It's a Dad Life: Father's Day Video

For your Father’s Day pleasure…

And, as always, I know your guy would love it if you picked up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex…for Father’s Day!

Now go cuddle with your guy!

It's a Dad Life

Saw this at church this morning, and thought it was too good not to share! Watch it with your man on this Father’s Day.

Women Have it Good

Father's Day Necktie Cookiephoto © 2007 Dean Michaud | more info (via: Wylio)

 

 

Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here’s this week’s!

Father’s Day is upon us, so it’s time to thank Dad by emptying stores of ugly ties and the occasional fishing lure.

Now I have to admit that sometimes the females of our species are guilty of approaching this day with a little bit of derision. Just look at how easy he’s got it! Women are the ones who really do everything; men may work at their jobs, but they spend the rest of their lives trying to get out of labour. They’re the lucky sex.

Not so fast. If we women were honest, I think we’d admit that we’re the more fortunate gender. After all, in countless things in life women are allowed to have it both ways. We can decide we want a high powered career. If we put our kids in day care, men can’t complain, because that would be sexist. But we can also choose to stay home with the kids, telling the guys, “it’s your job to support me.” If a man were to say, “I think I’ll quit my job and stay at home and you can support me,” he wouldn’t get patted on the back. He’d get suspicous looks from strangers and potentially divorce papers from his wife.

We tell men they’re not allowed to treat us as sex objects, because that’s sexist, but we’re also allowed to wear whatever we want, and they’re not supposed to look—unless we want them to.

At school, we girls can bicker and insult each other, but if we shy away from actually throwing a punch, people don’t question our bravery. If a guy were to refuse to stand up to a bully, though, he’d be labelled “a girl”.

Women can cry at movies, at good byes, at births, at deaths, and even at slivers being removed, and everyone just passes the Kleenex. If a man cries, people giggle and back away slowly.

If we want to make friends with kids on the block, people think that we’re saintly. If men want to, people assume they’re perverts.

If a guy has difficulty putting a roast beef dinner together or dressing the kids in clothes that match, women are allowed to laugh at him. But no guy is allowed to laugh at a woman who doesn’t know how to change the oil in her car.

When a crisis hits, like a basement flood or a dispute with contractors, she can always pass the buck to him to deal with it. But he can’t pass the buck to anyone.

If a man is grumpy, we lambaste him for it. If a woman is grumpy, she has a “get out of moodiness” free card she can play, no matter what the time of the month. And if a guy challenges her on it, then she can whip out the “I went through labour because of you” trump card. Then he’s toast.

Do women have it bad? Of course we do. We’ve got PMS and pain and superwoman syndrome and pressure to be a size 4 and soccer practice and hot flashes. But let’s not pretend that we’re alone in our suffering. We can be moody, we can be demanding, and far too often we can even be condescending. So on this day, let’s acknowledge that men do indeed have it rough. And as much as we may complain about men, our lives would be awfully empty without them. This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate him for being a guy, whether he’s a brother, a son, a father, or a husband. After all, guys really do deserve our gratitude.

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Father's Day: To My Fathers

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I have a strange family when it comes to fathers. I wrote about it in last year’s Father’s Day column, and I thought I’d reprint it here:

When I think of Dad, I think of belly laughs, and smiles, and choked back tears. I think of a proud grandfather, a fiercely loyal parent, a family man.

I think of a man who loves hockey but who loves his grand-daughters, too. I picture a man who is proud that his children have outpaced him in learning, if not always in common sense. I see a man who might worry about the practical side of life—health, money, or jobs—but not about family or friends, because he knows they are rock solid. And they are rock solid because he is. And though he may make fun of Mom and me talking clothes, or cooking, or gardening, or my daughters laughing about toys or dresses or flowers, he is secretly pleased that so much estrogen surrounds him.

Girls, you see, were once a rarity in his life. I was his first daughter, but he only inherited me at his oldest son’s wedding. And though he is not genetically my father, when I hear the word Dad, his is the face that comes to my mind.

Father’s Day, which must have been created by Hallmark and the people who make fishing poles, was my least favourite holiday as a child. I didn’t live anywhere near my father, so how could I celebrate him?

