Before I start, I have to acknowledge and graciously thank two of my readers for nominating me for that “Very Inspiring Blog” Award. That in and of itself is something to be proud of, but its made more so by the fact that the two people who have done this for me I have a profound amount of respect for, and I promise I’ll sit down and fulfill the expectations of the nominees within the next day or so. I’m certainly not ignoring your nominations, please don’t think I’ve shunted them off to the side to be forgotten, I just want to make sure I can devote enough time to a proper response, and not half-ass it.
I don’t like half-assing things.
Although I DO like to say “Half-assing” for some reason.
I wasn’t going to write anything at all today, last night’s shift was a busy one and not only am I exhausted, but I’m also gearing up for another shift tonight…but something happened to me in the grocery store today that I couldn’t let slide. Indeed, it’s happened before but I was willing to ignore it until today’s events made me realize it a rather common, if disturbing trend.
I got a wild hair the other day and decided that I’d make an eggplant parmesan for dinner one night this week. Sunday night will be the first night in a few consecutive days that I’ll be home for dinner, so I’ve started gathering my ingredients. Realizing I was out of mozzarella cheese this morning, I decided to jump out to the store to get some. Usually I’ll take The Narrator with me when I go run errands, but this morning I thought I’d give my wife a few moments of peace and take both the boys with me. I loaded them in the car and off we went.
Entering the store, I placed Mini-Me in the seat of the shopping cart, and because the place was jam-packed busy and I didn’t feel like herding The Narrator when he inevitably decided to go free-range about the store, I picked him up and dumped him into the main basket of the cart, which he enjoys. As I wandered around the store picking up the cheese and a few other things (Diapers. Always need diapers.) I noticed that I was getting a few side-eyed looks from people, mainly older women.
It occurred to me that many people can’t figure out why a man would be out and about in public with two little kids. Surely the children’s mother should be present…unless…..Oh. Of course. He’s a divorcee and it is his weekend to have the boys. Poor kids.
As if there is NO other reason for a father to have his kids out in a store. I noticed a few glances that were very blatantly asking with their eyes “Where is the mother?” Now, if the boys were acting up, making undue noise, breaking things, crying, etc…I can see why someone might come to the conclusion that I was screwing things up and might need help. But no. Both of my potential kidney donors were as good as gold, and there were no indications of a problem the entire time we were there.
So why then is there no other conclusion to be drawn from seeing a man without a female chaperone in public with children than to assume he’s alone and foundering?
You could think I’m jumping to conclusions or finding a problem where there is none, but I’ve seen the looks before. A mother alone with her children is sweet. The vibe I get from public is that a father alone with children is suspect, and sad.
Oddly enough, I don’t get this feeling with just ONE of the boys. It has only happened when I take on the responsibility of loading both of them up and we go out somewhere. I can’t explain why. I failed sociology. I just know what I observe.
Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I’ve always had an interest in watching and reading people in public, and general vibe I get is that far too many people are thinking “How come that man is out alone with his kids?”