Tonawanda News


June 9, 2013

DOUBLE TROUBLE: A defense of dads, in advance of Father's Day

Tonawanda News — Sometimes, it must be tough to be a dad.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s tough to be a mom, too. You have that whole nine-months-of-pregnancy thing going on, then the whole labor experience. Then, depending on a variety of factors, you’re a little more tied-down by the months afterward, if you know what I mean. And then some portions of society still seem to hold you responsible for the vast majority of childcare, although that perception (fortunately) seems to be fading.

But when you’re a father you have to go through a lot of that without being able to do anything about it. Pregnancy? You commiserate and run out to help fulfill cravings. (I sent my husband out Thanksgiving night looking for mozzarella sticks, once.) Labor? You commiserate (as best you can), hold hands and generally be encouraging. Sure, you’re lucky in a way, but I could also see feeling helpless.

And then the kid is here. And maybe you do your best ... you’re a full partner, as much as you can be, you change diapers, you go to pediatrician appointments, you do your share (and maybe more) of the cleaning and the cooking. You learn more than you ever wanted to know about The Wiggles. You spend your share of sleepless nights with a wakeful and unhappy 4-year-old with a fever; you run behind a devil-may-care 5-year-old who’s learning to ride a bike. You take said 5-year-old to the emergency room when it turns out he’s bitten off more than he can chew.

But no matter what you do, society to some extent persists in portraying you as the buffoon. Mom out of town? She is, of course, going to come home to a mess, unclothed children running wild and poor, hapless dad hiding in the den. And if he really is competent and conscientious about caring for his own children, what do they label him? Mr. Mom.

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