I Do Know What I’m Doing, Thank You Very Much!

Joel Gratcyk (Daddy's Grounded)

Joel Gratcyk is a social media strategist, father, husband, perpetual student and caffeine junkie. He misses sleeping, but loves being a parent more.

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96 Responses

  1. Oren says:

    And now you know why you’ve never been to Indiana.

    • Joel says:

      Haha. I spent part of my childhood in Indiana and most of my family still lives there, but I am very happy to not be living there any more.

      • Joe in Brooklyn says:

        My wife and I moved to Brooklyn from Indianapolis. And while the reason for moving had everything to do with culture, it wasn’t necessarily the perception of dads mentioned above.

        My biggest issue, being a stay at home dad in Brooklyn is the looks and comments I get on the playgrounds. Moms look at me like I’m the guy that they mentioned on the six o’clock news last night. I do notice, however, because of this ostracizing from the moms, the dads are usually very engaged with their children. I hate to reverse-stereotype, but the moms on the playgrounds usually cluster and talk, completely oblivious to their kids (one of them inevitably a seven-year-old swing a giant branch around hitting the two and three year olds).

        I’m in the NYC Dads group and this is a common observation.

  2. Deanna Ogle says:

    This a problem a lot of dads have faced. They are perceived as the babysitters who don’t know what they’re doing and are only interfacing with their child until the mom gets back, which is very unfortunate. Dads are just as capable as any mother to be a parent and it frustrates me when gender gets in the way of parenting perception.

    On a side note, WTF? Who would say something like that!? How incredibly rude on so many levels. Sorry about that.

    • Joel says:

      Agreed. The day this happened we all went to DQ afterwards. There was NO diaper changing table in the men’s restroom, but there was in the women’s. Same thing on the way home. No changing table in the men’s restroom at Speedway, but there was one in the women’s. Oh parenthood.

      • Erika Fultz says:

        Doyin “Daddy Doin’ Work” has made it his mission to get all up on the ass of companies that put a table in the women’s room, but not in the men’s. Let him know which places they were and he’ll get them the message to them!

  3. Lance says:

    I actually think the comment had way more to do with the woman than you. She is ignorant and bigoted, and she thinks she knows all and other people clearly don’t.

    • Joel says:

      People will be people. I was just taken back by the fact that she actually said that thought out loud instead of keeping it to herself.

      • Holly says:

        Exactly. The problem is definitely with her and other people that can’t keep stupid thoughts to themselves. Glad you raised your voice, but then you gotta let it roll off. You never know what another person has been through; she’s from another generation and likely never had a positive male figure in her life. It was a rhetorical question and she didn’t expect any answer, just venting her frustration that she never had someone like you in her life.

        • Nickie says:

          I’m in my 40’s and it’s not a generational thing. I do live in CA has so people tend to be a bit more open minded? I also nanny for five families is 17 years and they were all older then me and all the dads could change and care for kids very well. It was a “her thing” . is the Midwest more old fashion in parenting style and roles?

        • Joel says:

          Well said. Everyone is going through something. Not when comments like this happen I just ignore it. I’ve had TONS of diaper changing experience between then and now.

  4. I would’ve lost my effing mind. I don’t care how well-intentioned she might’ve been, that’s just not something you say to someone.

    Honestly (and I know this won’t be popular), but I think it has to do with SOME women feeling like men are creeping onto their turf. Parenting has long been mommy territory, and SOME women don’t like the new shift. Just as SOME men ridiculously get annoyed with the flood of women into the workforce.

    Either way it’s crap and you were MUCH nicer than I would’ve been.

  5. Like the previous comments, I’m still just wondering why somebody would tell that to a complete stranger. Somehow, even if she walked in and told the same thing to a mother, I still wouldn’t think it’s fair to just get that out there. I guess some people were just born insensitive. I admire the patience in handling this situation because had that been me in your position, it would’ve been an ugly scene, for her, I guess.

    • Joel says:

      I’ve dealt with completely unreasonable people in retail and public situations for years. That is probably why I was so kind about it, but Abigail has seen me all worked up about things behind closed doors. No matter how calm and cool I may be on the outside in high stress public situations I do get worked up on the inside.

