A few weeks ago we were crossing the border back into the US from Canada. Normally this consists of a glance at the passports and a wave on through. This time, though, the border agent caught me off guard: he asked me what I did for a living.
That’s a question for which I didn’t have a ready answer. Nominally, I’m a software engineer. The work-like thing I do is run a web services company called Feedwhip, and after a bit of stammering that’s what I told him. But it doesn’t make any money and isn’t what takes up most of my time. I spend most of my time with my daughter.
Does that make me a stay-at-home Dad? Well, yes, probably. But, to paraphrase a character from an episode of Six Feet Under that Kate and I just watched, it’s not like I’m stuck at home with a big chain around my leg. To be fair, this is probably the term I’ll use since people know what it means and I’m mostly okay with it. But still.
Another option would be to call myself “a full-time father”, but this one really bugs me. Does that make Kate a “part-time Mom”? My role as her Ruby’s father affects many of the decisions I now make in my life, whether she’s with me or not.
Even worse would something like “Mr. Mom” or simply to take on the title of “Mommy”. Men and women have different approaches to childcare, and I can’t do what Kate does. And she can’t do what I do. I’m the Daddy, not the Mommy.
So, I guess my job title is “stay at home Dad”, for now. Any other ideas?