are those not OK with people doing meth, meth-thobics? Are those not OK with women content to be in an abusive relationship abuse-phobics?

>Much like someone being black or gay, it's quite litetally none of my, or anyone elses, business.

Waiving our genitals in public is, by all means and with the same reasoning, none of yours or anyone else's business. And yet, we do (and perhaps you too) frown upon it.

Thing is, we don't base a society only on "whatever rock's one's boat", but also on general principles. That's why it's a society, and not a jungle.

>If people want to chop off their leg for fashion, who cares?

I care. And "who cares" is not an attitude to base a society on. An egotistical dystopia, maybe.

Margaret Mead provided the foundation for feminism to advance by "proving" that culture drove society, not genetics.

Unfortunately that isn't true. Genetics shapes culture. One of the interesting things from Mead's "research" was that Samoan women were having a lot of premarital sex in the 1920's. Yet somehow none got pregnant but that was overlooked.

When you force people too far out of their natural roles, bad things happen. There's a whole lot more to this and its fascinating to see how people don't realise it.

I respect that feminism is the moral case. Genetics is the scientific one, which currently is not respected. There's a balance between the two

And all that would mean something if (a) all of sociology was somehow based on the work of Margaret Mead, (b) Margaret Mead had been proven fraudulent, (c) proof of bad evidence on one side automatically meant the correctness of the opposite, and (d) you provided any evidence of your claims that genetics somehow drives society towards an ideal that coincidentally lines up perfectly with your preferred gender roles.

Since none of those things are true, I'm left to ask again - what the hell does any of this have to do with men getting weird looks in parks?

margaret mead effectively founded "cultural anthropology" which basically means "research which makes people feel good". many people have followed her:


this ties into funny looks for men in parks because men as a gender have been devalued into being potentially dangerous, rather than as a source of strength and value for communities.

challenging feminism is a little like investigations into wall street executives after the financial crisis, it just hasn't happened.

things are starting to turn - we have the internet now so we're much better informed...

either that or the USA economy continues its downward slide.. i really don't care either way.

the truth is that as the left becomes too strong, whether it is socialism, feminism or whatever, the economy gets destroyed. this is likely why rome collapsed, too.

the moral case is very important. so too is the economy.

I condemn the parts of it that are transphobic, and I wonder why nobody mentions it:


> Radical feminist Janice Raymond's 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire, was and still is controversial due to its unequivocal condemnation of transsexual surgeries. In the book Raymond says, "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive."


> In 1999, the book the whole woman, Germaine Greer published a sequel to The Female Eunuch. One chapter was titled "Pantomime Dames", wherein she states her opposition to accepting transsexuals who were assigned male at birth as women:[3]"Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognise as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non-sex. No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males."


> Gloria Steinem has questioned transsexualism. In 1977, she expressed disapproval that the heavily publicized sex-role change of tennis player Renée Richards had been characterized as "a frightening instance of what feminism could lead to" or as "living proof that feminism isn't necessary." Steinem wrote, "At a minimum, it was a diversion from the widespread problems of sexual inequality."

It goes on. And on. And on. And on. And now watch this issue get ignored again, as it usually is, and me be accused of 'derailing' for bringing it up in this context.

> and that margaret mead was basically a fraud? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coming_of_Age_in_Samoa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Freeman

Did you even read your own linked articles?

Generally, Freeman's critique has not been accepted in the anthropological community. Several Samoan scholars who had been discontent with Mead's depiction of them as happy and sexually liberated thought that Freeman erred in the opposite direction [1]

Much like Mead's work, Freeman's account has been challenged as being ideologically driven to support his own theoretical viewpoint [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Freeman [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coming_of_Age_in_Samoa

I don't claim that Margaret Mead was necessarily right. I'm not an anthropologist. But your own sources contradict what you're saying.

you can see my link above to the NYtimes and the lack of research for the right in academia. there will be 10,000 papers supporting the left position to every 1 paper supporting the right position. they're just forced out of academia. this is a huge blind spot for society and is a little like how wall street wasn't prosecuted after the financial crisis.

that derek freeman was successful in what he did (and he was, mead was dropped from anthropology) was a minor miracle. if you want to learn more, watch this movie:


Okay, it's pretty clear you didn't even read the articles you linked to.

of course i did. the point is that academia doesn't research the opposing viewpoint virtually at all.


"He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals."

Well, as far as anyone can tell the idea that women are naturally better parents than men was originally e feminist one, and for the most part feminists are so attached to the idea they never even seem to really question it - after all, it's about doing what's best for the child, and why would you want to get in the way of that? (That's an actual, widely used argument mainstream feminists justify their support for the status quo with.)

I've also seen, for example, feminist mums argue that their kids' stay-at-home-dad is unfairly dumping work on them because they have to organise playdates and other social events, when that's almost certainly the result of sexist bias against dads - apparently mums are uncomfortable letting dads get involved in this, it's a common complaint of single dads. They don't even think about whether there may be gender-based reasons why their partner doesn't have access to the social circles they do.

In other words, in countries where men make all the rules and run the show nobody dares look askance at a man in a public setting?

Go figure.

Where the heck did that come from? For example, China is arguably a very matriarchal society, and guys take their kids out all the time.

Are you talking about the Mosou? Because they're only about 40,000 strong in a country of 1.34 billion, and aren't even a true matriarchy, as political power tends to be in the hands of men.[0]

If you're talking about the rest of China, the absence of modern women leaders has been a concern.[1] I don't see any way you could call China "very matriarchal".

[0]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosuo

[1]: http://behindthewall.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/03/07/6206108-ch...

Leaders of the country are male. Leaders of the family are female.

Your point?

Dude, do you even hear what you are saying? Women being required/pressured to stay home and look after the family while men gather political power and control the flow of resources is one of the hallmarks of a patriarchal society.

For example, Western societies in the past, and, to a lesser extent now, were like china in this regard, and are almost universally considered more patriarchal as we go further into the past. If you consider china matriarchal, you mean it in a different sense than almost anyone talking about gender politics ever.

> Women being required/pressured to stay home and look after the family

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about! Most (95%) women work here, there are no such things as stay at home moms (maybe stay at home grandparents...). Women make up around 60% of the small business owners here, possibly more, they are highly represented in most every field with a few hold outs (e.g. security guards and taxi drivers).

Obviously it is different in politics, but I have no experience there at any rate, just in the home lives that you seem to know more about than me for some reason. The concept of feminism is foreign here not because the men are macho, but because the women hold much of the family and economic power already.

67% according to http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/labor-participation-ra.... And that's without even discussing the quality of jobs people are getting, or the gender pay gap within particular jobs (30% in china, woo, matriarchy!). I find it hard to believe your statistic that women make up the majority of small business owners when they participate in the workforce lower rates than men, but perhaps you have a citation?

I really don't know how you can defend china as an egalitarian society, much less a matriarchal one, considering their problems with sex selective abortion and infanticide among female babies, to say nothing of the labor issues I just presented. I guess you must have just chosen a position and you are going to ignore or twist whatever inconvenient facts contradict it.

Is that official or does it also include gray market numbers? Also, remember women retire at 55 in China, compared to men at 60.

I told my wife what you said, she had a good laugh about it.

