Stay-at-Home Dad Group Gives Unique ManSpouse Support

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In the male heavy military with so many spouse support groups focused on the female majority, stay-at-home Dads (SAHD) can seem like a rare breed. As hard as being a SAHD stationed stateside is, going overseas can be that much harder. While military-wide groups like MachoSpouse try to bridge the gap, we know there is nothing like in-person support, even among dudes.

Meet the Misawa Stay-at-Home-Dad group. This clan of gents, stationed at Misawa Air Force Base, Japan uses a Facebook group as their home-base for support. They meet-up for man things like coffee, beer, poker or checking out one of their member’s bands at a local club.

But this summer they took it a step further. Instead of just doing the normal hangout stuff, they wanted to organize an actual event, something that people could really get involved in.

And so the Stay-at-Home-Dad Olympics were born. Just like for any event that any spouse club hosts on or around base, the guys asked around looking for supporters and sponsors. Misawa’s CrossFit community stepped-in to support by lending equipment and judges for the Sept. 21 event. The Airman Family and Readiness Center and American Red Cross also acted as sponsors.

With 12 dads signed up, they readied the roster for the 2.5 hour event. But these were no 10 ordinary Olympic sports. This was stuff that tested Dad grit. For example, did they have what it takes to …

Hit the Road – how fast can a Dad load a minivan with all the supplies a family needs for a day at the beach? Time ends when all supplies, children and adults are secured in the van and it is ready to pull out of the parking lot.

Commissary Carry – the average American’s grocery bag weighs 20 lbs., so given an undisclosed amount of grocery bags and a baby (CPR dummy) Dad most unload the van and run the groceries into the kitchen with baby in tow.

Potty Dash –  we have all been there: at the most inopportune moment the child needs to go potty, and of course waits until the last second to say anything. Dad must get the child to the potty seat before he has an accident to deal with. Given a small bucket of water dad must balance the bucket on top of a 20 lbs. medicine ball and dash 30 yds. to the potty seat with out having an accident.

Huge Bouncy Ball – Many times dads forget how to get on a child’s level and just play, so given a large bouncy ball dads must race 50 yards while riding the ball. If Dad falls off it is a one burpee penalty, then he can continue the race.

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Like with any event, fewer participants showed than registered. But organizers said everyone had fun and they are already ready to make next year’s Olympics even better.

“This turned out to be one of the best ways I have seen to bring a community and families together. Each child cheered like crazy for Dad, and the events were things that we all do on a regular basis, so no matter what shape Dad happen to be in all were able to compete with our fear of embarrassment of competing against marathon runners or big weight lifters,” Taylon Chesser, the event’s organizer told me. “The Stay at Home Dads Assoc here in Misawa has been the most supportive and entertaining group I have ever had the privilege to be a part of and I will surely be making a similar group at the next base we are assigned to.”

 

Photos courtesy of Taylon Chesser.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • angelajean

    Honestly, this looks much more like the kind of spouse club I would like to belong too! Can I become an honorary stay-at-home-dad?

  • anonc

    “They meet-up for man things like coffee, beer, poker or checking out one of their member’s bands at a local club” the sexism in this article is astounding. Since when has coffee, beer, poker and going to see a local band become the exclusive domain of men?

    • Just me

      Way to find some negative in a positive thing. People like you must have sad little lives.

    • Jason

      Does the article say that only men can drink beer and coffee? Are you reading something else?

    • Andrew Perrier

      and yet every other spouse is splashed with pink and doing nails and other “girly” stuff who is sexist now?

      • guest

        That’s a bit sexist.

    • PHDPatt

      And this right here is why SAHD stay away from typical spouse clubs. Guys have hard enough time in the MilSpouse community, from the sexism of female spouse groups, to the perception of SAHD’s trying to “sleep” with SAHM’s. These guys need to keep it up and it needs to evolve and spread to more installations. Great job Amy and fantastic job to the guys at Misawa

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Anonc — I used those descriptions because that is, in fact, what they meet-up for. And I think you can safely categorize those as “man things” just as you could call pedicures, shoe shopping and wine nights “lady things,” even though neither is gender exclusive. It’s a generality based on what I was told by the folks who actually run the club.

      • anonc

        There are men who like pink and pedicures and clothes shopping. Personally, I don’t. I would much prefer a night playing poker. Why not have a spouses group that does a healthy variety of activities instead of sticking to activities based upon narrow minded and sexist stereotypes?

        • PHDPatt

          Anonc – that is something most, if not all, male spouses have been trying to get pretty much all spouse/wives clubs,to do for years. If they could hold some gender neutral events, more guys would show up and get involved. I welcome you to take that stance with every club at every base and see how many are willing to make a change

          • anonc

            At our current location I run, not a spouse club, but a similar events club consisting mainly of spouses and service members and we do a mix of activities, from shopping to dinner to pub crawls to trips to historically significant monuments. I am also always open to and requesting suggestions from members of the group.

          • PHDPatt

            Thats great. Can i ask what percentage of your group is civilian male spouses of active duty service members? Also have you joined the MachoSpouse website and Facebook pages? There is also a private malespouse page called The Mens Room for Military Spouses. I’m sure the guys in those groups would be interested in how you managed to break the mold and get guys to participate.

          • conng

            I don’t think I am breaking the mold so much as treating people as people instead of as two different species who are defined solely by their genitals. We are at a relatively small duty station but I have met 2 or 3 male spouses in the group. A lot of male soldiers come along with their female spouses to the events. There are some civilian contractor males that come as well. I don’t think I would feel comfortable, as a female, joining a group called “The Men’s Room” or “MachoSpouse” as I am neither a man nor could I in any way be considered macho.

          • ophiolite

            So have a lot of female spouses, unfortunately we can’t get any traction. I think male and female spouses need to work together to change the culture for the better.

  • Guest

    It is Misawa Air Base, not Misawa Air Force Base.

    Otherwise, nice article.

  • Mga

    This right here is amazing and more in keeping with what I would’ve enjoyed doing when I was an army spouse. Wtg dads. You guys are awesome and amazing fun. Once again men do camaraderie right

  • anonc

    ^ anonc and conng are both me, I was just using a different computer and forgot my username lol