It has been a fantastic week for the NYC Dads Group on the media front – aiming to share our story about being modern men and dispelling some of the myths out there about at-home dads. The latest wave hit today, when NY Post columnist Andrea Peyser splashed, You da man, Mr. Mom across page 15. She personally came out to an UWS playground to meet up with some of the dads in the group (thanks to Edward, Patrick, & Jovi) to see what all of the fun is about.
Here is the full article. Enjoy the article and let us know what you think:
You da man, Mr. Mom!
by Andrea Peyser, NY Post
The epiphany hit Lance Somerfeld in the nose like a toxic diaper. The Upper East Sider walked into his “Mommy and Me” class with son Jake. Everyone tried not to stare.
“There was a lot of talk about milestones. And breast-feeding. It was in your face, ” said Lance, 36. “It was just me and the girls.”
That was two years and many tears (his) ago. Now, Somerfeld has so much testosterone to keep him company in the playground, you’d think every warm day featured a prison break.
You see them all over the city, shoveling organic mush in babies’ faces, pushing ergonomic strollers, or strapping wee ones to muscular chests. Not long ago, moms warned tots to steer clear of the creepy man in the corner. Now, stay-at-home dads — known by the bummer acronym SAHDs — are a rapidly growing, underground demographic. They’re repped by a handful of blogs and organizations, like NYC Dads Group, which Somerfeld started when he began to go nuts. It now claims 220 members, mostly in Manhattan.
SAHDs even have a celebrity: Todd Palin. Chucklehead comics George Lopez and Joy Behar emasculated the former First Dude of Alaska for sport.
Lopez: “When I was a kid, those guys were called bums.”
Behar: “They’re still called bums.”
Ouch. How do you kick the image of professional wuss?
With the economy struggling and many wives making more dough than their hubs, dads decide to stay home for economic reasons: Hiring a nanny can cost an entire salary. And many couples believe that a parent is the best caregiver for a baby, even a parent incapable of nursing.
Biology, as I’ve learned from hanging out with these dads in Central Park, does not determine a new parent’s propensity to be neurotic.
Ed Drossman (pictured), of the Upper West Side, walked away from a job in advertising to be a full-time dad to Zachary, nearly 1. He’s been clubbed by the breast-feeding nazis over his son’s lack of mommy’s milk. It made him defensive.
“Some people say, ‘Oh, you’re giving him Similac.’ He’s growing!” Ed appealed to the mommy police. “I must be doing something right!”
The most recent census data, from 2006, shows that 159,000 American men took care of kids full time — a number that shot up like a rocket from 2003, when just 98,000 dads stayed home.
But out of embarrassment or denial, the number of dads who write “mommy” as a job description is woefully underreported, researchers say. Aaron Rochlen, of the University of Texas, puts the number of men who make caring for kids their primary mission at 2 million. In recent days, SAHDs have clearly surged.
“You see more dads pushing strollers around noon, something I didn’t see a year ago,” said Lance. A former corporate financial officer and New York City teacher, he meant to go back to work after a year of diaper duty.
“I enjoyed it so much that I’m on Year Two.”
Upper West Sider Patrick Spillman, 40, was laid off from his job as director of coffee for FreshDirect when he chose to stay home with Grace, 2, as his wife worked. Now he’s in it for at least five years.
“This is hard work!” said Patrick.
Drossman said, “I don’t do anything for myself. I don’t go to the gym. But I’m better equipped to haul babies around New York City than the ladies. To lift strollers into the subways!”
Whipping a cutting board from a backpack and slicing up fruit, he added, “Zachy loves blueberries. I’m afraid of choking.”
Jovi Alegrado, 35, of the Upper East Side, watches son Lucas, 2½, and a 5-year-old daughter, but gets a hard time from his Filipino family, which calls him the dreaded Mr. Mom.
“My sisters tell me I’m trying to escape responsibility,” he said. “I’m content. I’m OK with it.”
A crime against nature? Or fair turnabout?
Underappreciated and underpaid, dads are storming the nursery. One thing’s for certain — these guys don’t whine about their lot in life, as feminists do.
Father’s Day is June 20. Be nice to a stay-at-home dad. He deserves your respect.