Oh, I'm glad your anecdote had a good laugh at my data. We should also query your anecdote what she thinks about medicine and call her answer science. That would totally be an effective way to arrive at true results.

I'm sure you are a wonderfully published scientist then. Best to you.

In other words, men are not shamed in those countries for being men.

by your statement you'd almost think people like margaret thatcher, Dilma Rousseff and benazir bhutto never existed.

Obviously the existence of a handful of women leaders means sexism is dead, men and women are completely equal, and feminism has warped into an evil movement bent on making men social pariahs.

Does that mean women are setting the rules in America?

No, the inference from karmajunkie's post is that in America men don't make all the rules.

This doesn't happen here in Norway either. It might have something to do with the (more or less) mandatory 14 week paternity leave.

I'm not quite so sure that this is a 1st world thing necessarily. It think it's more of an American thing. During our last vacation in Europe, I was surprised by how people, even at random rest stops along the autobahn were interacting with my kids and did not feel threatened or run off with their kids b/c I was the one taking the kids to the play area. (Albeit, I wasn't the only father/male there)

All things being equal, I think it may just be our media. I noticed other parents were playing peek-a-boo with my 2 year old, whereas in the US, I face the same kind of treatment at parks as the author of the article and people in general aren't quite as friendly to kids they don't know(possibly due to similar sentiments).

It does happen in European countries. A few years ago, there was a big pedophilia case involving a male day care worker who had made over 80 victims over the year. Ever since then, male day care workers get confronted with suspicion and distrust from parents - especially homosexual male day care workers - and have major trouble getting a job. A lot quit the job. Men working with children are being increasingly distrusted every time a new case like that pops up. It's blatant sexism, but understandable to a degree.

The patriarchy affects all of us negatively. The sexism here is in favor of keeping women in the home and the men anywhere else (preferably in positions of power). Any person not falling into their respective gender role prescribed by these rules will be punished.

happens in europe, here's an example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10401416

Speaking as a dad, I hate taking my boys to the playground for the same reason.

As a single dad, I never experienced that weirdness.

It might be a type thing. Kids, dogs, and moms love me. (But not ex-wives.)

Am I the only dad out there that constantly takes my daughter to the park / science center / library alone ... and doesn't feel the least bit weird about it? In 3 years I've received nothing but smiles and conversation for doing this. Maybe it's a Canadian thing ...

I was thinking the same thing, then I realized while I may not feel the moms at the park are suspicious of me, I am more ware of my actions while there, and may even go so far as to say something out loud to make it clear I have a child present (for example, call out to my son or daughter from where I am).

The truth is, while they may not show any signs of being wary of me, I feel the need to assuage any concerns they might have, as if the fault is somehow mine, just by being male and present.

I'm not sure I've ever really examined it deeply before. it's eye-opening, to say the least.

I don't think that's strange, and I don't think it's bad: nor do I think it's something you're doing because you're a man.

Even in gathering of my closest friends, where we share implicit trust that every parent is looking out for all our children, I still take great care to be aware of where I'm placing myself relative to a parent and his or her child. If I find myself blocking some parents' view of his or her child, I move. I (obviously) don't do this because I think they'll suspect me of some malfeasance, but simply because I know they'll feel ever-so-slightly more comfortable being able to see their kid.

Playgrounds are the modern analog to a watering hole: an ad hoc "tribe" forms around them, and by making it clear that your kids are at the playground, you're saying, "I'm not an outsider, I'm a member of this tribe, you can feel comfortable with me." Women do exactly the same thing, it just manifests differently; usually in the form of smalltalk and mini-conversations with other parents.

I live in North Carolina (a well-to-do suburban city) and have had exactly the same experience as you. In fact, my experience has been that quite a percentage of the moms appreciate being able to chat with a dad for a change.

No, you're not alone. I have three boys and I don't get negative looks when I take them out. I live in the Southeastern US.

I live in a medium sized city in Texas (~200k metro area), and I've never experienced this either.

Same in the London (UK), never had a problem. Or perhaps I'm just oblivious.

In San Francisco, the most prominent sign at playgrounds is "Adults must be accompanied by children".

Why is it that we as a society are so fucking fearful?

If you ask me? Because we are hard-wired for fear. Ten thousand years ago, it kept you alive. Today, there is not much left to fear- but we are built to fear, so we find something to fear.

the fear of a pedophile going to kidnap/abduct/molest your kids doesn't happen in other societies today though, so there must be some influence from the differing media, I'm sure.

It doesn't make much sense in the world I live in (Asian country).

Right, but I'd bet other societies have their own crazy fears.

>Why is it that we as a society are so fucking fearful? We have an irrational fear of communists, socialists, terrorists, serial killers, sex offenders, and of course, child molesters and abductors.

1) Because due to egotism, greed and lack of communal values, we have fucked up normal operation of society, and they are indeed are more prevalent than they were.

2) Because of watching them all the time in "entertainment", thus creating the impression that they are even more than the already too many that they are.

3) Because it's a good racket in order to sell "protection", a trillion dollar business, from politicians passing all the more extreme laws, to surveillance, to arms business, etc.

4) Because people themselves have stiffened up and treat other people like enemies even in casual urban situations, and treat their kids like they're prisoners for their own "safety".

Do yourself a favour and take a cold shower or perhaps seek help.

Because the sheer volume of crazy, conspiracy theories in your post is not normal.

>Do yourself a favour and take a cold shower or perhaps seek help.

Do yourself (and everybody else) a favour and learn manners.

After that, you could try improving your reading comprehension skills. There was not even one "conspiracy theory" in my post, let alone an "above normal" volume of them.

Here's a breakdown for you:

>1) Because due to egotism, greed and lack of communal values, we have fucked up normal operation of society, and they are indeed are more prevalent than they were.

The first part of this is what is called social critique. You may agree or disagree with it, but it's not a "conspiracy theory" (except if you don't know what the latter means and use it willy nilly).

The second part is quantifiable and confirmed beyond doubt. In the US there are more homicides, mass shootings, serial killers etc, not to mention incarcerations, than anywhere in the so called Western world. You can look that up. There are also more than they used to be in the decades before the 80's.

>2) Because of watching them all the time in "entertainment", thus creating the impression that they are even more than the already too many that they are.

Another example of so called "social critique". Watching too much news and TV series, can make people believe serial killers, pedophiles, murders etc are more common than they already are.

This sounds like a ...conspiracy theory to you? Seriously?

>3) Because it's a good racket in order to sell "protection", a trillion dollar business, from politicians passing all the more extreme laws, to surveillance, to arms business, etc.

That would be a "conspiracy theory" if it wasn't common and acceptable knowledge.

You've never heard of the government, law officials, party media etc, play the "security card" or overstate some cases (like the importance of "hacking" or "piracy") to pass more laws, favour businesses etc?

Or even start whole (profitable for some) wars, in order to save people from (non existent) WMDs?

Have you even been paying attention to the whole security hoopla this past month, with the agencies using the safety excuse to tap into everyone's data?

>4) Because people themselves have stiffened up and treat other people like enemies even in casual urban situations, and treat their kids like they're prisoners for their own "safety".

