By Maxwell John Love
Sometimes, growing up was just a little different for me than for most of my friends. It wasn’t because we lived on a small farmette in the country (yes—Wisconsin has different names for different sized farms, and we only had chickens and some sheep). Rather, it was the nature of my relationship with my parents that made my childhood different.
The smell of fresh baked bread, basil pesto, or some other homemade food often permeated the old farmhouse we lived in. My dad was usually solely responsible for those smells. Sometimes it was overpowered by the lemon-fresh smell of cleaning solution or fresh laundry (and sometimes that was overpowered by the smell of farm fresh air). My dad was also responsible for making sure the house and laundry stayed clean.
See, the difference for me growing up was that my dad stayed at home with my sister and me. He did so since, well, the day I came out of my mother’s womb.
People used to ask what my dad did and I would say, “He’s a stay-at-home dad.” Inevitably they would ask where he worked, as if working in the home wasn’t enough for a ‘man.’
I must say, I’ve been blessed and privileged to have my stay-at-home dad as the number one role model in my life. He cooked and usually did the dishes, cleaned, did the laundry, took us to school, took us to our respective after school activities, took us to the doctor, and all that jazz.
I would be remiss not to say at least a word about how hard my mom worked while I was growing up to pay for the food on the table and the roof over our heads, not to mention how invested she was in our education. For today, however, I want to thank my stay-at-home dad for teaching me that it is okay to be a man that sacrifices and feels deeply and emotionally for those he loves.
Maxwell John Love is a 2011 YP4 Fellow, native of Wisconsin and a recent grad from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a degree in Political Science as well as a double minor in Afro-American and Chican@/Latin@ studies.
This blog post is part of the Strong Families' first Papa's Day celebration. You can read more posts in the series on the Strong Families blog. Strong Families is a national initiative led by Forward Together. Our goal is to change the way people think, act and talk about families.