I hadn't heard that one before.
It apparently refers to fathers who are inconsistent disciplining their children.
In this article: Does your kid have a "doormat dad?", at babycenter.com, Carolyn Robertson discusses her husband's unwillingness to follow through on house rules.
In his NY Times blog "Motherlode" Michael Bahler writes "In Defense of the Doormat Dad.", explaining how - although he fears his son's temper - it's also a question of picking your battles. I can definitely relate to that.
Both these authors seem sensitive to the complexities of parenting, as well as to the variations in parenting styles - even within the same household. But neither husband mentioned seems to be offended at the label itself.
As part of gradual adjustments to gender roles, certain realities are (thankfully) less often derided, for example: female executives with young children, fathers becoming stay-at-home parents, etc.
Negative labels, however, are still more pervasive when referring to Dads than to Moms.
Articles about "Doormat Dads" are received as humor pieces, even when written by Mom.
Would a daddy blogger writing about his wife as a "Doormat Mom" be as well received? I don't think so.
I imagine the response from the women in my own social circle to such a post would be: "Listen, I may not be perfect, but after the daily responsibilities of work, raising children, helping to plan extracurricular activities, and trying to hang on to some form of social life while attempting to prevent our house from resembling a war zone, I don't also need to be labelled a 'doormat', to be analyzed by the blogsphere."
That could be why a Google search for "doormat dad" turns up 13,500 results, while the search for "doormat mom" offers 1,780.
Are men more likely to be doormats than women? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Do men spend still spend less time at home with their children and as a result are more gun-shy to spend that time disciplining them? More likely.
Are men less likely to write a blog post entitled "My Wife is a Doormat?" Most definitely, I think. The parental sense of humor hasn't developed that level of elasticity, yet.
I've written often about the perceptions of men and fatherhood; about how women complain we won't open up; how modern men appreciate strong women; or how fathers can be unfair targets.
One of the advantages of the blogsphere is it is easy to realize you are not alone and isolated. Whether you're a first-time jogger, someone suffering from depression, a needlepoint fanatic or a die-hard hockey fan; you can find a like-minded soul surfing the internet wave.
Conversely, blogging allows for ideas to be published quickly, for free, and forever.
I have a healthy self-deprecating sense of humor, but I'm not sure I would want my wife to publish "My Husband is a Doormat." It is akin to making that same announcement into a microphone at the center of a football stadium. I would feel it's none of their business. Also, I wouldn't look forward to my grand-children reading that post thirty years from now:
"Let's Google grampa!....Hey!...Look at this! It's gramma calling him a doormat!"
I'm seem stodgy, don't I? I'm not. I get the intended humor and lightheartedness of the 'Doormat' posts. And both authors speak very highly of their relationships. But, sometimes, this dad gets tired of being studied and labelled.
I'm not a doormat. I do have one though; it's the first thing people see as my wife and I welcome them into my home. Maybe I'll start using instead as the place I send my kids for their time-outs.