Another case of "social critique". You might agree or disagree, but you'll find volumes of research on the issue. And not in the "conspiracy theory" section of the bookstore. Try "Sociology".

It's very sad that the level of discourse in HN has come (for some) to "take a cold shower" and "get help".

If I'm allowed a little snark, may I interest you to this Reddit site?

Our society is built to promote fear. We're heavily, heavily individualistic and isolationist. Our cultural prime directive is, "Never again!"

I don't think it's society, especially when it's a society in a country that traditionally values freedom and individuals' rights. What is behind this new culture of fear is politics: fear is great for manipulating the masses, most effective when those who promote it can present themselves as a solution.

>What is behind this new culture of fear is politics: fear is great for manipulating the masses, most effective when those who promote it can present themselves as a solution.

I hear people from all walks of life make claims like this constantly. While I don't doubt that some use fear to purposefully manipulate us, I do not see it as the norm. The media doesn't care about controlling us. It cares about it's viewership. If fears sells, you can bet your ass they're going to scare the hell out of us. They don't care about dumbing us down, but if all we want to see is celebrity gossip, they're going to oblige.

I was far from a fan of Steve Jobs, but that's one thing where I really agree with him:

  When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a
  conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when
  you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks
  are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a
  far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can
  shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks
  are really in business to give people what they want.
Which doesn't necessarily make his suggestion a bad idea, though. That broadcasting FUD is a profitable business model doesn't make it an ethical one.

>The media doesn't care about controlling us. It cares about it's viewership.

Not really. The Media are tied knee-deep with other interests -- from the political interests (of most op-eds) to the financial interest of huge media conglomerates and empires.

Of course they are interest to control you.

In the very least they want to control: your viewing habits (duh!), your purchasing habits (ads), your voting habits (op-eds, news), etc etc.

> especially when it's a society in a country that traditionally values freedom and individuals' rights

You're not hearing what I said. It's exactly that tradition that causes the culture of fear. Our society is designed to minimize the influence one random person has over another. One of the things that falls out from that design is a hue and cry any time the suggestion of a bad influence of one person over another is possible.

> One of the things that falls out from that design is a hue and cry any time the suggestion of a bad influence of one person over another is possible.

Fear isn't the wish to be left alone by other people and it certainly isn't more prevalent in societies where what you describe as its cause (bad influence of one person over another) occurs less often (as you wrote).

Fear is caused by what we perceive as real and imminent threats. If we are told convincingly that certain threats are more "real" than they actually are (as with terrorism, which apparently justifies a trillion-dollar security theater), we will have this emotion more often, whether we are free or not.

Think that's bad in a Western country? Try being a white guy taking your Filipina girlfriend's daughter to school or anywhere else. You're a white guy with a little girl in the country which is supposedly a destination for pedophiles.

I think it's all in his head though. He is probably projecting his fears of what people think about him. And why would you care what parents at a playground think of you anyways?

>You're a white guy with a little girl in the country which is supposedly a destination for pedophiles.

Well, not exactly "supposedly". Sick bastards from Europe and other western places come to such countries in droves.

At least those Philippines are suspicious based on actual experience.

"News" media.

I identify very strongly with this.

I became a stay-at-home dad when my son was born 3.5 years ago, by choice, because parenting is what I want to do with my life. My wife wanted a technical career, and went back to work as soon as she was able. More recently, my sister (a single mom) and her little boy moved in with us. My sister works at the school down the street, and has a lot of other out-of-the-home commitments. Both my son and my nephew were in school for half of the day this last year, which meant I watched both of them every afternoon and many evenings, and was on call whenever there was a problem at school (both are special needs kids.)

Some of the challenges I've seen:

- I dress like a stay-at-home dad, complete with scraggly beard and sweatpants (no sense in getting peanut butter, pee, and play-doh on nice clothes!) When I'm out at the store without the kids, people look at me like I'm a predator. When I take a kid or two with me, they look at me like I'm a saint, much moreso than the moms who have kids with them. [EDIT: when I lived in small-town Utah for a while, taking a kid to the store got mixed reactions, with some thinking I was a saint and others thinking there was something wrong with me. In other areas, the reaction was almost uniformly "saint".]

- My grandfather grew up in an era of man works - woman does childcare. He's constantly asking me when I'm getting a job, and doesn't understand when I say "this is my job".

- I actually will be working outside the home, in a school, during the coming school year. A number of people have expressed sentiments along the lines of "good for you, glad you're finally doing something with your life", as if my son raised himself and I had nothing to do with it.

- I'm constantly hearing about support groups for parents, and they almost always have "mom" somewhere in the name. Some of them will say that dads are welcome too, but it's still awkward. The only real support group I have was accidental - a bunch of people from church were all getting together, and then everyone quit except for me and a few moms and our preschoolers.

I sympathize, brother.

My most irksome comments were "So... Giving mom the day off?" whenever someone would see me with my kids.

The most egregious thing to happen, was being kicked off of the local meetup for playdates... I assume I was approved to join the group because my first name is gender neutral.

Sometime between posting my profile pic (which included my kids) and attending my first meetup, I was removed from the group.

I should amend my previous post to note that Hacker News has provided a bit of support. There are a surprising number of stay-at-home dads here, and being able to converse with people who both understand my situation and have some technical chops is really refreshing.

It was way back in 1992 that I radically reshaped my career plans, coincident with the birth of my first son (who, gratifyingly, is now grown up and supporting himself as a hacker for a startup). I read the comments here, read the fine article, and still don't completely grok that I have had much the same experience without as much surrounding cultural baggage. Predominantly "stay-at-home" (a better term might be "near young children") fathers have always been rare, yes, but they have been around for a long time. I have certainly always been able to go to public parks with my children (the first three of whom were boys) or to the library or other places with them.

I haven't heard a lot of the kinds of nasty comments that the author of this interesting submitted article appears to have heard all too often. For me, since we had children, it has been important to spend a lot of time with my children while they grow up. They are only young once each. Way back in the early 1970s, I thought, evidently overoptimistically, that women's liberation would be a force to make it possible for dads to spend more time with their children if the dads so chose. Maybe that doesn't happen as a matter of social reality everywhere, but that is the choice I made, and I'm not looking back. All of my children, the three boys and the one girl, are already thinking ahead about what kind of lifestyle trade-offs they will work out with their spouses when, as they hope, they have children of their own.

One cannot emphasize the author's point too much that taking care of young children is a lot of work that demands constant vigilance. Authors from the women's liberation perspective used to argue that that is one of the best reasons to hire former homemakers as they return to the outside-the-home paid labor force--it takes strong personal organization skills to take care of young children. I don't know if that's what big company employers really think, but it sure makes sense to me.

To be clear for onlookers new to my posts here, we are a homeschooling family, so the high parental involvement with children (again, not "stay at home" but "out and about with the children") has continued in our family even though our youngest child is above typical school-going age. We like this lifestyle, because we like what it appears to be doing for our children. There are trade-offs involved in any lifestyle choice that relates both to family and to work responsibilities, but there is plenty of time for working in anyone's day, and a lot of good memories that can be built up from quality family time.

Thanks for this. My wife stays home to take care of our newborn, we're strongly considering homeschooling, and it sometimes feels like a very lonely place out here in mega-career-driven SV.

