What Should I Call Myself?

September 17th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  10 Comments

hello-my-name-isA short cri du langue here for DadWagon readers: what the hell am I?

I am not a Stay-at-Home-Dad. I find their acronym unfortunate (they are quite happy people in my experience, not at all SAHD). But I admire them and find common cause with them. I am not a SAHD simply because I work outside the home. It would disingenuous of me to pretend otherwise.

Nor am I Don Draper. Or even my own father. I am more involved than those dudes, the older generation of dads. So am I an Involved Dad? Dumb name, perhaps, though I like the acronym ID enough (reminds me of all them good eats in Seattle’s International District).

I have changed millions of diapers (or at least it felt like that many). So how about Diaper Dad? It is at least a distinction, because there are, weirdly enough, a fair number of fathers who somehow bully or whine their way out of diaper duty. I am not one of them (though I envy their complete asshole self-centeredness). Diaper Dad has two strikes against it, though. First, it’s gross. Second, it’s too close to Dick Vitale’s overused (are any of his phrases under-used?) Diaper Dandy.

How about something that captures the essence of my most important time as a father: mornings. It is my job to sleep after my wife goes to work (usually around 5:30a or 6a), until it’s time to get the kids up. I then feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and take my daughter to school while my son wails about being left being with the babysitter. Evenings I am often away drinking and networking. During the day I am at work. But I am a Morning Dad by all accounts. Perhaps, to spice up the acronym, I should call myself a Morning Assignment Dad (MADs).

Those fathers who have to take afternoon shifts could be After Work Ends Dads (AWEDs). Nighttime fathers could be Dutiful Evening Assignment Dads (DEADs).

This could go on: those who are selflessly raising stepkids or foster children could be the Not Even my Kid Dads (NEKKIDs).

Or the deadbeats: The No Alimony Ready Dads (NARDs) who duck the bill. The Where’s Ur Mom Dads (WURMs) who direct every chore or complaint to the mother.

Okay, I’ll stop there. But seriously: there’s a large group of us dads who land somewhere between SAHD and Don Draper. We need a name. Any suggestions?


  1. Christine says:

    September 17th, 2010at 2:11 pm(#)

    What’s wrong with ‘Dad’? I’m a mom who works outside the home and my husband and I split duties by time/day/week as probably most working couples with children do. I think ‘mom’ covers all that just fine. Why are you in need of a special acronym?

  2. dadwagon says:

    September 17th, 2010at 2:22 pm(#)

    That’s a fair question. But I would say that society’s definition of dad is still pretty well stuck in the past: reality is changing more quickly than societal attitudes. So SAHDs and such still feel a need to announce special status. Me too.

    Analogous, I guess, to people still calling themselves Working Mothers. Seems redundant since so many mothers are forced to or choose to work outside the home. But it still sorta requires its own announcement.

  3. Jason says:

    September 17th, 2010at 2:55 pm(#)

    I agree with Christine, sorta. While it’s fantastic that so many dads are taking a more active role in their kids’ lives, there seems to be a lot of guys who are buying in to this need – manifested in these labels – for dads to announce their special status. I’ve been a WAHD for over a year, but I rarely talk or write about that aspect of my life, even though some of my friends and most of my relatives can’t wrap their heads around the concept of a man working from home while taking care of his kids. One of these days society will catch up to reality. In the meantime, like you and most other fathers, I’m more concerned with the D part.

  4. James says:

    September 17th, 2010at 7:51 pm(#)

    While I agree with Christine and Jason that we shouldn’t need any more than Dad there is this idea of what that means that you sometimes want to correct. When I would say I as an Oakland Raiders fan there is this picture of the crazy thug fans or So cal gangs that have taken team on. I would say, I’m a Raider Fan but not that kind of Raider Fan. Seems like we do that as Dads too. Like I’m a dad, but I’m not the distant dad you might be thinking of. I think the more dads that break that stereo type the sooner we will get to not having to add the qualifier.

  5. ken says:

    September 19th, 2010at 2:51 am(#)

    I am a SAHD but I often have to add that I am a former police officer when I tell people what I do. Funny that when I add that bit of info people’s attitude towards me changes to a more positive one–especially from the men……
    Yes, attitudes are still generally back in the old days but things are slowly changing….

  6. Dennis P says:

    September 19th, 2010at 11:46 pm(#)

    I think Dad is an amazing title. There are too many men in today’s society that think because they can make a child they are a dad. However, it takes more than just physiology to be a Dad. By being involved and doing what it takes to take care of your kids, you are doing the most important job a man can ever have. Just because you don’t stay at home full time doesn’t mean you have to have a title, nor do SAHD’s. It’s just a label. Keep up the good work. http://sydanddensdad.blogspot.com/

  7. Ken Guerin says:

    September 20th, 2010at 9:00 am(#)

    Christine is right on, but I guess it depends on who you are trying to get “credit” from. My commitment to being an awesome Dad isn’t for friends, family, playdate parents, strangers at parties or random people at the grocery store. It’s for my daughter. From my daughter, Daddy is the Ultimate! If I tell someone that I am a Dad, I couldn’t care less if they picture Don Draper, Don Knots, Don Corleone, Don Juan, etc. Get over yourself and your need for external validation. The way to overcome social stereotypes isn’t to create a new label, it’s to show by your example what you think a Dad should be.


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