From soft play purgatory to the ‘W’ word, The Out of Depth Dad salutes the job of every stay-at-home dad.
It started with a sixth sense. I could feel she was there – just in my blind spot, hovering. I turned to discover a lady, of indeterminate age (somewhere between 70 and deceased) watching me, evidently with growing displeasure. Not knowing what to say, I smiled. She didn’t reciprocate, instead she chose to tut. I took this as my cue to vacate the supermarket aisle – so began to push the pram away. This, it would seem, was the wrong thing to do. The lady grabbed my arm.
“He won’t like that,” she said, snatching a pouch of organic baby food from my basket.
“Excuse me?” I replied, shocked and confused at the presumption that seemed the catalyst for this encounter. “Could I have that back, please?” I said, holding my hand in her direction. She tutted and shook her head.
After briefly considering trying to wrestle the pouch from the woman, I dismissed the idea. One of the issues of being a large man is, if discovered fighting with a Miss Marple look-a-like in the Co-op, few people are likely to believe that you didn’t start it. So I took another pouch from the shelf and began to walk away. She muttered something as I left. I ignored her (and the stares of the other customers) deciding instead to take refuge in the cheese aisle.
Since sharing this incident, on my blog Outofdepthdad.com around a year ago, I’ve received some very interesting responses. I’ve been accused of lying – that I made up the story. I didn’t, it’s all true. I’ve been told I’m attention seeking – I’m not. I’ve been told that I’m weak – for not physically battling with the lady. Weird. I’ve been told it’s my fault for being in a domestic situation only suitable for women. If nothing else, this incident (and the reaction to it from readers) shows me that stay-at-home dads (SAHD) really aren’t understood. Fathers who are stay-at-home parents are, in my experience, some of the most interesting, insightful and culturally maligned people I’ve ever met. It’s not an easy job.
Here are five things every SAHD knows…
Why not head over to Fqmagazine.co.uk to read my latest piece on life as a stay at home dad?
Go on. You know you want to.