My relationship with my biological father has always revolved around heredity. Like many who should have a relationship but don’t, he is often trying to establish a connection, and the only one that exists is genetic. When I demonstrate some of his traits, he’s tickled pink. He can claim pride because he can claim me as his daughter. Now I do know that he wishes things could have been different, and that he does genuinely love me. But it is love at a distance.

This genetic type of love is valuable in its own way and I am grateful for it, but it is very different from parental affection, which is what I feel with Dad. As a child, it is what you desperately need, and when I looked around for it, I found it in my uncle. He wasn’t genetically related to me, either, but he did care for me, and fuss over me like a dad should whenever I gave my heart away to an undeserving boy. He picked up the phone to dispense advice or provide a listening ear when I needed it.

He walked through adolescence with me, delivered the “father of the bride” toast at my wedding, and made baby faces at my daughters. When Katie was two, though, I wrote him a good-bye letter, because the cancer had come back. In that letter I had the chance to tell him how much he had meant to me. And I told him that when I arrive in heaven one day, God will call him over and say, “Art, here is your daughter.” He was the father figure of my youth.

I will celebrate one more father this Father’s Day: the only father I actually chose. He’s the man I’m thrilled is the father of my children: a dad who is loving, and kind, and generous, and a true partner to me. Because of him, Father’s Day is finally a big production in my life.

It is difficult as a little girl not to have a Daddy that she is close to. And yet, as I’ve matured I’ve realized that many men have played that fatherly role, showing me what it means to be loved, affirmed, protected, and cared for. I have the genetic father, to whom I owe many of my gifts, as well as my lack of propensity to gain weight, for which I am eternally grateful. I have the father of my childhood, who is not here to celebrate except in memory. I have grandfathers who were wonderful to me. I have Dad, who delights over me today, and not only because he trusts me to pick the right nursing home one day. And I have my husband. And so I no longer dread Father’s Day. It takes me on a walk through memory lane, and I’m really quite grateful for those I have.

Here’s “my” dad and me in Alaska last summer. Keith and I took his parents up there for their 40th anniversary:

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Father Cravings

Every Friday my syndicated column appears in newspapers around Canada. Here’s this week’s, on fathers. It becomes hard, after seven years, to keep thinking up new things to say about holidays!:

A century ago, Sigmund Freud posited that women suffered from an envy of a certain part of male anatomy. Personally, I think Freud may have had an inflated sense of the importance of this body part, because I have never entertained even a fleeting thought of possessing such a thing.

I can understand women in Freud’s day, though, eschewing their own sex in favour of the other, since women back then couldn’t pursue their dreams very easily. But today women are no longer denigrated in the career sphere; men, on the other hand, are frequently denigrated in the domestic sphere. They’re the brunt of all kinds of jokes about their ineptitude when it comes to relationships. Fifty years ago the popular image of a dad was Ward Cleaver. Today it’s Homer Simpson. We praise and revere mothers; we laugh at dads. The tables have turned.

Think about it: on Mother’s Day, we wrap ourselves inside out trying to say thank you to mom. In fact, Mother’s Day, not Christmas, is the day when the long distance lines buzz the most. Of course, many dads have failed miserably at their parenting role. For every woman raising a child alone there is a man who has not lived up to his responsibilities.

But by trying to break the stigma of single parenting, we’ve also inadvertently said that fatherhood doesn’t matter. We don’t want any single mom to feel badly, or any child to feel like they’re missing something, so we loudly declare that children will be fine with a mom. They don’t need a Daddy; they just need someone to love them.

Forgive me, but I think that’s stupid. Children are programmed to need both parents, and those parents are not interchangeable. In general, psychologists tell us that children get their sense of love and security from their mothers, but they get their sense of identity and purpose from their fathers. It is the mother who nurtures, but it is the father who launches the child out of the nest.
That doesn’t mean that all children without dads will have identity complexes. I grew up without a dad, and I overcame. But I also know that my childhood lacked something. My children, who have both parents, are doing much better than I did at their age.

