My name is Kevin J. Doyle. This is my website. You're welcome!
Most Recent Point Of Interest
Snow? In May? In Kansas?
So there I was, in the steam room at my gym…
(I realize that few socially appropriate stories start off that way. Truth be told, I’ve seen some very strange things in the steam room. Nothing obscene or illegal, mind you, just odd. Today’s encounter was not weird at all. It just made me think… and want to write… so here we go.)
… And a random guy asked me “So how’s work?” A simple conversation starter, no big deal. Except these days, that’s a perplexing question for me. I automatically replied “I stay home with my kids, actually. Stay home dad.” And that was all I said. We then had some idle chit chat about parenting, about me having a “sugar momma” (his words, not mine), and about the weather. Always with the weather. Of course, snow in May in Kansas IS noteworthy. Still, I never enjoy weather conversations.
Anyways, the whole time we were talking, all I was thinking was: ‘Why did I not also mention I’m a writer?” I came up with two basic explanations.
1 - I’m PROUD to be a stay home dad.
I find myself worrying that if I quickly follow the statement “I’m a stay home dad” with something like “And I do a bit of writing” – it will appear I’m embarrassed of being a homemaker. I’m not. At all. I feel proud and very blessed to have this opportunity. It has been and continues to be a wonderful situation for our family. Therefore I find myself always stopping at “I’m a stay home dad” and never mentioning anything else. Even though writing is interesting and I do have a picture book out and I’m published in several short story collections, I still stop short of mentioning it. My main role is primary care giver for our two kids. And I’m not at all ashamed of that, nor am I concerned about the perceived “un-masculine-ness” of my being a house husband.
2 - I don’t want to brag or humble brag or do anything related to bragging.
I know there are ways of saying things without at all being braggadocios. However I am so reluctant to annoy anyone, or cross them up, or in any way negatively impact their life, that I take a wide route around anything which I perceive may or may not be irritating to another human. That plus my love for soccer and ale makes me think I should have been British. Anyways, there’s the other reason why I end my answer at “I’m a stay home dad” and rarely mention anything else. What if the other person’s sole wish in life is to have a published book? And I’m all “ha-ha look at me!” So not cool.
I know these two “reasons” I’ve just described are silly and most of this stuff is all in my mind. In reality, people couldn’t care less if I’m a stay home dad and a writer or astronaut or matador or whatever. That steam room guy was just looking for a little nice conversation and I could have simply mentioned my writing. It’s more interesting then potty training, that’s for sure.
I’m on a radio show too, but I never mention that either. Mainly because it’s a Key West radio station and it takes a lot of explanation. But still, it’s an interesting fact and people may like to chat about it. Yet I withhold that little nugget about my life for the same two “reasons” mentioned above.
The real travesty in all this is I miss tons of opportunities for a bit of self-promotion. What if that guy works in publishing? Highly unlikely, but possible. What if the next person I meet is an agent? Or the next? Perhaps I’ll come across someone who works in radio! Or I might meet an astronaut or a matador or another writer. Those would be fun conversations.
Provided I can say something besides “I’m a stay home dad.” Perhaps this will be my new “How’s work?” answer:
“I’m proud to say I’m a stay home dad, which takes up most my time. And I do a little writing on the side.”
Pretty good! Affirms my commitment to my primary role, yet mentions something else interesting, all without a hint of bravado. I think. Geez I hope it doesn’t bug anyone.
Maybe I’ll start saying I work in insurance. No one wants to talk about that.