Whilst I appreciate the discussion points around gender/sexism, I personally have felt more discrimination from the kids / no kids situation, on more than one occasion.

I recently interviewed at a large company and did very well on all the questions, connected with the interviewers, had long chats with the recruiter, etc - but didn't get the job. I suspect one of the reasons I didn't get the job was the fact that I mentioned my wife/kid. The team that I interviewed for were all fairly young (so am I) but I think the kid thing could've thrown them off.

This may just be an issue at and job level that I am applying at and I'm very prepared for the fact that it may have been because I didn't do as well as I thought, but I have no idea what else it could've been. Would be great to know if anyone else has ever felt this.

Ripped directly from a rejection letter I received:

"I think instead of making a more detailed offer, I should consider certain facts.

For starters, you have a family and that'll be the driving force behind all your decisions. Secondly, you will not be able to be here in the program with me. Ideally, I want someone who could be here though not necessary. More importantly, it's the family situation I consider. I've worked developers before with family and the company died largely because of that. I don't want to say that'll happen but I worry.

This other candidate is like me. No responsibilities except {COMPANY NAME}. That makes life less complicated. Based on this - nothing to do with skills - it's best that him and I work together. "

The program was one of the startup accelerators (not YC). He was right that my family would have been the driving force behind all my decisions. He was wrong in thinking that's a bad thing. I can't imagine a bigger motivator than my family. When you have kids, failure just isn't an option.

You received a rejection letter that basically lists illegal reasons (in most states I'm aware of) for rejecting you. You were lucky not to get that job, as the boss is clueless about the legal responsibilities of hiring supervisors. You have a basis for a lawsuit there, if you need the money or want to make a point. If you are not litigious (I am not litigious either, so I respect anyone's decision to decline to exercise legal rights), you at least there have tangible evidence that there is some better employer in the world whom you would be better off working for. Good luck in your career. Good on you to think about your family responsibilities while participating in the competitive world of work.

Well, at least the supervisor was honest. If they were legal savvy, they still would have rejected him, but would have used something more vague and icky. The fact is that age/status discrimination is still a thing in the United States, and why many of us most go work for BigCorps (who are savvy also, but less so) rather than startups or small companies.

I thought about legal recourse but ultimately rejected the idea. I liked the founder, the company, and the accelerator. I didn't want to potentially ruin his dream and muddle his business with a lawsuit. After all, what investor would want to invest in a company that was being sued for discriminatory practices? In any case, he wasn't malicious - just ignorant. I suppose I should have done one better and helped to educate him to what he had done wrong. Instead I just wished him and his company the best of luck.

Assuming that having a clue about legal responsibilities of hiring supervisors is the most important skill of a boss :-)

I think it is good if somebody is honest. And his reasoning actually seems sound.

What exactly about it seems reasonable? He's making assumptions about my dedication based on the fact that I have a family. From that alone he really has no idea how many hours I would be willing to put in, how dedicated I'd be to the business, or how hard I'd hustle for him.

The only thing that seemed reasonable to me was wanting to work with someone that could physically be there with him at the program. If that were the sole reason for going with someone else over me I'd have understood perfectly. Instead he's basing his decision on weak anecdotal evidence. He worked with one other family guy that wasn't as dedicated to the business as he himself was and he came to the conclusion that the family part was what was holding him back from being a better partner. That doesn't strike me as sound reasoning at all.

I was thinking mostly about the remote vs local aspect. You are right that speculating on your motivation seems misguided. Although perhaps it's also not totally far fetched to assume that somebody with a family would want to spend some time with said family.

Oh yeah, definitely. I went deep into interviews with a big oil company, and when it came time to sit down with the Sr. managers, they did not like my philosophy on overtime at all (I have a family I like to see on the weekdays... Overtime is sometimes necessary, but if it's SOP then there's a problem).

I agree with his experiences, and there would be more to add. For example our baby-friend families usually were connected via my wife (from birth preparation classes for example), so it was a bit harder/more awkward for me to call them up to hang out so that our kids could play together. That's not active discrimination, just stuff that happens.

I wanted to throw some other thought to HN: I've come to the conclusion that we won't see a big surge in "stay-at-home-daddying". I have nothing against it, but ultimately I think the rationale would be "why would I pay my babysitter half of my salary" (which is what a stay at home dad is getting)? It seems to me a mother still has a bigger claim to her children because she invested much more physically, so society will deem it more acceptable if she does the stay-at-home thing, getting paid more than a mere babysitter.

Or will it become feasible in the future to speculate on becoming a stay-at-home dad? For example (extreme to make a point) instead of taking on another career, take classes in cooking and home decoration in the expectation to one day take care of a home? It seems very unlikely to me, although of course there will be (and already are) lots of women who have and want interesting careers. But would they go forth and marry a guy with no skills but home honing? Please spare me the sexism comments, I want to think rationally about this. (I personally don't care who stays at home). The point is that it is very viable to speculate on becoming a stay at home mother imo.

I forgot which country it was but one of the Nordic countries tried hard to get parental leave taken and in the end they had to make 2 of 6 months of (fully paid) leave exclusively for the father.

Once they did that and the family was actually leaving paid leave on the table otherwise, fathers are now nearing 40% of birth leave.

Granted, I wasn't even thinking about the paid paternity leave. Obviously if the state pays for it, the thought "how much am I willing to pay my babysitter" is not a factor. It's actually fascinating that despite full pay a lot of dads apparently prefer to stay at work? I can only assume that they worry about a negative impact to their career in the long run (ie employer doesn't think they are loyal enough to promote them)?

Assuming: 150k/yr salary * 0.5 (paid leave) * .33 (4 months) =$24750 for just raising a kid, damn.

To be the devil's advocate, why not let people who do not have children take a 4 month paid ($24750) vacation every 5 years? I would like to take a round-the-world vacation for 4 months...

Because promoting round-the-world vacations isn't the business the government is in, but promoting good families is.

TFA said that Facebook paid it his parental leave. If FB thinks it is worth it to retain him as an employee, it's their money.

The US government on the other hand seriously doesn't give a fuck about families since most of their programs are oriented to single mothers. Also there is no federally mandated parental leave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave

Why not, though? Assuming a democratic government represents the interests of it's voters, apparently a significant fraction (ok, at least one) of the population would be interested in paid 4 month vacations.

This illustrates very well why you shouldn't become a slave to the money. Earning more money won't make you happier. Spending more time with your kid might.

> Assuming: 150k/yr salary * 0.5 (paid leave) * .33 (4 months) =$24750 for just raising a kid, damn.

Chances are if you are making 150k/yr, you're comfortably set in the upper middle class (cost of living complaining notwithstanding). At that point you probably don't have to worry about money, assuming you don't have any expensive hobbies. Taking time out to spend time with your children could be well worth it for a lot of people, since they don't feel they actually need those extra $24750 for anything.

> To be the devil's advocate, why not let people who do not have children take a 4 month paid ($24750) vacation every 5 years? I would like to take a round-the-world vacation for 4 months...

Because society wants to facilitate people having children (and a company might facilitate that if they are forced to by the government, or all of their competitors give the same benefits)? People can complain all day about overpopulation, but fertility rates in western countries are low, many places below 2.1 child per woman. Bringing in people from other countries brings with itself assimilation problems, and simply letting the population decline without interfering can lead to lopsided distribution of age brackets, for example to a disproportionate amount of pensioners that have to be supported by a shrinking workforce.