Recently my kids and I ventured to the Toronto Zoo, where we saw father-craving firsthand. A 10-year-old orang-utan kept swinging upside down, over his father’s head, so that he could periodically swat dad or pull his hair. The father responded by swatting back, but rarely by looking at his offspring. The mom would snuggle with him, but he still wanted the dad’s attention.

The mandrills did the same thing. The baby jumped on all the other mandrills, cuddled with mom, and bugged his siblings. But he would sneak up to dad, waiting to see how close he could get before dad would react. When he came within arm’s reach, the dad would jerk, and the baby would scamper away. He, too, wanted dad to acknowledge him. This father craving has been built in, even to animals.

It reminds me of children on a diving board, yelling, “Watch me, Dad!” We moms can love kids, and hug them, and affirm them, but they’ll still want dad.

This Father’s Day, let’s treat the dads who are active in our lives with the same respect and gratitude that we treat the moms. They aren’t just extra additions to the family; they’re central to the child’s well-being. So to all the dads out there who are watching soccer games, reading stories, helping with homework, and hugging a baby, thank you. You are needed, you are appreciated, and I wish you a wonderful day!

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On Fathers

'2009 Father's Day' photo (c) 2009, mbaylor - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a variety of papers across Canada and the United States. Here’s this week’s column, On Fathers:

When I think of Dad, I think of belly laughs, and smiles, and choked back tears. I think of a proud grandfather, a fiercely loyal parent, a family man.

I think of a man who loves hockey but who loves his grand-daughters, too. I picture a man who is proud that his children have outpaced him in learning, if not always in common sense. I see a man who might worry about the practical side of life—health, money, or jobs—but not about family or friends, because he knows they are rock solid. And they are rock solid because he is. And though he may make fun of Mom and me talking clothes, or cooking, or gardening, or my daughters laughing about toys or dresses or flowers, he is secretly pleased that so much estrogen surrounds him.

Girls, you see, were once a rarity in his life. I was his first daughter, but he only inherited me at his oldest son’s wedding. And though he is not genetically my father, when I hear the word Dad, his is the face that comes to my mind.

Father’s Day, which must have been created by Hallmark and the people who make fishing poles, was my least favourite holiday as a child. I didn’t live anywhere near my father, so how could I celebrate him?

My relationship with my biological father has always revolved around heredity. Like many who should have a relationship but don’t, he is often trying to establish a connection, and the only one that exists is genetic. When I demonstrate some of his traits, he’s tickled pink. He can claim pride because he can claim me as his daughter. Now I do know that he wishes things could have been different, and that he does genuinely love me. But it is love at a distance.

This genetic type of love is valuable in its own way and I am grateful for it, but it is very different from parental affection, which is what I feel with Dad. As a child, it is what you desperately need, and when I looked around for it, I found it in my uncle. He wasn’t genetically related to me, either, but he did care for me, and fuss over me like a dad should whenever I gave my heart away to an undeserving boy. He picked up the phone to dispense advice or provide a listening ear when I needed it.

He walked through adolescence with me, delivered the “father of the bride” toast at my wedding, and made baby faces at my daughters. When Katie was two, though, I wrote him a good-bye letter, because the cancer had come back. In that letter I had the chance to tell him how much he had meant to me. And I told him that when I arrive in heaven one day, God will call him over and say, “Art, here is your daughter.” He was the father figure of my youth.

I will celebrate one more father this Father’s Day: the only father I actually chose. He’s the man I’m thrilled is the father of my children: a dad who is loving, and kind, and generous, and a true partner to me. Because of him, Father’s Day is finally a big production in my life.

It is difficult as a little girl not to have a Daddy that she is close to. And yet, as I’ve matured I’ve realized that many men have played that fatherly role, showing me what it means to be loved, affirmed, protected, and cared for. I have the genetic father, to whom I owe many of my gifts, as well as my lack of propensity to gain weight, for which I am eternally grateful. I have the father of my childhood, who is not here to celebrate except in memory. I have grandfathers who were wonderful to me. I have Dad, who delights over me today, and not only because he trusts me to pick the right nursing home one day. And I have my husband. And so I no longer dread Father’s Day. It takes me on a walk through memory lane, and I’m really quite grateful for those I have.

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