by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
I've long believed that many dads get a bum wrap. They tend to get painted, by and large, with a broad stroke and the shade is often dark.
The media tends to focus on deadbeat dads, dads who have gone AWOL on their families and other types of negative dad stereotypes. But there are so many great dads out there doing the best they can.
What I've come to discover is much of this mindset and negative stereotyping is inflicted on dads by their parenting partners or spouses. We've all done it. You know, you ask your spouse to give the baby a bath, then quietly watch the whole bathing scene unfold before deciding he's not doing it “right” (translation: he's not doing it “your way”). So then you take over or re-do the bath entirely. How does that make him feel?
Or you send dad out with a grocery list. He buys a few different brands or items than you and you're irritated, frustrated, mortified. “That'll be the last time that happens,” you mutter under your breath. Is that really grounds for divorce?
Are dads supposed to have mothering instincts? Highly doubt it.
Do dads have fathering instincts? Sure.
And they should be allowed to run with them.
Trying to push a mothers' philsophy on a father will likely lead to resentment one day — on both sides. You know, with mom doing everything inside the house, while likely holding down a job, because she figures, “if I want to do something right, I might as well do it myself than leave it to my husband.”
That will then likely lead to “my lazy husband” or “all he does is barbecue” or “what else is he good for?” The seething only gets worse.
I've had the pleasure of meeting or interviewing a slew of caring, compassionate and committed dads. Single fathers, stay-at-home dads, widowers, c-suite executives who make it home for dinner every night, pro athletes who endured a rotten, unimaginable childhood and vowed to be poster parents and prized dads, dads in blended families, divorced dads, single dads by choice, gay fathers, adoptive dads, men who lost their fathers, and happily married fathers. It's a long, varied and absolutely fascinating list.
Like children, and like moms, dads need a family's support in their incredibly important role as fathers. They may nurture, contribute, lead or follow in different ways, and that should be just fine. Different doesn't mean wrong. It means different.
As long as everyone in the family realizes that supporting each other in their individual roles is what counts most at the end of the day. A family is a team after all.
To all Dads, new and expectant, rookies, veterans and grandfathers a Happy Father's Day this coming Sunday. Hope you are truly supported in your role and that you are a supporter as well.