  6. Dave Lesser says:

    I once got lectured in Chinese about my daughter not wearing socks while I was changing her outside. It was a little chilly but she always managed to get her socks in the poop, so I took them off for the couple minutes it was going to take. Now, I don’t speak Chinese (I was in Chinatown, so it was some sort of dialect), but I knew exactly what the woman was saying. Defending myself to her, in a foreign language, proved a bigger challenge. I ended up ignoring her…what else could I do? It was definitely not the last time I got a lesson in parenting from a stranger. If it happens now (I’m on my second), I don’t even notice anymore. If it does register, I thank whoever it is (sometimes a stranger, sometimes a childless relative) for their “help” but let them know that (a) I know what I’m doing and (b) I know my kid a lot better than they do. I think you handled the situation as well as possible.

    • Joel says:

      Good for you. That particular situation is honestly rather amusing to picture for me. Thanks for sharing it.

      I do the sock thing too. I’d rather have them off for a few minutes while changing the baby than have him get poop all over ’em!

  7. rgratcyk says:

    Welcome to the world of public parenthood…..People always seem to have an opinion and since they can say anything they do. You would hope they would say kind things but it’s not always the case.
    Shock always seems to be my first response, a fumbled come back and after I stew about it I come up with a prefect come back! I have come to believe people lash out from their own hurt, either from being oppressed in their own life or they think life revolves around them and they have to control it…It’s hard not to respond in anger…You did good!

  8. You are a bigger man than I. I would have said: “No and _ _ _ _ off.”

  9. lablover22 says:

    Oh bloggy friend, this is only the beginning. HOWEVER!! 98% of parents everywhere are wonderful. OK, i”m feeling generous. It’s more like 71%, but the majority nonetheless. Good moms and dads will give you the “It’s ok. I promise we aren’t bothered half as much as you are by yoru kid’s tantrum. We’ve all been there. Relax, no judgement here” face in Target or at the park. They will also tell you stores far worse than your own simply to make you feel normal. You will run into plenty of a-hole parents like that lady in the bathroom but trust me, it’s her, not you. Most parents are kind and comforting and want to link arms with you and fight this parenting battle together! At least the good ones do;)

    Vicky

  10. Liz Koppes says:

    My hubby is the SAHD and everytime they run errands together he feels like everyone judges him or thinks he stole a baby, lol!

    • Elspeth says:

      And in my head a scene from Willow came in. One of the Brownies exclaiming, “I stole a baby!!! I stole a baby!!!!”

  11. DiaperDads says:

    Yep. Buttholes come ins all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes. I’m not one to hold my tongue, much to my wife’s chagrin, so I probably would have fired back with a “Oh, by the way, the 1950’s called and want you back.”

    Also, self-depricating humor also works too. “Oh, yeah, I’m still new at this and put the first one on wrong. I think I figured it out, though. I’m going to put this one on his head.”

    Also, screw her. You keep rockin’ it dad-style. Societal norms will catch up one day. 😀

  12. Dan Casebolt says:

    Dad Haters are everywhere but don’t give them the pleasure of offending you. I’ve found that most are just pissed that you are putting in more effort of their usually “X” husbands did.
    I love taking my kids (4,5 and seven) to the store with me just to show the world that dad’s can take care of the kid’s too! We also are also really good at it! Keep on doing what you are doing and smile at all those pissed off dad haters!

    • Joel says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words. I’ve taken my son out grocery shopping twice in the last week and am really proud of him and me!

  13. Oh my GOD. That.. I… wow. WOW. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that crap!

  14. eomommy says:

    I am so sorry she was so rude to you! Maybe she was one of those people that just looks for things to bitch about, maybe something awful had just happened to her, could be a lot of things – none of which excuse her horrid behaviour!

    Maybe this link will make you feel better. 😀 http://instagram.com/daddydoinwork

  15. I’ve faced stuff like that as a Dad. There are two responses. 1) “Why, yes, yes, I do, you nasty-ass nosy faced little no-necked monster, so STFU.” 2) “Now, why would you be so interested in the diaper of my child?” – I learned that one from the a Mom I know. Your nosy-Nellie woman had far more problems in her life than a kid with a diaper blow-out.

