What do you suppose the abbreviation HD stands for? Being a car guy, I would first go with Heavy Duty, as in pickup truck. Next, Hi Def television. Then maybe Hodor Hodor Hodor. But in the context of an English-Speaking-Parents Facebook group I belong to here in Switzerland, it means House Dad.
As in “Oh yeah, I have a HD, he’s looking for a drinking buddy too.”
Or “My neighbor is a HD, he looks like he’s always wearing pajamas.”
It turns out I’m a HD, well sort of a part time HD. Like Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom, but speaking Frenglish and threatening to beat my children with noodles.
You see, Sarah has a job that requires her to be in an office setting for relatively fixed times each day. Not that there’s a clock to punch but she doesn’t get to wear her jammies to work like I do. And I use the term “work like I do” very loosely here. Have you ever seen Office Space? Here’s a clip that sums up my work week.
Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But who’s to say it’s not?
Frankly, the parental balance works great. Because of my greater flexibility I end up with regular House Dad duties that put me in settings I find amusing. For instance I take the children to and from school. If I talk to the teachers, it’s usually like this:
Me: Hi Becky. How’d they all do today?
Becky: Oh, they were lovely.
Me: Super. See you tomorrow.
When Sarah asks me to report in on how the chickens did in school and I relay the above conversation, she just looks at me and shakes her head. Because when she talks to the teachers, it’s a deep dive, probing for information, sussing out the subtle nuances of what REALLY happened at school that day. Men are from Mars you know.
There’s also the striking difference between hanging out with moms at the playground after school and with the rarely spotted Other-English-Speaking-House-Dads. When I’m with the moms, our conversations are great – interesting, funny, engaging. In fact, it’s nice to have other adults to discuss kids and school with. Shocking, I know.
But when I discover the above mentioned OESHD, the parallels, well…there aren’t any. Here’s how a conversation with Paul, my British HD playground pal typically goes:
Me: Hey Paul, how’s it going?
Paul: Hey man, I gotta tell ya, I f**kin’ love being a house dad.
Me: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Paul: I just take this little bugger outside sometimes and then screw off the rest of the day.
Which is interesting, because this is basically verbatim the discussions I have with Tyler – except about beer and surfing. Again, the men from Mars “hypothesis”.
As a current Part Time House Dad, I have made a scientific observation that I’ll be submitting to the American Journal of Child Rearing next week:
Raising kids is like wrestling a barrel full of greased monkeys with a blindfold on. The objective is survival but you’re DEFINITELY going to get poked in the eye and kneed in the groin. And everyone plays a role whether there’s a Stay At Home Mom, House Dad, both, neither or whatever. In conclusion, I have to say I rather like it.