My 3 youngest were born within the span of 4 years. Any time I'm out with all 3, someone usually says "boy, you've got your hands full!" ... it's odd because (a) I find it quite easy to manage them and (b) no one has ever said that to my wife even though she gets "frazzled" (for lack of a better term) by them easier than I do.

Ditto. Doubly ironic since my use of a ring sling means my hands are, in fact, free.

There is so much food for thought in this article. Particularly liked his line "Don't worry, I'm not going to nab your kid, I already got this one."

Interesting how the author felt that people could say things to him that they wouldn't say to women in a similar situation.

If he actually said those words, I think I'd be even more creaped out. Who jokes about kidnapping?

Anyone but a kidnapper, I'd say.

Isn't it almost cliche to joke about your true self. Regardless, still a creapy thing to say to the parent of a toddler.

One thing we as a society owe to a stay-at-home dad is, out of all things, cyberpunk. William Gibson famously found his interest in science fiction renewed and began to write while staying at home with his first child.

Yeah, Wikipedia quotes:

''In 1977, facing first-time parenthood and an absolute lack of enthusiasm for anything like "career," I found myself dusting off my twelve-year-old's interest in science fiction.'' —William Gibson, "Since 1948"


"Don't worry, I'm not going to nab your kid, I already got this one."

Is this common place? As of a father of twins; I regularly take my kids to the park and either I'm oblivious to these looks or I am too busy playing zone defense on two almost 3 year olds that I don't even notice.

As a work-from-home dad with a very flexible schedule, I spend quite a bit of time at the park during work hours. My experience is closer to yours than most others in this thread. I find the moms/nannies/grandparents quite welcoming and friendly. Occasionally a topic of conversation will come up that may be a bit awkward, but otherwise I don't feel that I'm treated much differently. I certainly have never perceived that anyone felt threatened by my presence.

I'm not sure what would account for the difference. I live just a few miles from FB headquarters and am in the same demographic as OP.

I'm in the same situation... gotta love doing the bulk of your work before 8am or after 8pm (sometimes both in the same day) ;)

may be a bit awkward

Usually more than a bit awkward as they talk about trying to have more kids or women hygiene... that is when I just pretend my daughter needs some assistance and I walk off to "help" her.

Stay-at-home dad fist-bump. Here in Ontario, parents have the right to split their parental leave. We did it the traditional way for the first two... for round three, we split it 60/40, and I got the big side.

I wouldn't trade this for the world. My kids are juggernauts of exhausting destruction, but I knew this was my only chance to get this kind of extended time with them and I wanted it.

One thing is that the only sentiment I agree with is the frustrating low expectations. I'm not superdad, I'm regularparent. The patronizing "you're such a great husband" thing constantly makes me cringe. I'm not even good at this - I shout at the kids more than I should, and when I get overwhelmed I just bury my head in my phone and read Facebook and HN and ignore whatever they're destroying.

But otherwise? Maybe it's Canada, maybe it's that I live in a university neighborhood, maybe I'm just that awesome, Idunno... The local moms have accepted me as one of their own while we bitch about homework. I don't get suspicious looks at the playground, and I'm as scruffy as the next geek (sweat pants are unacceptable though, have some pride, man).

But then again, maybe I'm just oblivious. I know my wife has gotten some... unfortunate questions and comments about going back to work with a 5-month-old baby, and that's not cool.

edit: I think I may have my wires crossed between whether I'm replying to the FB post or to one of the other commenters. Sweat pants was not in TFA.

Sweat pants was me. I'm also scruffier than most geeks. And on the autism spectrum, and therefore have more awkward mannerisms and social habits than most geeks. None of which are really exactly the point.

I've seen other dads who are considerably less awkward in the same situation in the grocery store or at the park. Maybe it's different where you live, but here there's an expectation that men who aren't at work during the day are highly likely to be predators, or druggies, or something else unsavory. It doesn't seem to cross peoples' minds that a guy my age at the store at 11 am on a Tuesday could be just a normal dude who takes care of his own kids most of the time. Unless we have a kid with us, in which case we're clearly super-dad.

I remember when I was a very young dad, and 15 minutes with my very young son was torture. I see myself in much of what he tells. Much of it by imagining the now dad of a 10yo as a dad of 4 months old son.

But there's one thing I can tell for sure. A father can not replace a mother. I wouldn't take offense if a woman asked me why isn't my wife taking care of the child. In the past 10 years there were countless cases where my wife handled things entirely differently then myself. Specially the emotionally relevant things, which are extremely important at early stages of child development.

There is no gender equality when it comes to what a child needs. A child needs the smile of a mother as much as they need the smile of a father. And one can not replace the other.

>There is no gender equality when it comes to what a child needs. A child needs the smile of a mother as much as they need the smile of a father. And one can not replace the other.

There is such a heavy statement that I cannot begin to explain how wrong it is. Are you saying that a single parent cannot raise a child on her (or his) own? In the absence of any scientific evidence in your support, I'd say you are absolutely and terribly wrong. How can you say "a father cannot replace a mother"? I don't mind you not taking offense. I don't mind your assertion that your wife is a better parent than you are. However, it remains at best anecdotal. Your leap of faith from one example to a broad generalization that irreparably harms not only women but single fathers and same-sex couples in one broad swath is very disturbing. I hope you realize that.

To the degree that breastfeeding might be non-negligbly beneficial[1], sex-inequality with respect to child rearing is manifest.

[1] http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2013/06/breastfeeding

You can bottle breastmilk for the father to feed his child. Some women even pump exclusively (e.g., because the child has trouble latching).

There are also breastmilk banks, for parents who can't produce their own (partially or at all).

If you think a single mother raising children is happy, than we don't share the same definition of happiness.

I was raised by a responsible woman married with a very irresponsible man.

I respect your personal experience but we cannot draw conclusions that can hurt a lot of people without backing evidence. I hear stories about how alcoholic mothers get custody of children over responsible dads. We do not have full support from the people in terms of same-sex marriage. In a situation like this, generalization like this probably does more damage than it is worth.

I wouldn't say the mother is happy. I'd imagine she'd be overworked unless she had some help (grandparents perhaps?). However, I'd not make any statement that might be seen as her not being capable of doing as good a job.

I believe it's fair to say the woman do a greater job than they would normally do. There're heros.

But doesn't mean that it's just as good. Given the circumstances, they do their best. The best of all being that they make it possible to their children to grow, at least, healthy enough to be aware and overcome the missing parts of their families.

Needless to say, there are many man+woman families that fuck up their kids. Needless to say.

Here is my take on what he was saying. If a child has a mother and father(or mom&mom/dad&dad, there are always going to be things that one parent is better capable of handling than the other. I saw his view to align with the phrase "it take a village to raise a child", meaning that kids have many and varying needs that are best fulfilled by a group of people that love them.