    • Joel says:

      That’s what I thought. People (especially the mean ones) are dealing with all kinds of stuff outside of the moment we both share.

  16. I’m sorry, Ma’am, do you even have a family? I thought this was the family restroom, not the insult lavatory, my mistake.

  17. Regarding the SAHD Comments. I usually get “oh are you between jobs?” or women kind of keeping their kids close when I have mine at a public play area etc.

    One time we were at a playclimber and a womans kids were going up the slide backwards. (one of my pet peeves for kids) and my son went to do it and I said “Izzy, we don’t go up the slide.” He looks at me and says “But those kids are, tell them no”. I loudly said “They can do whatever they want, I am not their parent I am yours”. HAHA.

    Thanks for this article!

    • Joel says:

      I’m not a SAHD, but have considered it. I love spending time with the kiddo. Plus, being a SAHD is still against the grain and I like not being part of the norm.

      Your response to your kid in that story was perfect BTW. I may use it when Wes is older.

  18. I will never forget the moment when we were at Panera Bread for lunch and this old witchy lady turned and asked how old our baby was.

    “Two weeks!” we told her proudly.
    Her reply?: “That young? He could get sick. Let’s hope no one sneezes on him.”

    Seriously. Why even say that crap? We just politely smiled because we are polite people and were so freaking taken aback by that. How rude! I’ve formulated many horribly snotty replies since then (he’s almost four now). It still pisses me off when I think about it. People can be so rude.

    Anyway, after my way-too-long comment here…
    –We are in the SAHD family. More power to dads who are actually parents and don’t buy into the stupid stereotypes that have been put out there.
    –Sometimes people just suck.
    –I wish sometimes you could go back to moments with awesome comebacks to put said sucky people in their place.

    • Joel says:

      That’s crazy! And I’m the same way with comeback… I’ve got great ones, but never think of them in the moment. It’s always days later.

  19. Marc says:

    I have replied “I know how to change a diaper, I wish not to change the baby I like him how he is…) I was called an a-hole…

  20. That big dude says:

    I’m a very active father to my two girls. I get them ready for school and daycare. I get them ready for bed at night. We have dinner every night and talk about our days. We read books together and when It’s warmer we play outside. My girls are total daddy’s girls, and I personally think its because I’m a decent dad. I work two jobs and play music so I’m a pretty busy guy, but I’m always there for my girls. I’ve not shied away from a single diaper change or temper tantrum. I’ve had people give me looks when I walk into places like “what is this dude doing alone with those poor kids” or something like that. A half hour later they’re looking at us and feeling jealous that they don’t have the kind of bond that my kids and I share. I do think some women think parenting is their turf and no man is going to take that away from them. All that is doing is hurting the kiddos, and that’s who I really feel sorry for.

  21. Keisha says:

    I get judged for no socks and no hat on a 3 month old IN THE CARIBBEAN. I mean how cold do you think she is, she is sweating. I get judged for putting a light blanket over the hooded car seat when she is asleep. Apparently I’m trying to suffocate her. I keep hearing “oh you’re a first time mother” blah blah blah. That woman was sexist I think but mothers judge mothers and I want to remember how much I hate it so I never do it. My husband had our 3 day old all by himself because I had complications. Seems like you are doing a great job and you handled her perfectly.

    • Joel says:

      I really wish people would keep that advice to themselves. Good luck down there! I’m freezing up here in Chicago.

      • Keisha says:

        Thanks. We actually moved to Canada in August and with these temperatures, frozen falls and arctic vortex, I’m trying to remember why. Stay warm.

  22. I had a woman go spastic on me because, while I was helping my toddler pick out a new pair of shoes at the store, my baby daughter had pulled off one of her socks and I hadn’t noticed. Even though it was the middle of summer, she seemed to feel my daughter was in serious danger of catching something horrible. My response, as it always is, was to say as calmly as possible, “Would you say that to me in that disrespectful tone if I was a woman here with my kids? I don’t think you would.” Her face turned red, but she never apologized. Cheers to my fellow SAHDs!

  23. EsJo85 says:

    In the just under 11 months we’ve been raising our son, my husband and I have not once heard any negative comments. I’m pretty snarky, but it is hard to come up with something witty when someone is in your face, so I’m sorry that happened to you. We’ve had accidents, I’ve leaked through my shirt, and we”very been out without a change of clothes when one was needed, and never ever had one negative comment. Thank goodness for that! Boo (and poo) on this woman.

