What About Dad

I love all the “mom” commercials that interrupt the Olympic games, lovely little montages of sacrifice and support that make us all reach for the Kleenex. Moms should be recognized because you know they did a ton to get their kid where she is, but I do believe we’re missing someone, someone equally important: Dad. Remember him?

I know the statistics—I know single parents are typically women. I know that moms, statistically, have changed more diapers and have probably cleaned up more puke and are most likely the ones to cart their kids from practice to practice so they deserve a multi-million dollar commercial thank you. But what if (and don’t stone me for taking a traditionalist standpoint for just a sec) what if Dad was the one that kept plugging away at that not-so-fun job to pay for the skiing lessons? What if Dad’s been cheering on the sidelines since day one? Call me crazy but couldn’t Dad be the one to wash the boo-boo at times? Where’s their commercial?

(Hey Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson, maybe you should tap into this.)

This whole lack of thank you dad commercials got me wondering: what message, either overtly or subconsciously, is being sent? That Dads, in general, don’t deserve as much praise as moms? That dads are replaceable? That sure, they’re important, but not nearly as important as Mom?

If so, I disagree.

Dads, you bring something to the table that we Moms do not. You bring your dad-ness and moms and kids alike need it and sometimes I fear you fail to recognize your power of influence. I fear society doesn’t usually recognize it and I fear that I, in my own home, sometimes don’t recognize it because I’m too busy being a mom. But talk to the woman who says, “I always knew my dad loved me” and ask how that shaped her view of everything. Or talk to the man who admits he never heard or felt an ounce of affection from his father and listen to the crack in his voice. If you dare. Dad’s matter. A lot.

Look, Dads, we know you’re imperfect. Your wives know it and so do your kids–or they’ll find out eventually. But that doesn’t give you license to check out (cuz we’re imperfect too) and, I think, part of the problem is (watch your toes now, Dads) you tend to check out easier than moms do. Generally speaking.

Dads, don’t check out. Stay in the game. We need your tenderness, your masculinity (yes I said it), your strength. This post is not the whimper of a needy wife/mom—my independence streak runs far and deep, ask my husband—but I know my kids need their dad just as much as they need me. So Dads, don’t shrink back because of your imperfections. Show your real strength, your masculinity and, if you need to, apologize. Start over. Look your kids in the eye when they talk to you.Go hug your son and daughter. Just be present.  Keep being your kid’s dad. Whether or not they’re budding pre-Olympians, your kids need you—even if the advertising campaigns refuse to highlight it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few years back. So thankful for the dad you are, Doug.

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