All is not rosy in the land of New York mag's now-married former dating columnist Amy Sohn. In next week's magazine, she reveals that her husband is a "momblocker." A couple things, now. Sohn is using "momblocker" as in "cockblocker." But this PG modification doesn't really work. What Amy is trying to use English to say is that her husband, the pseudonymous "Jake"—real name CHARLES MILLER, for chrissakes—is "blocking" her from her mom-ly duties by being all perfect and super-dad-like. For starters, the borrowed term implies a weird hetero-homo hate-fucky aggression that just doesn't fly in the toddler-parenting arena.
Sohn opens her piece with a description of a fight she had with her husband, who wanted to put their daughter to bed before her parents showed up to babysit. (Okay, cheap!) Sohn was in favor of leaving earlier and making her parents put their daughter to bed. Hubby was unhappy:
"If they put her to bed, I'll spend our entire dinner miserable, worrying every moment if she's okay. Is that what you want?"
Well, yeah, I thought. If it means she can get used to other people taking care of her so eventually we can go out earlier than 8:30. But I didn't say that. [Ed Note. Because I am a passive-aggressive cow.] I just said, "Of course not," and gritted my teeth.
I was slowly discovering a strange and difficult truth: I married a momblocker.
In my own circle of artistic, self-employed, super-involved, neurotic, and, yes, Brooklyn parents, I see far more control-freak dads. These are the men you see chastising their wives for not dressing the baby warmly enough or using only the three-point latch in the stroller, not the five. They insist on pushing the stroller on family outings, they crowd their kids on the jungle gyms, they spend hours online researching high chairs. Somewhere along the line, Mom gave up her automatic veto power—and Dad seized it for himself.
A Park Slope dad I know who spends several days a week caring for his toddler says his wife loves his help—until the moment he's better at something than she is, in which case it infuriates her. A mother in Windsor Terrace told me that when her 4-year-old son has to go to the bathroom, her husband insists on escorting him every time. A stay-at-home-mom friend came home excitedly with a new winter coat she'd bought for her son, but when she showed it to her architect husband, "he took one look at it and said, 'We could do better.' "
I find myself baiting him, just to show I have my own will. I know he despises Alice's dingy white Old Navy corduroys, but instead of throwing them out I dress her in them repeatedly, only to have him frown, remove her from my arms, and return her to her room for a change. Would it be better to toss the pants? Of course. Do I even like the pants? Not really. But that's not the point.