Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Dear family, friends and visitors,

There is something they don't tell you about being a WMWASAHH (Working Mom With A Stay At Home Husband).  I've only been a WMWASAA* for two months, but I've already become a female chauvinist.  It begins almost immediately,  First, you find yourself coming home from work like a 1950's-style dad in panty hose, dropping your bag at the door, patting the kids on the head, and leaning over the stove to kiss your husband on the cheek while checking out what's for dinner.  It seems like fun until, over the next few weeks, those pesky thoughts start creeping into your head as you walk in the door -- They're watching TV again?  I thought the house would be cleaner now that he's at home all day, not messier! WHAT WAS HE DOING ALL DAY? -- even though just a short while ago it was YOU (me) who, after an exhausting day spent alternating between playing with the kids and battling with them over basic things like not strangling each other, would become immune to the chaos of objects on the floor and plop them in front of the television so you could frantically fix dinner.  

Being a WMWASAHH seems to magnify your worst traits, turning you into a female chauvinist without you realizing it, like the goo that turns Spider Man into Venom.  (Yes, it's true; since giving birth to two boys, all my cultural references are to comic book heroes.)  When I started this blog, it was going to be about the qualities it takes to be a stay-at-home dad.  Only it quickly began to sound like those books that used to instruct women how to be good wives.  I was trying to praise my husband when I said "He's always been interested in fashion and clothes, so he's careful with the laundry and can pick out outfits for the boys."  Huh!?!  That's a compliment?  Suddenly, I realized I was uttering the feeble praise of a closet chauvinist.  What would he say about me?  That I'm a very involved working mom, because I read to the boys every night? Somehow, the (im)balance between us didn't change, we just traded roles. This is a very uncomfortable position for me to find myself in, after years of examining the women lawyers' attempts to find work-life balance, and demanding equal commitment to home and family from men.
In my defense, though, C isn't a SAHD because of stereotyping or because his abilities are undervalued.  He is a SAHD and I'm a WMWASAHH exactly because we are equal partners -- we are equal, so we are each able to throw off gender stereotypes and do what we together decided is best for our family.  I'm working on reforming my female chauvinistic ways, and I think we're going to do all right.

Love, Christina

*For now, pronounce it WUM-wa-sah.  Some day, when us WMWASAHH's are fully represented in society, someone will come up with a better acronym, at least one you can make into an easy-to-pronounce nickname like the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (you're surprised I know what HIPAA stands for? You don't even know the amount of useless information I have stored in brain; now if only I could remember my wedding anniversary). 


Sarah Clapp said...

The thing about being a part-time working mom is that I feel like I'm both a stay at home mom and a working mom, which gives me the right to bitch about everything, and not feel badly.


Sarah Clapp said...

PS. Did I miss the point?