My work schedule doesn’t always make it easy, but I try my best to be as involved in my children’s lives as possible.
I’ll confess to knowing less about what’s going on in my teenage daughter’s life than I probably should, but I think that may have more to do with the nature of teenage daughters than it does with my effort. I made it to as many soccer games and practices as I could, drove her to dance class when it fell on my night off and took vacation time for recitals. I don’t do as much as I’d like, probably not as much as she would like, but I do what I can and hope that she realizes that.
The same thing goes for the little. I’m up every morning to get her up and ready for school, just like I was with her sister. As I type this I’m keeping an eye on the clock, a mid-day musical performance happening at her school very shortly.
This apparently will come as a surprise to some people, but this is also the attitude of every single other father I know. Not some, not most, every other one. I see them at school drop off in the morning, pick up in the afternoon, at parent-teacher conferences, at dance practice, at the pediatrician’s office, at the movie theater and at the park.
Dads not doing anything special, not doing anything that deserves any measure of praise or celebration. Just parenting.
And yet this:
and just in time for the season:
I don’t get offended easily. Exasperated yes, but not offended. When I scroll past something that I disagree with, I keep scrolling, feeling no need to inject my opinions into the comments of every Facebook post that I come across. My object here today is not to rant, not to criticize or shame those that may find these and the many others like them to be funny.
My desire here today is to tell you I’m sorry. Sorry that you feel the need to take passive-aggressive swipes at your partner. That by receiving “likes” and shares you are getting needed confirmation that you are not alone. That you aren’t the only one out there that seems to have had a child with a douche bag.
I’m sorry that you have been left behind. Most dads these days are doing their part. They do the shopping, they wrap presents. They pack lunches and brush hair. They even change diapers and get up in the middle of the night to dry tears and tuck their kids back into bed.
We don’t do it to be helpful. Don’t do it to give mom a break or to try and impress anybody. We do it because we couldn’t imagine doing anything different.
We’re just parenting.
A version of this post was previously published on ThirstyDaddy and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Jeremy Barnes