Friday, October 7, 2011

Strong Daddy

I'm not going to talk about physical strength, though it would be true that virtually EVERY daddy in the world is stronger than me, but the other kind of strong. Strength where it really matters. Strength of character, self and family.

It seems pervasive now to make a caricature out of grown men. They are all bumbling idiots, or at least one would think so if you watched any sitcom or commercial. I find it offensive to see those repeated images. Who do they think they are fooling? I, as a woman, am just going to nod my head and say, "Yep, that's right men are idiots and I'm this super smart hot thang." Riiight, I'm not stupid enough to fall for that nonsense. I cannot get on board with any type of behavior that has one group excel at the expense of another. Women can be smart and put together...and so can men. Crazy right?

Anyway, I hate seeing it on tv but then I look around and I see it in public too. Where are all the strong daddies?

I was picking up Heidi at school I saw a dad picking up his son. He looked like a bumbling idiot. He seemed to have no earthly idea what to do with the boy. Things got worse and he ended up carrying a screaming, flailing kid out of the building.

I know what you are going to say, "Yeah well I've had that happen too. They are 2 yr olds after all."

Yes, I've had my fair share of meltdowns but it seemed more than just the typical tantrum. He was so awkward in every movement, interaction and very distant. He was not present at all. I saw him a few minutes later taking the boy to Mc Donald's for lunch. I was in the drive thru and I saw him take the boy out of the car and fumble around and go in to restaurant dragging the boy behind him.

Then the next day I was out again and saw another dad caring for a child in a way that screamed out, "What the fuuuuuck do I do with this kid!?" Since then its been grating on me and I've been noticing this epidemic of sorts. Daddies who are only "Daddy" because they made a specific sort of deposit. Not because they are present in the child rearing process.

I think there are probably 2 main reasons for this:
1. Mom's won't let them do it because they know better and he will just do it wrong any how.
2. They just don't care and haven't stepped up to the daddy plate.

I think there will always be some sluggy parents out there who do the bare minimum and get through it. But I think a huge problem is in the mom. I have seen mom's snatch babies from dads because they aren't holding a bottle right or didn't put the diaper back on the right way or countless other trivial reasons. Men do things, in general, differently than women. That's the beauty of our very nature. We are not two of the same but we compliment each other. Dads play differently, sing differently, bond differently, and discipline differently. That's not a bad thing.

Countless studies have shown that single moms need to have a positive male role model in a child's life. Not that a woman on her own couldn't raise a child well, but it certainly helps to have a MAN around to help that child grow. Everyone brings something different to the table and that helps form a well rounded kid.

And what if you have a little boy, and he sees you telling your husband that he's always doing it wrong and his work doesn't matter. How do you think that will translate to a teenager? Possibly negatively towards other girls? Or negatively to his own self worth? He's just a stupid boy anyway and what does he know? It teaches him to sit back and let everyone else take care of everything for him because he couldn't possibly know enough to do it himself.

And what if you have a daughter? That she will see that its OK to demean the boys around her. They are stupid after all and can't do it as well as she can. Or her brothers, what of that dynamic?

I just know that Mike and I do things differently and that's a good thing. Sure a diaper may have leaked and someone cried along the way but you know what? I've learned much from him and I've had my own share of failures. There have been many times in the last 7 and a half years that Mike has been able to handle the kids in a way I was not. He has the Dada Bounce that works miracles on a crying baby. He can talk the boys out of a fight and plays way better than I do. We all bring our strengths to the table, its just a matter of being able to see each others strengths for what they are. As parents we are teaching our kids what is acceptable in terms of how to treat and be treated by the world. How is your example?

Dads, step up to the plate because you are missing out on so much.

Moms, take a seat and see what happens.