I think it's certainty true that a single parent can raise a child just as well as a multi parent household, but that doesn't mean that a child doesn't also benefit from love and care from others. I think the point is that whoever are the important adults in a child's life, each of them provide benefits that others aren't as well suited for. A mom isn't a drop in replacement for a dad, a grandmother isn't a replacement for an aunt, and the next door neighbor that might as well be a child's second mom isn't a replacement for the child's biological mother.

I think the point was that gender equality isn't at all important to a child or it's needs, so we should quit making it one at all.

> I think the point was that gender equality isn't at all important to a child or it's needs, so we should quit making it one at all.

It should definitely be a gender equality issue, too. Women are by many, or even most, viewed as an essential parent, while a father is a nice-to-have parent. This doesn't help in divorce proceedings, where at the worst a crack addicted mother might be more likely to get full custody then a responsible father. Needless to say, this ultimately harms children as well.

At its heart this isn't some luxury concern in the vain of dads should get paternity leave from their jobs (although that does sound like a worthy end-goal) - the main point is to combat gender stereotypes that keeps us from seeing the individual people and their personalities, which harms everybody involved.

> There is no gender equality when it comes to what a child needs. A child needs the smile of a mother as much as they need the smile of a father. And one can not replace the other.

Isn't this essentially the argument against gay adoption and gay parenting in general? Because studies show their kids aren't adversely affected by this.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/tick-for-samesex-families-...

Maybe, but that was not my intention.

I am aware of the controversy and of the studies on the matter. Pro or contra.

You weren't talking about gay adoption, but your argument was against gay adoption, intended or not.

It's sad that the top HN comment on this story is sexist bullshit. But I guess not unexpected. But sad.

Sexist and implicitly homophobic. This community really depresses me sometimes.

Basically the whole conversation turned into a men's rights/anti-feminist/heterosexist maelstrom. Somewhere in here some guy defended the claim that china was a matriarchal society (in the sense of having few problems with sexism) and then turned around and complained that stay at home dads are discriminated against.

I guess it shouldn't be terribly surprising because our industry is uniquely filled with people that are both highly privileged and more . . . limited on the empathy front. But it is sad. Hopefully, fifty years from now this conversation will be an outlier rather than the standard occurrence.

I suppose you are referring to the parent comment to your comment (but maybe not). As always, the solution to such a problem is to upvote a better comment, or perhaps writing the better commment for the same comment level yourself.

You could reply to it, countering anything that you believe to be false.

>>In the past 10 years there were countless cases where my wife handled things entirely differently then myself. Specially the emotionally relevant things, which are extremely important at early stages of child development.

This is more about your own inability to properly handle those situations requiring emotional involvement than a commentary on what fathers in general can or cannot provide. You are, after all, only one person.

I respect your experiences and commend you for sharing them, but at the end of the day you are basing your opinions on (your own) anecdote and passing judgment on all the other fathers out there. This is unfair and sexist and you should not do it.

Some opinions have fancy [numbers] after, other don't. They should be taken as such. Call me sexist if you will.

You said the following:

>>There is no gender equality when it comes to what a child needs. A child needs the smile of a mother as much as they need the smile of a father. And one can not replace the other.

This is stated as an absolute fact, not an opinion.

It sounds to be like you are confusing your personal failings with the traits of all men. Considering your history, it's not a real surprise. But do not continue to make the mistake that just because it's true for you, it's must be true for everyone.

That's a fairly ignorant mistake to make.

So far, I have to disagree. While my wife handles some situations better than me, there are also scenarios, where I can shine. My son is 1.5 years, maybe it will change in the coming years.

I believe, mothers usually get a bonding advantage through breast-feeding. That did not work out in our case, so bottle-feeding it was and that can be done by men as well.

There are most certainly cases where I do better. But that only happened as our son grew older.

>> "There is no gender equality when it comes to what a child needs. A child needs the smile of a mother as much as they need the smile of a father. And one can not replace the other."

I kind of get what you mean but I don't think you've expressed it properly. I think the real important thing is that having multiple parental figures is a good thing. In some families the mother can provide better emotional support and the father brings things to the relationship the mother doesn't. If the parents are homosexual they can still both bring different things to the parent/child relationship which complement each other. Children of single parents often have Aunts/Uncles that care for them and are as much a part of their life as a parent.

Basically having multiple parental figures who's natural roles complement each other is best.

NB: I'm not a parent so I could be completely wrong.

I grew up with an absent father. I don't think a second mother would have replaced him. That's why I am skeptic about homosexual parents. At the price of my few karma points. :)

Do you have a good list of what harm LGBT parents are causing children, preferably with references?

I don't think there's clear definition of what "harm" means, and for sure studies themselves can are are and will be hotly debated.

"No, I'm just talking out of my ass" would have been a sufficient answer, instead of your evasive wordplay.

You explicitly said that a father could not replace a mother for sure, and now you are simply saying that the whole subject is "hotly debated"? If a child is worse off without having a mother or a father and does not get one of them, then such a suboptimal childhood (by your words) is definitely harmful, without having to resort to exotic interpretations of the word "harm".

You had no problem denouncing that this should have anything to with (gender) equality, but as soon as the focus naturally shifts to a more touchy subject (gay peoples right to raise children at all) you chicken out and resort to platitudes.

For sure means I am certain. May I? Is there anything social that is not debated?

I just learned today about a gay couple that adopted a child and used him for child-porn and pedophile sex. Would I bring that up as an argument? No. Have I? No. It's not.

People DO have different views on what harming a child means. It's not a platitude at all.

> May I? Is there anything social that is not debated?

What does this even mean? Gender equality and LGBT rights are debated, you chose to comment on the former and not on the latter.

> I just learned today about a gay couple that adopted a child and used him for child-porn and pedophile sex. Would I bring that up as an argument? No. Have I? No. It's not.

And so what? You've shown yourself to be above using specific incidents to condemn a whole group of people? If you have information that pertains to the claim that a child needs both a mother and a father, you can use that even if it does not include homosexual parents, since you can extrapolate from that information. After all, you said yourself that "I am certain", so this rock-hard belief is most likely backed by something other than your own experiences.

And if you don't have anything to back it up, just say so instead of just saying that "they exist, and are kind of hotly debated". I mean, what kind of answer or insight is that? It's just a platitude.

> People DO have different views on what harming a child means. It's not a platitude at all.

Oh come on, having a substandard childhood is definitely harmful compared to having a normal one. There's no need to conjure up images of violence or something traumatic when it comes to the word "harm". You were simply dodging the question.

Do you have an example of how she handled it differently? (Other than the emotional sitations.) I'm always curious of how others solve situations in a different (ie better) way than I could.

She was more empathic with our son. When he'd say he doesn't want to walk up the stairs be himself cause his feet hurt him, for instance. I'd tend to rationalize, and think that he's just pretending to be carried by one of us.

But really, the non-emotional situations don't matter that much. They are essential for the parent-child bound and their emotional development. Self-confidence and ability the empathize later in life will crucially depend on how these cases are handled.

Aren't you making a pretty big assumption that all fathers share your lack of empathy?

That says nothing about fathers and everything about you. I'm empathetic to a fault and I wouldn't be at all surprised if I were the parent that did better in these emotional situations.

edit: I forgot to explicitly state that I am a male, just in case that wasn't obvious.

I'm always surprised at how much more patient my wife is with our son than I am. She will constantly engage with him and play with him for much longer than I am able to.

