Fatherhood is more than showing up


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          Welcome to Tuesday at CoupleDumb where our theme this week is how much men suck. Wait! That’s not our theme. This week we are writing about being a good husband. Since it is Tuesday, we need to write about children, therefore we are writing about being a dad, which means we are writing about how much men suck. Damn!

          When I talk about being a good husband then it follows that I need to talk about being a good dad. Like every woman needs to come to grips with motherhood, whether or not she ever has a child, every man needs to get his mind around fatherhood. The problem is that, unlike the PR of husband-hood that I laid out yesterday, the male image of fatherhood is well deserved. Men that do not own their daddy-hood become crappy fathers.

          So my secret to being a good husband for us who are in the family way is to demand your space as a dad. Yes, I said to demand it. In the 50’s the man’s role as a dad was simply to be a good model of a male. Beyond that, women handled everything. They dropped their sperm and went to work. Times have changed. Women go to work too. Unfortunately, not all men have stepped up to the plate so, for good or bad, women have filled the void. There are whole organizations with the mission of getting men to be fathers, not by making babies but by being fathers to the kids that they have. Women don’t have this.

          So I say demand your space in parenthood. Women have been going it alone for a long time and, not out of malice but out of habit, they are not going to give up the reins easily. So we need to use our words like big boys and say, ‘this is my job too’. Bed time is my domain. Not just the fun part of bedtime, not the stories and hugs, but all of it. The screwing around way after they should be asleep is my domain. The midnight peepee run is my domain. The clean up when the four year old didn’t make the midnight peepee run in time is my domain. I am a dad and that is my space.

          Don’t get me wrong. When I say to demand it, I am not saying to be belligerent, mean or dismissive about it. We can learn a lesson from moms. They do not question whether or not they are mothers; they question whether or not they are good mothers. Men actually question whether or not to step in as dads.

          You can see a good “head of family” (and yes I am using the quotes there) because they own the role. If someone yells ‘daddy’ they say ‘what’ without thinking about it. They hold their kids’ hand and their wife’s hand, not because his wife is a child or less than him, but because that is where this good husband belongs. He belongs right in the middle of things, hand in hand, because he demands it.

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