If Father’s Day and Mother’s Day threw down in a commercialized holiday ultimate fighting championship, Mother’s Day would serve up a knock out win, hands down. Using the greeting card aisle as the litmus test, mothers are honored for selflessness and beauty while fathers are honored for farting and grilling. Mothers are pampered and fathers are mocked in a time where Y chromosomes are stepping up and into the parenting arena like never before. What used to be touted as novel, hands-on fathering is now just considered: being a dad.
Here we are in the middle of viral posts and best-selling theories about how to have it all, do more with less, and bend over backwards transcending physics to prove we can truly be in two (or five) places at once without anyone suffering. But one of the major accomplishments of our generation is the blurring of gender roles in child rearing. How can we celebrate what women are doing in the workplace without honoring what men are doing at home? Al Bundy didn’t cook a meal or clear a plate and now if Daddy isn’t changing diapers you better believe he’s getting the stare down. Fatherhood.gov (in addition to producing the most adorable PSA on the planet) reports that almost 90% of today’s dads spend more time with their children than their own fathers did with them. Being a dad, more importantly being an involved dad is, dare I say it–trending.
Dads are working from home, staying at home, job-sharing, babywearing, and homeschooling. Today’s dads are in the picture, elbow deep in spit up and science projects. They are bathing children while we clean up dinner, quoting sleep books and Disney movies without skipping a beat. And in doing so, everyone is winning. Kids are loved, mothers are supported, and dads are building lasting, meaningful relationships with their children.
My husband’s job is incredibly stressful but the moment he steps foot in the door, he is a Daddy. He leaves it all behind, scoops up our kids, and showers them with love. The first thing out of his mouth every night is, “How can I help?” Without a second to decompress, he has a 3-year-old hanging from his hip bombarding him with questions. The man is a human jungle gym and has his precious jewels kneed, poked, and slammed more times than I can count.
My son hangs on his Daddy’s words like stars in the sky. Riding in the car he says, “Look Mama, the United States flag. If you use your owl eyes you can see them everywhere.”
I’ve never talked about the flag with my 3-year-old. I never thought to. But unbeknownst to me his Daddy did. Daddy taught him about the state of Idaho, how to change a drill bit, and to always tell your mama she looks beautiful and that dinner is delicious.
Our family explored a street festival last weekend and I watched as the two of them approached a lemonade vendor. My husband crouched down presenting his wallet to our son. He opened the billfold and pulled out the money, displaying it in his hand. I watched him point to the pictures on the money and then to the numbers in the corner of each bill. My son chose two one dollar bills and handed them proudly to the gentleman in exchange for his drink. He beamed with pride, “I bought us lemonade!”
The moments that my children have with their father are organic and needed. My husband parents in ways that don’t even occur to me and if he followed my every instruction on how to care for our kids, they would miss out on lessons I’d forgotten to teach. He fills gaps in my parenting that I didn’t know existed. Being able to look across the dinner table at someone sharing the responsibility of these two tiny humans and know that even if we’re flying by the seat of our pants, we’re doing our best and we’re doing it together is an amazing thing.
I’m insanely attracted to my husband when I see him being a Daddy. When I watch him calmly talk my son through a tantrum I feel closer to him than ever before. I married a man who I thought would make a good dad, but my husband’s love and devotion to our children has exceeded my expectations and left me breathless. Our hearts have softened and the simultaneous joy and agony of parenthood connects the two of us forever like tin can telephones. From him my sons will learn to be practical and strong, humble and curious. I can teach them about prayer, but they will learn to be Godly men by watching him.
My husband deserves more than grilling utensils and fart jokes, because in having him as a partner and father to my children, I truly have everything I’ve always wanted.
Happy Father’s Day to every dad out there–wiping noses is incredibly sexy. Keep it up!