I used to be a charter member of a burgeoning movement in our area. Along with several other guys, we comprised an elite group of fathers who had opted to stay at home with our kids. In solidarity we proclaimed our allegiance to the stay-at-home dad’s club, or SAHD Club, where no girls were allowed… except, of course, for our daughters.

We rejected the idea of getting “real jobs,” though several of us worked part-time. Who needs to make lots of money while surrounded by adults having adult conversations? Who needs to have time to themselves, inside their own heads, listening the music of their own choice? Who needs to eat lunch in peace?

Not us, that’s for sure.

Even though we were small (our group, not us!), what we lacked in numbers we made up for in attitude. We scoffed at the notion that men weren’t as good as women at raising children.

When the moms outnumbered us on the playground, which was usually the case, we circled the wagons and wondered to ourselves, “What do they know that we don’t,” while basking in the satisfaction of knowing that we could have changed that diaper faster.

At snack time, we would coyly scrutinize what the kids were eating and shake out heads disapprovingly, knowing that our banana slices were more even or that we coated our apple slices with orange juice. (FYI, orange juice will go a long way to preventing the apple slices from turning brown)

When one of us would spy another at the store, we would remain aloof, standard modus operandi for a SAHD, and calmly walk past each other, like two ships that pass in the night. A quick nod of the head was all that was required, or on certain occasions we would employ the standard SAHD greeting of “Hey,” or “What’s up?” or “How ‘bout them Red Sox?”

And then it was off to the beer aisle, but not before a quick glance of the other’s choice in breakfast cereal. Wheaties or Captain Crunch were the acceptable choices. Anything with marshmallows was for sissies.

Believe it or not, we even had play dates. We’d get together and while the kids were playing we’d crank up the Stones or the Dead and sit around and talk about our favorite subjects, namely rock and roll and sports. What else is there?

Inevitably the subject of being a stay at home dad would come up and we would all become self-righteous and wax philosophical, and while I have no issues regarding my decision to be at home with the kids, it was interesting to hear my friends support it so vehemently and with such conviction. They left little doubt in my little mind when they said things like, “I’ve never been happier,” or “I wouldn’t trade this for the world,” or even, “This sure beats working at some stupid job.”

Yes, we were smug in the knowledge that y-chromosomes were on the rise in the stay-at-home-parenting universe. It was as if anything were possible, and we were going to take over the world, or at least pre-school story time.

Then, something funny started to happen.

My SAHD comrades started grumbling about being at home. There was only just so much “Care Bears” a guy can stand. They began to allude to searching for a job (the application next to the Sport Illustrated was a dead giveaway).

Then, slowly at first, they started dropping like flies. One by one, they either sent their kids off to daycare or hired nannies and au pairs, then re-entered the work force and got “real jobs.”

Their reasons for going back to work were all valid and reasonable, I’m sure. Money is tight for everyone, and it’s expensive living up here. Then again, one of my friends, at the ripe age of 48 is trying to realize his dream of being a rock star (can you say mid-life crisis?), so he’s hardly pulling in the big bucks. And the cost of daycare or a nanny offsets a large part of one’s income.

Which makes me wonder if being a stay at home dad simply didn’t mesh with who they were. Men, after all, derive a lot of their identity from their professions, and watching over the kids isn’t too high there up in the pecking order. It’s nowhere close to being a rock star, that’s for sure.

So after all that, here I am, the last man standing, hanging once again with the moms. I don’t begrudge my friends for bailing out on me. How could I? They’re only dealing with their lives, and besides, it doesn’t change anything in my life, although our kids stopped playing together since theirs were in full-time daycare from nine to five.

It also got me to thinking that after all that talk about our little “club,” things were not at all what they seemed. Then again, it’s like Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn't want to be a part of any club that would have me as a member.”

I wonder if he was a stay-at-home-dad? Somehow, I doubt it.