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A Mom's Look at Being a Dad

Happy Father's Day from our Mom Patch columnist.

A bit of trivia: In 1972 Father’s Day became a national holiday. It was first observed in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. However it took 62 years from the first celebration to become an official holiday. I wonder what the resistance was to honor dad for parenting?

 Men primarily run Congress — wouldn’t they want another pat on the back? Is honoring a man for his part in raising children not “man” enough to celebrate? It was actually a woman who made the most noise to finally get dad some recognition for his role in parenting.

Women are said to have a natural ability to nurture and mother.  Something in our DNA programs us to set our needs and wants aside in order to give it all to our children. While we are pregnant we read our parenting books, analyzed what our moms did or didn’t do right, bonded with our unborn child and prepared for our new role of mother.

Most men don’t prep for the impending role of father. As they nap on the couch with the ball game on, we read aloud from What to Expect When You’re Expecting and hope osmosis takes place. We will point out the dads at the park or on TV who we feel are doing it “right.”

Our husbands became fathers as we stopped the circulation to their hands as they encouraged us to “push a little harder.” Voila you are a father. Congratulations, here is your newborn, please don’t forget to introduce yourself.  “ Hi, it’s me, dad.”

There is a saying: “Any man can be a father but it takes a special person to be a dad.”

It must be hard to be a dad. We want them to share their emotions but still remain strong. We want empathy, kindness, wisdom, support and stability. We want dad to know all, fix it all and not lose his cool.

We want them to tickle the children yet still lay down the law of our family.  And when it gets a little crazy in the house, we will use their name in threat, “wait ‘til your father gets home.” Sometimes they have to be the bad guy. They like being the good guy, the hero, the prince who saves the children from the screeching witch mother.  

No wonder there was hesitation to make it a national holiday. What man wants to take on a job where their role is constantly evolving and the measure of success is sometimes intangible.

This weekend we will let our husbands go off and play golf or fish. We will prepare their favorite meal. Their children will bring them shirts, ties and homemade gifts. We will honor them for their part in raising the children. 

We will remember how they were willing to change the baby’s diaper when their dads never would. We will listen in the shadows as they soothe the baby with a lullaby or encourage their child who didn’t make the “A” team to keep on trying.  We will be thankful that they left work early to see their child in the school play.  They worked those long hours not to stay away from home but to put food on the table and vacations in our memories. Without all the prep work, they figured out how to be father and a dad.

Let’s celebrate the dads. To my husband who has helped raise four great kids I thank you. To my father-in-law for his love of family and being a great role model to his son and grandsons. To my dad and your memory I carry in my heart.  Happy Father’s Day!

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