What Exactly Is A “Trophy Husband”?

It’s no secret that the number of Stay At Home Dads is on the rise. It’s also well documented that the role of the father has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years.

As a shift working Dad who is home with his kids for a good portion of the time, I had never really thought of asking for recognition for the time I spend with them. After all, I’m their Dad and also, I’m far from perfect.

While watching an ABC Nightline story on Stay At Home Dads the other night, they kept referring to the Dads as Trophy Husband’s and it threw me for a bit of a loop. In fact, a few of the points made in the 5 minute piece were slightly off putting.

I feel it’s best that you watch the clip before I continue, so my points will at least have some context.

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I watched it a couple of times and even took some time to think about how I felt about it. No ones likes people who overreact in a public forum, so I’m going to quietly make my points and move on.

The first thing that happens is predictable video of Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton, followed by a more updated but equally ridiculous video clip from “What To Expect When You Are Expecting”. Not a great start and it got worse when I heard the reporter’s opening quote.

“Today’s stay at home dad is a new breed. They push strollers with swagger, like those dads in What To Expect When You Are Expecting”.

So today’s Dads are the stereotypical movie imbecile’s, who let their babies eat cigarettes, play in the dryer and swim in toilets? Good to know. I’m used to the movie buffoon thing, it’s increasingly more annoying but I get that it’s still a movie and they need to be funny. This was supposed to be a real story about real dads and didn’t need the ridiculous reference in my opinion.

The story goes on to say that Moms on the playground refer to these Dads as “Trophy Husbands”. Which parks are these? Who are these women? I’ve been to the park with my kids a whole bunch of times and I’ve never had anyone refer to me as a Trophy…In fact, I usually end up very much ignored to play with my kids, which is perfectly fine with me.

They quote a study that says more men are staying at home because women are beginning to value high paying jobs more than men do. I don’t doubt the results of the “high paying jobs” portion of the survey but it really shouldn’t be used as an explanation as to why there are more stay at home dads. There are daycare’s after all and I think more men are just realizing how amazing it is to spend more time with their kids.

I know a few stay at home dads and a lot of dads who work jobs for a living as well. None of them are the bumbling idiots from the movies or the Al Bundy’s from TV. They’re not even the Dad from the Oscar Mayer Commercial, who thinks letting his son play with a chainsaw is a good idea, among other things. Many other things…

Most of the Dads I know are just normal guys who like to spend time with their families. They are not looking for any kind of special credits or awards. Sure, it’s nice to be complimented every now and then but we’re no different than Mom in that regard. We do the things we do for our family because it’s our family, not to become trophies for our wives or kids.

We just want to be parents, not a special exhibit at the zoo. It’s great that the new age of Dads is coming to light in the media, I just wish it didn’t have to always come with the asterisk of a clip or reference to Homer Simpson. After all this writing, I’m not sure I’ve answered the question of what a Trophy Husband is. I guess my hope is that it’s not a thing at all.

Let me leave you with an example of what I’m talking about. Here’s a video that was done right and captures real dads talking about real stuff, without the cliches. It’s really great and I hope it’s the start of a trend in recognizing that we’re not the Dads from the television set.