Different here. I am usually more patient. My guess is, because I am working and not around the kid all day.

An interesting but not informative tale.

This is so narrow minded, sexist and untrue, it burns.

Shouldn't gay couples raise children?

His experience mirrors closely with my friend, who is a stay-at-home dad. All the crap this guy puts up with strangers is pretty prevalent - my friend's experienced the same, and worse, as he's been doing it longer.

Women are graduating in higher numbers and getting better positions. My wife has a permanent secure job so I made the practical decision to be home dad 5 years ago. It is a huge readjustment for anyone not used to looking after kids regardless of their chromosomes. Junior primary and preschool teachers (universally women) and women at playgroup are very accepting. My kids probably miss out a bit on the social activities mums seem to plan with each other but they get to kick a football with dad and dig holes in the back yard. I take my youngest to the park to play in the playground nearly every day. Perhaps I am just thick-skinned but I don't notice being treated any differently and I see plenty of other dad spending time with their kids.

The only time I felt I got the predator treatment was when we lost our escape artist kid in a big store and I found him at about the same time as one of the staff members and she snatched him from me and handed him over to his mum. I think that was just good training rather than a reaction to my beardiness. His mum had reported him missing while I went and found him so the staff member had no idea who I was.

My twin boys are now 10 month and me and my wife decided that staying home both of us for a year to give them a good start was a good idea. It was, and i can really recommend people doing the same even if it means having to make tough decisions like changing jobs and not buying that new car

Have a great day

Best Fredrik

I've been doing the primary parent thing for about 16 months now. My story is probably a bit different in that I've started it much later in my children's lives than all the any other articles I read.

Basically I worked full time and my wife worked part time for the first 12 years. She had been wanting to go back to work full time, and we had done a test run when she covered someone on maternity leave for six months, but both of us full time just wasn't working and everyone was miserable by the end of it.

Then in 2011 an opportunity came up for me to work part time, mostly from home, and we decided to swap and give things a go. So I didn't start with infants, but with a 12 and 10 year old. It's been interesting so far.

Odd that stay-at-home women label themselves as "not working". I often try to convince my wife and others to proudly answer "mother" when asked for their work. It might not get payed, but it surely is a lot of work.

I think "homemaker" is a dignified, gender neutral term. But for subversive fun, I like the title "househusband".

I like to riff on the old Bella Abzug quote and say I prefer the word homemaker because househusband implies that there may be a husband someplace else.

I usually go with "primary parent." Speaking of which, it has been surprisingly hard to get the school to list me as the first person to contact instead of my wife since I became the primary.

My wife struggles with feeling like she's "not working" because she's a homemaker. I point out that if she was working at a job outside of the home, we'd have to pay someone else to do what she does, and we'd pay awfully handsomely for it. That seems to help her put it in perspective.

Well, that label is using the word working to mean employed. Same when people say they are "out of work." That doesn't mean they aren't doing work. I don't find it derogatory nor incorrect.

My first day of school (early 70's) the teacher asked something along the lines of "What do your parents do?". When I got home that afternoon my mom (a stay-at-home mom) asked about my first day of school, and I told her about that question. Of course she wanted to know what my answer was. For the 40 years since, I've suffered frequently for saying that she didn't work. ;)

My mum always told me to tell people she was a 'domestic engineer' lol

I envy you Tom. As a working-(too-much)-father, I work more than I see my kids and I feel like I'm losing something big.

As others I radically reshapes my carrer when my first daughter was born leaving unsafe research field for the safer and higher paid industry. While I'm pretty OK where I work now, I miss so much the freedom in terms of working hours and time tables. I'd like to find a job where I could spend more time with my kids, even at the price of a lower wage.

Best and good luck for you coming back to work (BTW, the next months will be WAY more physically exhausting).

Honestly, I got no clue what you all are talking about. Never had problems or felt weird looks in the play ground, never got compliments for changing nappies or anything like that. I think most people are used to dads taking care of kids these days, and I am not even living in some inner city sophisticated place.

The author was astute enough to see his difficulties as a microcosm of what minorities regularly experience. That seems to have been lost in the HN commentary.

I'm amazed that this comes from a such a short absence. I kept having to double check that I hadn't misread it.

> being constantly alert

A good or a retarded dad? I am not sure. What trouble a 0-4 month old baby could get into if you put him in a place where he could not fall?

to run toward me screaming with excitement after I'd been away for awhile

Hint: That's not a 0-4 month-old child... and that's because dad took his four months off after mom had returned to work.

I was confused myself, to be honest. Eventually worked it out that this was later in the kid's life (who goes to a playground with a 0-4 mo old?), but it was a little confusing.

> It also still gets under my skin when people call it "babysitting" or "daddy daycare."

It seems like a lot of people feel that dads can only be second-rate caregivers compared to moms, as if they were to take care of a toddler it would only be as an assistant or subordinate to the mother.

My own mum pulled this one on me. We were talking on the phone and she could hear my daughter playing in the background. As one point it dawned on her that she could not hear my wife.

  "Is Susan out?"
  "Yeah she's gone out to [I forget what]."
  "So you're home babysitting?"
  "No, it's just Alice here, no one else."
In an extremely polite but pointed way, I informed her that I was her father, not her babysitter. She never made that mistake again.

a lot of people? quite often it feels like everyone.

it's a stereotype reinforced by television shows, movies, commercials, etc. and it seems to sell (i'm assuming so, i figure approval boards to get these things made and shown wouldn't approve them unless it made them money).

it's a very sad statement about our society.

my father always says "if they're your kids, it isn't babysitting"

Saying to a dad that he is babysitting is so demeaning. It's like saying that his investment in his own child is on the level of that teenage girl next door that babysits his child every other week because she needs the 10 bucks to buy gas.

Looks like FB jumped the shark if they're employing guys who leave for 4 months, or gals like Sheryl Sandberg who leaves work 5pm every day.

I get it - yes, it's nice and wonderful. But... Frankly, I wouldn't want to work with coworkers like this. Entrepreneurs don't make silly justifications like this -- only employees play this political game. And quite frankly, I wouldn't put up with actions like this - I'd quit in a heartbeat, or tone down my work time as well to match. Hey, just because I don't have a kid, doesn't mean I shouldn't get time off - why punish me for that. Not fair. I'll take my time off to work on my own projects.

If you have a family, it may just be better to sit out of the game for a while rather than dragging the work quality of everyone else around you down.

You think your coworkers drag you down? You think you're punished for not having kids? You're comparing having children to entrepreneurship? If you really want to know what's wrong in the work place, you need to take a good long look in the mirror.

Yes. Coworkers definitely drag you down - especially those who game the benefits system or who play politics. If you don't see this, wake up and look around your cubicle.

And yes, if having a kid grants you 4 months of paid leave... it will definitely feel like punishment for the rest of the single guys stuck in the office. I have a dog and cat I need to take care of. If you get to leave to take care of your kid, I should get to leave to take care of my pets.

/cc shithackernewssays

> If you get to leave to take care of your kid, I should get to leave to take care of my pets.

You can. Suggesting otherwise is a flat out lie.

> especially those who game the benefits system or who play politics.