    • Joel says:

      Glad to hear things have gone so well. This was the first (of several) moments we’ve had comments made. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore, but that first time? I was kinda shocked.

  24. Jim MacQ says:

    When we had our firstborn, I had to teach my wife how to put on a diaper. She’d never done it before, but I’d been babysitting since I was 13 and had done it several dozen times. The hard way, with cloth and pins, too.

    • Joel says:

      Wow. Impressive Jim. It was the opposite for us. I’d never even held a young baby until we had our son. Wife has been watching kids for years before. She’s the oldest of 6 kids after all!

  25. Tiffany says:

    My husband is very playful with our three year old and has helped since the beginning. Don’t let strangers put you off, he gets off and on dirty looks plus smiles. It really can go anywhere!

  26. Jenna says:

    We are in the SAHD category while my husband finishes college. It’s what works best for us. The general public doesn’t seem to judge him as much as me. If he takes the baby to change him or escorts our daughter to the bathroom, people assume I’m a lazy mom. It follows with all sorts of nasty comments. His own mother is the worst. The first time I asked him to change a diaper in her presence she was really taken aback. She just kept repeating that it wasn’t the way it was done. I had just had a c-section, was breast feeding every two hours, and in her mind her son shouldn’t help at all. My husband’s response was perfect. “I helped make this baby and I’m going to help raise and take care of it too. I want to be there for my child.”

    Don’t let naysayers get you down.

    • Joel says:

      My wife’s grandfather said something similar to me when I changed Wes at a family picnic last summer. He’d never do “that” but thought it was kinda neat that I did.

    • Keisha says:

      I can really relate to this. My husband had taken care of his 5 little cousins and this was a first for me. He did all baths and nail clipping and helped with feedings and diapers. I was re-admitted the day after baby and I were released so he had a newborn by himself. My step-mom kept saying that he was raising the baby. It really used to get to me at first but he told me I didn’t have to thank him for helping. It was his child too. My Dad didn’t get it either, he actually hosed my sister down when she was a toddler cause he couldn’t do a diaper change. Times they are a-changing!

  27. cathmom says:

    My husband gets compliments for taking our children to the store or to the park by himself. He is taken aback by it a little, too, because that is what dads are *supposed* to do and it shouldn’t surprise people. You did not deserve that rude comment and I’m so sorry you received the brute end of someone’s ignorance.

  28. Dennis says:

    My mom used to say- so you are babysitting tonight? That would really irritate me since when do you “babysit” your own children? After my first child was born I was home with her one day/week. I took her to the grocery story, carrying her in her car seat. I set it on the floor next to me while I was looking at something on the shelf. A lady next to me suddenly gasped and looked around- turns out she thought someone had “just left” a baby in the grocery store. I explained that the baby was mine and she looked surprised. I could go on with the gender stereo types dads experience. It goes to show that neither gender gets by unscathed by stereotyping.

  29. Jess says:

    Woah! I couldn’t even imagine. Although I have gotten my fair share of rude comments from random strangers….

    You handled yourself well!

  30. jesteram says:

    On one of my first solo outings with my firstborn, to a nearby book and music store, an elderly couple came up to admire the baby, then asked, “Where’s Mom?” I shrugged and said something like, “I don’t know, but probably at home. That’s where she was when we left.” I’m sure you’ve discovered since last April that this really was just the beginning of such comments, but the positive ones come, too!

  31. Trauma Dad says:

    Yah that’s pretty rotten. And what was her point? I don’t get it. It’s not even rational for her to seek that knowledge in that context or situation. You sure she didn’t just finish dropping a steamer and try to use a weak bit of poorly thought out misdirection?

  32. Nellie says:

    Parenthood seems to be more a competition rather than a club. Get ready to be offended by others’ unwanted opinions numerous times. The best defence is to grow a thicker skin and not waste effort thinking about what some idiot thinks. Chin up Dad!

