Recently, Sue Shellenbarger, the work and family columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote about “Undercover Moms”—women who find themselves changing outfits on the run several times a day as they juggle their various roles. In her article, Shellenbarger included this statement: “It’s been a long time (read it: never) since I’ve seen a dad changing from a suit to soccer shorts in a parked car.”
That statement prompted a flood of e-mail from dads and a subsequent column about men who are getting into this Clark Kent quick-change routine also. She heard from dads who are changing roles and clothes “not only in parked cars, but in moving cars, behind dumpsters, in airport lounges, in portable toilets, at highway rest stops and gas stations.” For further proof, one dad even offered to send her a video of himself changing in his car.
Some dads started it years ago—leaving work a little early to coach baseball, and scrambling to make the attire match the activity. But today, kids are busier than ever, and more dads are becoming experts at role-juggling as they expand the definition of what it means to be a father. Being a good father today takes a bit more planning and creativity.
One dad who’s a sales executive has mastered the art of changing into his coaching uniform in an airplane lavatory. And one attorney-dad keeps several different outfits in his car at all times—jeans, casual slacks, shorts, whatever he needs for coaching, church or community activities. He’s been known to duck behind a dumpster or an empty bus to complete his transformation.
Changing clothes in an odd place may seem trivial, but it’s a positive sign that dads are finding ways to effectively blend their work and family commitments. So, dad, next time you’re pulling off your socks at a stoplight or locking your office door so you can trade your tie for a T-shirt, be thankful that you have opportunities to demonstrate your SuperDad commitment.