Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is intended to undermine the hard work performed by SAHMs. In fact, it’s not about you (assuming I’ve captured a large portion of my wife’s audience), it’s about HWDs (that’s Hard Working Dads). If anything I write rubs you the wrong way then you’re overly sensitive. After all, I’ve already acknowledged the difficulties my wife faces as a SAHM and I provided a disclaimer. Get over it.
The expectations placed on Dads have evolved immensely over time. As recently as two generations ago, Dads were expected to act as breadwinners during the day and play disciplinarian at night. Their “free” time usually consisted of lawn work, anything requiring a hammer, or catching up on the news. This was largely the status quo and no one complained. Well, times have changed.
It’s almost 9:00 p.m. and I’m exhausted. My 4-year-old woke me up at 6:24. After giving him a hug, I looked at the clock and immediately felt guilty that I missed my wake up call to hit the gym. Damn, already behind. On the plus side, I was able to give both boys a quick hug before heading to work. I leave them with the same message every day – be a good listener, take care of your family, and have fun. Do those three things and the rest will take care of itself. After a 40 minute commute, I walked into the office minutes before an 8:00 a.m. meeting (once again, behind). The rest of the day was a blur of additional meetings, e-mails, and head-scratching problem solving (I’ll spare you the details). Oh, and 20-minutes for lunch, which I used to call home. The “work” day wrapped up at 6:15, but the real work started when I arrived home. “Dad, let’s go play TEE-BALL!” It’s 95 f’ing degrees out and I haven’t had dinner. “You bet boys, let me grab a quick bite.” Before I eat, however, I rush over to the girls, give them both a kiss (equally of course), and goof off until I get a giggle. The boys run around me in circles while I scarf down dinner and get the day’s report from the wife. Unfortunately, I can only hear every other word because the boys are screaming for me to play, play, PLAY, while at the same time punching me repeatedly in the back (this is, apparently, very funny to the under-5 crowd). Then it’s a quick change of clothes (after taking the girls up for baths and kissing them goodnight) and outside to pitch wiffle balls. After my shirt is soaked with sweat, we head inside for flash cards. A little before 9:00 the boys head to bed. “Dad, are you reading stories tonight?” F. I’m tired, sweaty, and still trying to convince myself I’ll workout. Most nights I do read stories. I ask about their days, blow them kisses, and assure them they’re the best tee-ball players I’ve ever seen. But not tonight, I’m flat beat. My wife takes story time and I walk downstairs as the additional guilt sets in. No stories, really? What’s wrong with you slacker? All they wanted was to hang with Dad. Would 20 more minutes really make a difference? Some day you’ll want those 20 minutes back. Ugh. I should have read stories.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I have wonderful kids, a supportive wife, and a rewarding career. In fact, this post is more indicative of how lucky I am then anything else. The point is to draw some attention to modern day dads, who are often overlooked. It’s not the 1950s. In addition to work, we coach athletics, take part in school, teach life lessons, read stories, give baths, put on pajamas, do the dishes (when the wife has boxing, yoga, or girls night), etc. etc. etc. And you know what, we love it! Most of us enjoy being modern day dads. My father was good at it and his generation laid the groundwork. When we don’t get a chance to do these things we feel guilty. We try to be everywhere all the time. There’s only 24 hours in a day, but modern day dads could use closer to 34.
It’s now 9:53. The Reds lost and I’ve spent my free time writing this post. No working out, which means an extra early morning. But like most modern day dads, I can’t wait to start all over again tomorrow – hopefully with hugs from the boys, because it doesn’t get better than that. To modern day dads, I salute you! Now go get some sleep….
Curious what No. 1 was? See here