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Jun 17 2011

Affirmative Action for Dads

By at 12:09 pm

Editor: Can you help promote Neal Pollack’s father’s day post?
Editor: on the Facebook and Twitter
Matthue:
oh no when is fathers’ day?
Editor:
this sunday, daddy-o

Okay, I was SO ON TOP of Mothers’ Day. We’re talking breakfast in bed, presents up the wazoo, distracting activities planned, and a little special something for after the kids went to sleep (yep, I scored us a copy of the unaired Buffy: The Animated Series pilot). Now that I’m a father, I (a) know the value of spoiling and flattering the woman who pushed my own next-of-kin out through her uterus, and (b) I appreciate all the tzuris that I gave my own mother when I was a kid. And a teenager. And a rebellious twentysomething living in San Francisco and dating pagan rock musicians. And, uh, when we came to visit last week.

But Father’s Day?! In our household, Fathers’ Day always seemed like a bit of a joke. At least, it has for the three years that we’ve had kids. I seem to remember one year, my wife let me sleep in? Except that I had to be up by 7:30 anyway to pray on time. And I do make a big deal out of trying to be an equal-opportunity parent, but the fact is, when I’m out of the house each week for 50 of the kids’ waking hours, there’s only so much ground I can cover.

Fathers’ Day feels like an affirmative-action holiday. As though someone was flipping through the official calendar records, going “Mothers’ Day? Check. Grandparents’ Day? Check. Secretaries’ Day? Check. Fathers? Fathers? Sperm donors? Uh, fathers who?” I’m reminded of Kwanzaa-bot from Futurama, who flies a sled through the air and gives kids a picture book called What the Hell Is Kwanzaa? Yeah: fathers get shafted. And, by my scorecard, it’s more or less deservingly so.

Having said that, I fully anticipate an all-out breakfast with hash browns and tofu scramble, a Jackson Pollack-esque card or two from my favorite avant-garde babies, a day at the park, and even a gift or two (this book looks awesome, for instance) (and did I mention that my birthday is a week after Fathers’ Day?). Why? I don’t have to answer that if you’ve ever made an art project with a 3-year-old or a 1-year-old before — because the most fun is in the process. And because, with two little kids, we need an excuse like this to force ourselves out of the house (packing food, nappies, water bottles, extra clothes, sunscreen, toys, and remembering to get all of us fully dressed). But mostly because any reason to party should be fully embraced…whether you remember in advance or not.


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