Puzzle 480: Freestyle 430. You can tell me anything.

Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution

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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.28

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Can we talk crossword entries here? I feel like we can, no? You may have already read about one entry that you will never, ever see in my crosswords. So here’s another one in the same vein. “Mr. Mom“. I see it often clued in reference to the 1983 comedy movie with Michael Keaton in the title role, but I’ve also seen it clued simply as “Stay-at-home dad”. Neither way is OK at all to me (but especially not the latter).

Many people in this day and age still use “Mr. Mom” to refer to a dad who stays at home with the kids. They still also somehow feel like it’s okay to look askance at a father who isn’t the breadwinner in the family. But a father isn’t “Mr. Mom”, a father is “Dad”. Fathers don’t play the role of mother when they stay at home to raise children… that’s demeaning to both fathers and mothers. They’re not the babysitters who are just “giving Mom a break”. They aren’t the shareware version of mothers, they’re not the version of mothers that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. Would you call the mother who’s the breadwinner in the family while dad stays home “Mrs. Dad”?

The kids raised by a good stay-at-home dad look up to him and adore him the same as if they’d look up to a good mom that’s staying at home to raise them. That’s the only perspective that should matter — the perspective of the kids being raised. The kids… literally the central focus of parenting. So why should any extent of society at all view a stay-at-home dad any different than a stay-at home mom if their kids wouldn’t?

I’m not telling you not to use it in a crossword. But I don’t care if MRMOM works absolutely perfectly in a section and would link together some beautiful entries… I am never using it in a crossword I construct. I would tear out a whole section if I discovered that MRMOM would be the only possible linchpin that makes the section work.

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Thanks as always to the test solvers for their input.

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