Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Parenting: Not only am I capable...I'm pretty damn good at it.

Today my wife and I started a new chapter in life.  She went back to work for the first time after being a SAHM for 6 years which meant that today was officially my first day as a stay at home dad.  It was a pretty normal day.  I woke up with the wife to see her off, made the boys breakfast, played with trucks and puzzles, played superheroes, read books, put them down for naps, made them lunch when they woke up, went to the pool, and...then it happened.  As we were leaving, one of the mom's who was there with her 3 kids (roughly the same age as the boys) stopped me as we were leaving and said "That's impressive!  Not a single fight or melt down!"  Truth be told...I didn't know what to say.  I didn't know if she was impressed with the fact that my boys are so well behaved or impressed with the fact that I'm the Dad and I just brought all 3 of my kids to the pool and know...lived.  I question the intent behind the comment because the truth's not the first time, and it won't be the last.  In fact, anytime anyone finds out that she is leaving the boys with me for any amount of time, they not only question my ability as a parent (because I'm the Dad), but I truly think they also question her sanity a little for being confident enough in my parenting skills to actually trust my own children with me.

I mean..can we just stop pretending that all men are just some incompetent babysitters that can't function without a 2 page list of do's and don'ts readily prepared and laminated by the ever more competent mother?  I could we possibly get through the day with our own kids without the supervision of the "true parent"?  Let's get something straight... I'm a Dad, and a fully capable one at that.  And to top it off (and you might want to sit down for this), I'm not just fully capable of taking care of my own kids... I'm pretty damn good at it.  You know why?  I'm gonna let you in on a little secret... it's my job.  It is my job as a parent to do just that...parent.  Parent...not babysit.  There is only one person in the world who is just as equally good at parenting my kids and that is my wife.  That's right...I said it... "equally" as good.  You see, in some ways our parenting styles differ and in other ways they are they same.  Where one of us struggles, the other excels, and somewhere in the middle...we make one hell of a parenting team.

What I would like to know is who are all these a-holes out there that are giving all Dad's a bad name.  I it really that hard guys?  It's your own kid and you have one effing a parent.  Time's up...I'll answer for you.  No.  It's really not that hard.  Let me help.  Here's a basic summary of what you need to do...

Make sure they...
  • Eat (preferably healthy)
  • Have clothes on (at least in public)
  • Take baths (and actually clean some shit)
  • Take naps
  • Go to bed at a decent time
  • Say please and thank you
  • Say yes sir and no ma'am
  • Learn to share
  • Play nice with others
  • Are kind
  • Like to read
  • Play outside
  • Listen
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • Wear a helmet
  • Follow instructions
  • Respect authority (including yours)
  • Laugh (a lot)
  • Are polite
  • Always try their hardest
  • Try new things
  • Fight their fears
  • Most importantly... make sure they know that they are loved

Now, if you want some easy extra credit...try to throw in some of these on nights and weekends.  You know...if you're just too busy to do this parenting thing 24/7.

  • Make sure they know the value of hard work (see also:  how not to be an entitled a-hole)
  • Make sure they see how much you love, respect, and value your wife
  • Make sure they see you laugh and have fun
  • Make sure they can cook their own food and do their own laundry.  No...not because it's 2016 and it's not the woman's job anymore.  Because you're an adult and it's nobody's job to do it for you but your own (see also: "Adulting")
  • And again...make sure they know (without a doubt) that they are loved.

Now this seems all fine and dandy but here's the key... actions speak louder than words.  You can't tell them to be kind when they see you being a prick all the time.  You can't expect them to do their own laundry when you leave it in a pile on the floor for your wife to do.  And you can't expect them to grow up and respect women if they always see you disrespecting their mom.  And... nevermind... you get the idea. the man you want your son's and son in-law's to be.  It's not that hard guys.  Oh...and if you could stop giving the rest of us a bad name...that would be great.

I'm a Dad.  Not only am I capable...I'm pretty damn good at it.   

1 comment:

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