  33. Hummmm It would be nice to post this on her facebook page, but I would have to ask her first “do you even know how to work facebook”????? What a turd! When you have kids, especially young ones, You will get random “nice” comments from perfect strangers, and then you will also get strange looks and comments from others like this. Makes you wonder what is up with some people? Were they dropped on their head as a child? Great story. Definitely makes me think what I would say if it were me in the same situation.

  34. Sounds really like she had no idea what to say so she just blurted something out and ….IT WAS WRONG!!! The world has changed so much. Most parents now share the duties around the house as well as go to work. I know that There are times that I work, cook, do laundry, and get the kids ready for school. There are also times when I bounce everything towards my wife. That being said, I can change a mean diaper and challenge anyone…man, woman, or child!!

  35. Jill C says:

    Snappy comeback #1: Well, lady, I’d try to change you, but you’re a bit too old!

  36. Deneen Cole-Ashbury says:

    oh people are always givine unsolicisited “advice” … by the 3rd baby,
    i just give it right back to them!!! good luck

  37. Charlotte says:

    Sadly I’m not surprised someone butted in with the opinion like this at all. My son is three and since he was 2 I’ve had the ‘is your son autistic’ comments from over a dozen people, usually total strangers. At a church Xmas fair last year a stranger actually TOLD me ‘so your kids autistic yes’. All this because he’s not talking yet. It’s amazing how qualified and self righteous some strangers can be isn’t it 😉

  38. Jason Greene says:

    People can be so obnoxious. I’ve had things like that said to me so many times. I have 3 kids and the comments I get are crazy. Good luck controlling your temper

  39. ReAune Small says:

    Great Job handling that better than would have. LOL! I was a young mom, and people felt the need or thought they had the authority to question and/or comment on my parenting. Mind you I was just STANDING IN CHECK OUT LINES with a healthy and happy baby. You would have thought I had my son strapped to the back of a 4 wheeler. I am a firm believer in speaking up when you seen someone being cruel, mean, irresponsible or disrespectful – but please, don’t make assumptions about a persons parenting skills based on their age or gender. That just makes you a jerk.Nay. An out of line jerk.

    • Joel says:

      Exactly! I’m slowing taking trips to the grocery and other places just me and the baby now. I’m waiting for more looks/comments. Ha! Bring it on.

  40. Ringo Speed says:

    I do, do you need me to change yours?

  41. Nicky says:

    When I was a baby, 35 years ago, and my parents went out with us, my father would pretty much ALWAYS take over the diaper changing. At that time you usually only had changing tables in the ladies bathroom and my parents were one of those who wanted to make a statement. A lot of times he got yelled at for going into the ladies bathroom, but almost everybody said he was making a good point when he said, that he only wanted to change my diaper and why is there no changing table accessible for both sexes?

    • Elizabeth G says:

      Love this! It’s too bad that now 35 years later a lot of mens rooms STILL don’t have changing tables. My husband and I have 16 mo twins and let me tell you, nothing is more frustrating when it takes diaper changes twice as long because I have to do them both myself. It’s especially frustrating in newer buildings. What, men can’t change diapers?

    • Joel says:

      Right? I’ve had workers “watch the door” when I’ve gone into the women’s restroom to change my kid because the men’s room didn’t have a changing table. Props to him for doing that!

  42. emma tait says:

    Sounds like that lady is very angry and jealous, because her Husband probably never changed a nappy when she was raising her children. But, times have moved on now, clearly she hasn’t! I am English (which is why I am calling them nappies, not diapers, just in case you were wondering) but I actually live in Sweden. Here things are pretty much equal, so it is not a surprise when you see the Dad picking up their children from daycare and the Dad’s have to have at least 60 days off parental leave. But, during our Son’s first year, when we spent a lot of time in England visiting family, we would get comments from complete strangers about how we should be looking after our child! We went to the shop and our Son was asleep in his pram and the shop assistant said in a very condescending voice….he won’t sleep tonight. Another time, we were walking through IKEA and our Son was asleep in his pushchair with his head down (it had taken me all morning to get him to sleep) and a woman came running towards me and pushed his head up shouting….he will stop breathing! I thanked her for waking my baby and ruining my afternoon. Even in the hairdressers, the only time I would get a break, I was being told that I should have started to feed my baby solids by now. It took a few months, but I made a decision one morning at 4am while I was feeding him that he is our child and only WE know how to look after him. Every child is different with different needs and we as parents also have different needs. I am grateful for any advice, but anyone who thinks they know my child better than I do needs to back off and fuck off! : ) My advice…….(if you want any) is follow your instinct. Enjoy! : )

