Hey Dads. I haven’t been an astute observer of generation-after-generation for very long, but I’ve listened to my fair share of mothers and their mothers and their mothers, and can we talk about how gosh darn hard you have to work these days? Many of you get up when it’s still dark, and you roll out of bed and shower and try to tiptoe out of the house so the littles don’t wake up, and sometimes you grab a granola bar or something before you leave, because last time you made a hot breakfast of eggs and sausage the dishes were too loud when they hit the sink and your wife sent you a “Shush, don’t wake the baby!” text from the bedroom. And then you drive 20 minutes to the office, or the hospital, or the fire station, or the classroom and you brew some mediocre coffee and check your email, overflowing with names of people who need you for something. All urgent, of course.
You spend your day emailing and calling and scheduling meetings and then attending said meetings where you schedule another meeting to talk about scheduling more meetings, and then – poof – it’s lunch time. Your wife has texted you twice – (1) Can you pick up milk on the way home? and (2) Don’t be late; the Parsons are coming for dinner at 6 – and you realize you forgot to call your mom on her birthday last week. You call, apologizing between quick bites of break room bagels and then get a head start on your afternoon work load so you can jet home to your frenzied wife, who will undoubtedly pass the baby off to you the moment you walk in the door because (a) she’s exhausted and (b) she’s got to prep the lasagna for the Parsons.
You knock off the rest of your to do list in a fog and sneak out of the office by 5, forgetting the milk, then remembering the milk, then receiving another text from your wife in line at the grocery – Where are you? Garbage disposal is shot – help! – before you speed home just in time to see the Parsons’ car in the driveway and receive “The Look” from your wife while she passes the salt. After the Parsons leave, you’re on dish duty or bath duty – wife’s pick – and then you read a few bedtime stories, kiss a few cheeks and head back out to the kitchen to roll up your cuffs and fix the garbage disposal, quietly, so you don’t wake the kids.
Did I get it right? Are you as exhausted as it sounds?
Motherhood is hard, for sure, and stay-at-home parenting is no walk in the park. But man dads (and really, all working parents), you sure do pull out all the stops. Many of you are mowing the lawn and bathing the kids and making the money and the expectations just seem to be overflowing as quickly as the trash can that you take out every other Tuesday. You want to be a dad that’s present and engaged and loved and respected, so you clock in hour after hour with no complaints because society expects it now. It’s the norm.
It seems that dads are no longer coming home, pouring themselves a stiff drink and reading the afternoon paper. They’re cutting the chicken and coaching the soccer team and texting the boss from the cereal aisle. And Dads, we see it.
We’re watching as you landscape on the weekends while your friends are toasting on the golf greens. We’re hearing as you cheer from the sidelines while your inbox is piling up. We’re listening as you read Clifford for the 8th time in a row while you’re decompressing from the day’s events.
We see you and we hear you, and we appreciate you. Here’s wishing you a weekend of sleeping in, hot bacon and whatever the heck you want to do with your time. Pour that drink. Read that paper. Golf those greens. You deserve it.
(Can you pick up milk on the way home?)