Aug 01 2009

Househusbands Of Hollywood – A Reality TV Show For The Mainly Manly

Published by at 10:49 pm under Househusbands In The Media

Well, it had to happen … a reality show about househusbands! The glamour soon to be accorded to househusbands by Hollywood is sure to impact even my own household, thanks to Charlie, Grant, Billy, Danny and Darryl, who, according to Reuters, are “a growing breed of house husbands who juggle cooking, chores and their egos while their wives bring home the bacon.” (“Househusbands go for TV glory in new U.S. show“)

Hopefully, “Househusbands of Hollywood” will replace those dreary lunchtime soap operas that us poor househusbands have to endure as we juggle our chores and our egos, getting the home nice and ready for when the wife comes home.

The show premieres on the Fox Reality TV channel on August 15. My only disappointment is that I won’t be able to keep up with Charlie’s, Grant’s, Billy’s, Danny’s and Darryl’s domestic antics, as we don’t own a TV. This is really a shame, because, according to Charlie, who is a co-creator of the show as well as one of the househusbands, the guys will be “doing some things you never saw before.”

I really want to see things as a househusband that I never saw before, but unless the episodes somehow find their way to YouTube, I’ll never find out what those things are.

Mostly, I want to learn how to be a model househusband. It’s been three years so far since I became a househusband, and my home management and child raising skills still leave a lot to be desired.

According to Reuters, while their women are out earning, cameras will follow the househusbands as they navigate bringing up children, running errands, cleaning up after pets and trying to find time to hang out with their buddies.

Unless one counts cockroaches in the sink as pets, the “cleaning up after pets” part doesn’t interest me one bit. We live in a rented home and no pets are allowed. Besides, isn’t cleaning up after family pets something that all normal “straight” husbands end up being landed with anyway? I don’t understand how a househusband would pick up dog poop from the yard any differently than any other bloke, and why this would make for riveting TV viewing.

I find the concept of a househusband “finding time to hang out with their buddies” a little disturbing. Unless their buddies are also stay at home dads and househusbands with nothing to do during the day, professional poker players, video game addicts or unemployed bums, why would a bunch of men want to hang out together in between school hours? Do non-domestically engaged men (i.e. corporate employees) hang out together with their best buddies during the day? I thought most people with family responsibilities make hay while the sun is shining to pay for their mortgages, bills and to reduce their credit card debt. If we’re talking here about hanging out with our buddies at night or on weekends, well, in my case, that all stopped about 10 years ago when our first child was born.

Maybe this is one of those things I would see as a househusband that I never saw before, if only I had a TV.

If I had a TV, I would be able to see how entertainingly “freaky” it must really be for men to spend their time bringing up children and running errands. As a househusband, I tend to mingle with a few moms as we wait for our kids to come out of class at the end of the school day. As far as I can see, there’s really not much difference between women and men when it comes to trying to manage the home and get our errands done in the few hours we have available between dropping the kids off at school and racing back in the afternoon to pick them up. Most of the time everyone looks exhausted, preoccupied with a million things that didn’t get done, and unable to stay focused on any one thing for more than a few seconds.

Okay … so the moms are a little more image conscious than me and don’t turn up to school in the afternoons regularly sporting a three-day growth or wearing the same clothes five days in a row, but I am not your typical househusband. I have been building businesses online for several years now, and part of the appeal of staying home and looking after the home and the kids while my wife goes off to work to bring home the bacon is that I get the opportunity to work on what I hope will one day become assets that will provide us with additional financial security and lifestyle options.

From the way the article is written, Charlie, Grant, Billy, Danny and Darryl seem to be married to very high income-earning wives and so can probably afford to dedicate themselves to being fulltime househusbands. In my case, my wife does earn a high income by most standards, but we do have a large amount of debt to repay as a result of past mistakes, and so, as much as I would like to be able to focus exclusively on improving myself as a househusband, I also have to juggle managing domestic responsibilities and raising children with the demands of working a growing business from home.

Going back to “Househusbands of Hollywood” for a moment, I do hope that the reality TV show will follow at least some housebands who have more than one or two kids. Although managing any number of children is already plenty and I would never seek to minimize this fact, I am always disappointed with most of the movies my wife and I hire on DVD where the story is about a guy trying to juggle work, relationships and raising children mostly on their own. It seems that in order to make the movie entertaining and watchable for most audiences, the plot works best if there is only one kid involved. The protagonist can then be shown living a seemingly ordered life, where indoor scenes generally show him dressed nicely inside a tidy house with tidy rooms and tidy furniture, and he even gets to go out for dinners with the woman he is developing a serious relationship with. The child is mostly just a prop in these films. One example that comes immediately to mind of what I have just described here is the movie “Game Plan”, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I am sure anyone reading this post can think of better movies to illustrate my point than the Dysney comedy I’ve just listed, but I’m too lazy to bother doing any substantial research on this issue at this point in time.

Even with two kids, you can still create a dynamic that allows the guy who is raising the children to get on with his life, while the kids create all sorts of amusing diversions. Corporate Babe and I recently hired “To Kill A Mockingbird” on DVD, and Gregory Peck is being totally assisted with raining his children in the movie by a housekeeper. I guess that’s another poor example, as Gregory Peck is not really being portrayed as a househusband, but more of a widower. Nonetheless, I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that if the movie followed the housekeeper around as she tried to keep small town middle-aged lawyer Atticus Finch’s two young children out of mischief, the film would never have become a movie classic, would it?

So now … put three or more children in the picture and turn up the reality switch, and what you’re left with is something that I seriously doubt most audiences will find engaging or compelling viewing, unless it specifically relates to their own situation. Even then, I think watching some poor guy spend his day running around trying to juggle housework, home finances and three or more kids would probably have most audiences walking out of the room or switching to another channel. It’s kind of like watching single people talking to their friends who have recently married and had a child. Most people who are single are so not interested in hearing about the color of babies’ excreta as they switch from milk to solids, or engaging in long discussions about burping, passing wind, sleeping difficulties, and so on, which parents of newborns find so enthralling.

I hope, therefore, that when “Househusbands of Hollywood” premieres, it will deal with the universal themes of being a househusband in a way that will help more men and women to accept, embrace and even consider taking up the role in this growing trend (according to several sources, there are over 200,000 stay-at-home dads and househusbands and even the Reuters article states that the number of stay-at-home dads has tripled in the United States in the past 10 years), than to simply provide another opportunity for people to mock, deride, scoff at or ridicule the positive contribution men can make to the family unit as househusbands and stay-at-home dads.

Good luck Charlie, Grant, Billy, Danny and Darryl … may you all succeed!

The Lazy Househusband

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