    • Nicky says:

      Thats why we always use wraps and never the stroller – nobody touches our kids if they “dangle” right in front of our bellies 😉

    • Joel says:

      Wow. I’ve never had anyone touch my baby unless I knew them and said it was okay. I would have Flipped.The.F***.Out if a stranger run up to me and touched my kid. Good on you for taking it in stride.

  43. Louise says:

    The first time my grandmother-in-law saw me mix up formula for my baby, she shreiked out a “What’s that ?!” like I feeding her poison. This is the same lady who would store clothes she bought for my child in moth crystals and insist they didn’t need to be washed first! Some people just shouldn’t be around kids.

  44. Keaven says:

    Hello !!!

    I really never had that reaction with my little boy.

    I wanted to answer you to let you know that we went on a really nice trip to Vienna when he was 3 months old (Octobr 2011). If you want to plan a trip to Europe, you should think of Vienna becauseitI was perfect. The city is amazing and there is elevator in “almost” every subway station. We were able to visit every museum or cathedral we wanted and even went to Schönbrunn Palace. We took the boat to go to Bratislava and came back in train. We were not 100% sure we did the best choice to go on a big trip likethat, but after it we were so proud we did it and we’ll keep nice memories if it for the reste of our lives.

    So I decided that we should do it again and gave to my love her dream trip for her 30th birthday.
    We went to Paris when he was almost 2, last July. It was amazing too (of course) but not as easy as Vienna.

    Don’t be afraid of travelling with your child, you will love it !

    If you want more information, I’ll be glad to help you out.

    (Sorry for my possible english errors … I think it’s not that bad for a french guy from Quebec.)

    • Joel says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna. We’re actually thinking about going to The Netherlands as a first trip out of the country for Wes. We’ve got friends/family there who can’t wait to meet him.

  45. Strive to always be the bigger person, respond with a smile on your face – smug and confident! Kill ’em with kindness & you kill more flies with honey than vinegar are my mottos!

  46. Ashley says:

    My husband is a stay-at-home dad and when my daughter was just a few months old some lady at the grocery store said to him, “Babysitting today?” Taken aback, he looked at her in dismay. Why would someone say that? Who knows. People are ignorant sometimes. Sorry this happened to you. That’s so rude.

    • Elizabeth G says:

      I HATE the babysitting comment. Honestly, my husband is being a dad to his children, not a babysitting to MY children. He isn’t some dumb bafoon who doesn’t know his way around kids. But when people make that comment? It undermines his authority and just makes him feel like he’s doing something wrong.

      • Joel says:

        Exactly. Dad’s are just as much parents to their kids as moms. Just because the stereotype doesn’t match doesn’t mean dad is an idiot.

  47. Elizabeth G says:

    This womans attitude is so unfortunate! My husband and I had twins our first go around, so he didn’t have a choice: he had to help. Well, I suppose he DID have a choice. He could have let me do everything, which by the way, that attitude doesn’t fly with me. We both had these kids so it is both of our responsibilities to raise them and take care of them. We live in a small rural farming community and it’s so frustrating to talk to mom’s whose husbands don’t even change diapers. I remember right after the kids were born and I would go out, I would constantly get asked if “Dad was babysitting”. Um no. Can you babysit your own kids? I would always respond with “No, but he is at home with them.” Thank you for doing your part!

  48. Jonathan says:

    It really annoys me when someone who is older and has had kids decides that this gives them the right to act in a really judgmental way. I remember being at a party when our son was only a few months old and I was holding our son as my wife was in a hot tub with some friends. He was crying a bit so I just walked around for a bit to settle him down. For some reason, a woman decided to come up to me and offer the advice ‘you could try feeding him’. I’d already fed him and knew that he was just a bit tired from the way that he was crying. It’s so frustrating that some people ignore the fact that parents might both know their own kids better than someone who has only glanced at them for a few seconds and that they might well also know what they’re doing.

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