A stay-at-home dad calls to schedule a play date for the kids—can you get them together without “dating” him?
Because while the tots race around the park, you are spending time alone with someone else’s husband. Maybe you never thought of it that way. But experts say you should and for good reason.
So begins a recent article from Make It Better, a Chicago-area magazine, that made the rounds online today amongst a lot of at-home dads I know.
It is called “Navigating Play Dates with Stay-at-Home Dads,” and it examines with some pretty shocking myopathy the potential pitfalls for your average stay-at-home mom whose child has the apparent misfortune of making friends with a child with a stay-at-home dad. In particular, it addresses how spending time alone with one of these dads during a “play date” is — like it or not — a “date,” and apparently at any moment could break out into a full-fledged affair if you’re not careful.
Now, I’m all for being mindful of respecting your spouse and avoiding the appearance of impropriety. I think it’s important to safeguard your marriage against certain temptations. The article does indeed contain some good nuggets of wisdom in this regard.
But at some point we need to recognize that people cheat for a lot of reasons, and very rarely is it because they accidentally find themselves together with someone of the opposite sex while watching their children play.
I mean, this sort of thing is really unfair to both men and women, as adults capable of controlling themselves, and does nothing but hamper the ability of dads to be accepted as fully capable parents. And never mind how it hampers that dad’s kids from being able to simply socialize with their friends without it being under a cloud of suspicion of simmering urges by the parents.
Look, we dads already face enough trouble finding acceptance by the moms in our community, by virtue of the whole “man around small children = possible child predator” thing. Adding “potential homewrecker” to our warning label doesn’t help anyone, least of all our kids.
I’m sure this all sounds like a bunch of worry over nothing, and the truth is we had more fun with the idea that only ugly dads get invited for playdates (the article warns against scheduling play dates with “a dad you find attractive”) than we are actually upset at the author or Make It Better.
But there is a very real problem of discrimination against dads in the realm of parenting, of which articles like this are symptomatic. That is made much clearer when you reverse this article to be addressing how working men can best “navigate” meetings with female coworkers.