You mean those that take what's offered to them? So…

You don't take pay? You don't vacation?

I mean, we already know you don't think you can leave.

And, maybe the bigger problem is you don't see why companies would want to do this. How it makes the company better as a whole to provide for this.

This vacation consideration is interesting. Do coworkers that go on vacation also drag you down? What about ill people? Are you saying you would like working only with single healthy people? Don't you feel like you would be losing smart guys that may want to go on holiday time to time or would like a family? Or your work is so simple that anyone can do repetitively for hours and hours and hours without stop - a work that does not require the smartest people, but the more-workhorse people perhaps?

Pretty sure your comment wasn't meant to be a reply to mine. =) Needless to say, you make good points.

>comparing a dog that needs nothing more than a walk and a bowl of food and water to a human being whose first years will be an extrapolation on his or her societal impact for years to come

Surely you must be having a laugh.

@hytosis A dog needs "nothing more than a bowl of water and food?" Well, that's subjective. If that's the case, then I think your kid needs nothing more than a bowl of water and food too. Same thing.

Sure. Then I'd retract and say that what your dog really needs is to be out in the wild being raised by its own real doggy parents (who most likely get a 120-moon leave from work).

I hope this comment stays online for the remainder of your life, so when you have a family you love and you see how beneficial it would be if you had more time and home as your children grow, you look back here and feel just a little sheepish. Any company that truly respects people understands that taking a few months of work, or only working part time, does not in any way, at all, degrade the quality of the work. I see this first hand every day and I'm proud to support my coworkers and be supported.

I hope it stays online purely for the comedic gold. Seriously, "techboots" calling out Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook and giving advice for entrepreneurs? "Tone down my work and time as well to match"? Good stuff.

Fully agree, life & family is more important. I think if I really wanted to spend more time with my family, I'd just quit the job rather than trying to play the benefits system to get 4 months of paid leave.

Families get in the way of work. It's just that simple. There's less time to pull all-nighters. Once a company starts encouraging "family people," it becomes a certain type of place. It's a type of place that doesn't really vibe well with entrepreneur-types or young single guys perhaps... but it may be the perfect sort of place for family types. Like Microsoft or Cisco. Facebook is becoming like that. It's not necessarily bad for everyone.

>"Families get in the way of work. It's just that simple"

I'm really sorry for your way of life, I really am. I mean that in the nicest possible way, that I hope you find that there is a beautiful, loving world outside the office, that informs your work and why you are working.

You might want to read my whole statement. I appreciate that there's a "beautiful, loving world outside the office."

It's precisely because of that that I wouldn't want to spend all of my time inside that office - I'd want to spend it with my family. And because of that, I wrote "families get in the way of work." It really is that simple. People with family have more beauty & love in their world, they realize what's important in life, and they spend less time in the office. And that's perfectly fine. But in such an environment, certain other types of people (bored single guys who really want to work long & hard) will not find themselves feeling entirely comfortable.

Companies tend to gravitate between the two ends... either super hard working, or laid-back family types. You can see that FB is drifing towards the latter. Which is perfectly fine.

>less time to pull all-nighters

Yeah, pal. Just like tending to your family, getting consistent nights of sleep are both inarguably necessary to avoid societal, mental health, or physical health issues. All human entities should keep these necessities in mind when designing a plan that involves other human lives.

Your mentality is parallel with the "live hard, die hard" mantra plaguing the industry and imposing itself on the responsible workers.

Facebook is a large successful company, life is more important, and it's not like a few extra hours or days are going to have a huge impact.

If you work for a company you ARE an employee, not an entrepreneur. Facebook is a company. Like most other companies employees most likely work a standard schedule (9-5).

>> "Hey, just because I don't have a kid, doesn't mean I shouldn't get time off - why punish me for that."

It's a benefit that comes with the job which you would also be entitled to. You have a kid, you get time off. Would you be complaining if someone else was getting more value out of the company health insurance plan than you because they were ill more often?

I do not understand you.

Is "entrepreneurs" the new "real men" for you? Employees who leave at 5pm are just "weaklings"?

You want entrepreneurs as coworkers? By definition you can only have one as partner.

How is it unfair? You want sabbaticals for everybody? That I would understand and support.

How are his coworkers punished? How is it "dragging the work quality of everyone else around"?

Isn't "sit out of the game" exactly what he did with his paternal leave?

'I get it'. No. You really don't.

Ok. Let's do this.

Let's form a company. We're co-founders, okay?

Now. I'm going to have a kid, take 4 months off, and leave work 5pm everyday. How do you feel?

During the early days of LinkedIn, when the company was only 10 or 20 people, people would leave work at 5pm. Start ups don't have to be this arbitrary 24/7 grind.

You know how LinkedIn worked in that manner? They focused on work COMPLETELY for those 8 hours and were able to get shit done.

I'm sure you'd agree that they've built a very successful company.


If the guy did try to contribute to work during his paternity leave, I'd respect that. But he didn't. He just kicked back and read "Lean In" in his spare time. His coworkers probably didn't even have the luxury of having enough spare time to read that book.

You honestly think employees at a company that offers 4 months paternity leave don't have enough free time to read a single book? I am struggling to understand if you're trolling, or really don't understand long term productivity and business as much as it seems...

I have two immediate thoughts. Forming a company and then taking time off of work to raise a child for 4 month is indicative of non-ideal planning, more than anything. That said, in this case the gentleman in question is an employee of an established company, not the cofounder to a startup.

Additionally, leaving work at 5pm every day sounds great and, I suspect, may actually result in a more productive work week with happier employees. All parties win in such instances.

Wow. You really don't get it.

And you've never been a co-founder of any real startup, have you? I mean, I can't imagine anyone who has raised money and hired people and had gone that route to really pose this type of question, especially in this context.

You should take a step back, leave the office, and think about why so many people are telling you that you are flat out wrong.

That you had 9 months notice and you're only telling me now? ;)

Seriously: I've met a minuscule number of people that can produce genuinely useful stuff when really working more than 8 hours in a stretch. I've met several orders of magnitude more people who think they can. I'm happy existing outside of both groups, and working with similar modest souls.

Also: I'd suggest getting up earlier and finishing at 4.

How is being a cofounder analogous to being an employee of a 4,000 person company?

> Hey, just because I don't have a kid, doesn't mean I shouldn't get time off - why punish me for that. Not fair. I'll take my time off to work on my own projects.

Go ahead? Who is stopping you?

In fact, if you aren't doing this, you are a worse entrepreneur by far. It's been proven, time and time again, that you need to take time off. You need to step away. You need to leave work.

If you aren't doing this, you're the one dragging the work quality of everyone else around you.

>>Hey, just because I don't have a kid, doesn't mean I shouldn't get time off - why punish me for that. Not fair.

I think the main message we can learn from this comment (which I think is mostly written in jest in playing devil's advocate) is: You worry about you, and only you. Yeah, maybe it's annoying that smokers can take a break every few hours to go hang out outside, and you get "punished" for not being a smoker. Everyone's situation is different. Mind your own god damn business.

They would probably be relieved if you kept the same hours they did. If you don't have family to go home to you have a competitive advantage in the work place over those who do, as there is probably nothing that needs to take priority over your work.

HN, please dont feed the trolls.

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