Thursday, June 20, 2013

Identifying With Dads

Let me begin by wishing all of you wonderful Dads out there a very happy belated Father's Day.  I hope you all enjoyed the day in whatever way you wanted to.  It was your day, so you should get to pick the way.  I saw a lot of dads at the Bergen County Zoo this weekend, doing the dad thing.  However, if peace and quiet was the way to go, I hope you got it!

Excitement at the zoo.....whatever could they be looking at????

I've been thinking about our (Justin's and mine) parenting roles since Mother's Day and how the ways  we chose to celebrate Mother's and Father's Day was in line with that.  On Mother's Day I just wanted to be with Allie.  All day, all about her.  On Father's Day Justin wanted to take a nap.  He took two.  He wanted to spend time with Allie, but since he spends all day with her every day, a nap was a luxury. 

When I had to pick a theme for this blog earlier this year, I thought 'what is a strong factor in MY momness?'  What came to me was that I have a very different role than I had expected I would as a mother.  I always said that I was going to wait to have kids until I could raise them myself for the most part.  If I was going to have to work, my job was going to interfere as little as possible.

I hear the gods of fate snickering already.  Buncha wiseasses!

Needless to say, I didn't get exactly what I had planned.  Most of us don't, so I'm working on accepting that.  My little business has been a brat since Allie was born.  It was like a first-born child, determined to get my attention in any way it could, trying to divert my focus from Aliie.  I am still working on it, but I'm becoming a better business parent.  It gets proper attention and when it acts out, I take disciplinary action.  

Not long ago, the parallels between my life and that of the traditional dad started to reveal themselves to me.  In the morning, I wake up and immediately begin getting ready for work.  Justin is left to change Allie, find her breakfast, and get her started on her day.  In the afternoon, I'm calling in to report when I think I'll be done with work and Justin is filling me in on what he and Allie have been doing all day.  At night, I make getting her ready for bed my job so I can have that time alone with her.  Justin is sitting in another room decompressing after playing with a 2 year old all day.

Neither of us thought that things would work out this way, but considering that we have no choice in the matter, we've accepted the roles and hope that one day they will reverse.  In the meantime I try to focus on all of the benefits of Allie spending so much time with her father.  I know first hand how the father daughter relationship determines so much of how a girl will handle the rest of her relationships in life....along with the type of man she will be drawn to.

Side note....if there are any men reading this who have little girls, I don't want to put pressure on you with that last little ditty.  Try to view it as both a compliment and a future reflection of your Dad Skills.  It is no joke that you will play a  huge part in who your daughter chooses as a mate.  It's SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN.  People have devoted their lives to proving this.  

So, on behalf of daughters (and their potential mates later) I implore you to keep this in mind when you make decisions about how you live your family life.  You are what will be familiar.  Do you want your daughter dating someone like you?  Are your ethics and morals good enough for your little princess?  Do you want someone treating your daughter like you treat her mother?  I am rooting for you....let it be a YES!  And those things you don't want your daughter subjected to are maybe something you can work on.  If you change, her choice of mate will change too!  

Back to my original point.....

There are many days when I walk through the door and think, 'So this is what a lot of working dads with SAHM wives feel like.'   I feel like I'm walking into a show already in progress.  Life has been going on here with the rest of my family and I'm just joining in.  Actually, it seems like I have two separate movies going on and I jump from one to the other.  Neither one totally "defines" me and they are extremely different.

I have a newfound respect for Dads.  I get it.  Well, I don't totally understand because, let's face it, I'm a girl so I was raised on the flip side of the traditional parent roles.  Plus I'm overly sensitive sometimes, wear a bra and girly underwear, and get a little bitchy every 28 days.  Those things also tend to set us apart.

I think we all should try things out on the other side.  I'm not going to preach about how tough it is to be a mother.  After all this post is about dads.  But I know that if fate hadn't forced me to be a mom who works full time while my husband is a full time parent, I wouldn't know what it was like to be on this end of things.

I feel honored to have this Traditional Dad Insight.  Hats off to all of the men who do it and make it look so appealing that women have been trying to do what you do for half a century.  It's not as easy as I always thought it would be.

Personally, I'd prefer to be June Cleaver staying at home with Wally and the Beav.  I'll let Ward be the dad, thank you very much.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what was exciting at the zoo.....there were 30 prairie dogs running around and I think these three were in charge.  That one on the left seems to give off a body guard vibe.  He looked like he was going to lunge at me and eat my nose off at any moment.  I'm sure he likes to rough up the paparazzi.

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