Parenting is stressful. Parenting is full of joys. It takes you to the deepest lows of self-doubt and frustration, as you carry the burden of trying to mold a new human into a functional member of society. It takes you to the highest of highs from the smallest things, like a child who goes a day without an accident, or the feeling of a job-well done when you see your child show kindness to another.
Remarkably, both extremes make me want to eat my feelings, as reward or as comfort. I’m beginning to believe that this is why I am still fat.
How about you?
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to have a chat with Heidi Murkoff, author of the What To Expect series, talking about dads in the media.
Joining us were some other voices in the dad world, including Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld, founders of the NYC Dads group, author, producer and actor Dan Bucatinsky, media consultant and daddy blogger Benjamin Floyd, author and MIT professor Don Unger, teacher and blogger Seth Taylor, and author and cancer fightin’ advocate Jim Higley.
Heidi is a strong advocate for dads, I am happy to say, and it was a great conversation:
I get sent a lot of links to various and sundry incidents where a brand has stepped over the line when it comes to their depiction of fatherhood. Believe it or not, I post about very few of them.
But today a new article on the official Clorox webpage entitled “6 Mistakes New Dads Make” [*Update: It has now been pulled, but here’s a Google cache version*] was brought to my attention, and I just can’t stay quiet about it.
It starts off with a bang:
Saying ‘No-no’ is not just for baby. Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well. Here are a few dangerous no-nos new Dads might make, and some training tips.
No, you did not read that wrong.
Clorox — or some poor social media intern who, at this point used to work for Clorox — actually wrote those words. Dads are like dogs. Well-meaning, but dumb and unable to complete basic tasks.
One must be cautious when looking for examples of good fatherhood in popular culture. Whether it’s the bumbling dad stereotype that has prevailed until recently, or the near-perfect Father Knows Best image that reigned for a little while before that, neither ever reflected reality.
And so, when you see a show like Game of Thrones — which I love, incidentally — where so much time is taken to develop characters beyond the black-and-white, good-and-bad, hero-and-villain extremes that are so prevalent, it’s refreshing. But it also means that even the good guys make mistakes, and the bad guys are sometimes sympathetic.
One major lesson that I think is very clear from the show — and the books on which the show is based — is just how much a father can influence, for good or ill, his children and their future. It’s like one big cautionary tale for fathers. Honestly, the last time a show featured so many people with “daddy issues” was Lost, I think.
Sadly, there are very, very few examples of good fathers within the world of the Song of Ice and Fire, and many, many bad ones…
It’s Father’s Day, 2013, and I write this as I’m sitting cross-legged the floor in my boys’ room, chubby fingers Swyping away on the keyboard of my phone. I sit here because it’s nap-time, and leaving the room before I know both boys are fast asleep is a great way to increase the chances that I’ll come to check on them later and discover the lights on, and various bits of monkey-business afoot.
So far Tucker is the clear winner of the “race” to see who can fall asleep first — the genetic tendency towards competitiveness that they get from their Mama put to good use — but Coltrane stubbornly hangs on to consciousness. I may be sitting here a while.
I’ve written a guest post over on Life of Dad! Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve been shaving my head regularly for about 14 years now. Most people I know other than long-time friends and family have no idea what I look like with hair, in fact, unless I’ve specifically brought out old photos from my Hall of Shame.
The Bowl Cut. The Martin Prince. The Ponytail. And worst of all, The Mullet.
All were terrible in their own way, with the plentiful-but-light-as-a-feather hair that I inherited from my mom just not really good for much without out far more fuss and goop than I was willing to manage.
And so one day in 1999 I decided to bite the bullet and shave my head. A friend came over and helped me buzz it down, and then I took a razor to it. There was some learning curve involved, but I’ve never looked back or regretted it.
[NOTE: I made the mistake of shaving my head for the first time in February, while living in Calgary, Alberta, where the average high is 0°C (or 32°F). I would not recommend this unless you have already purchased some very warm head-wear.]
When I became a dad — particularly a full-time stay-at-home dad — my shiny bald head turned out to hold several advantages for me…
The post on Life of Dad was sponsored by AVEENO® Active Natural Men, who gave me a great excuse to shave my head again and again and again.
Nicely done, Oral-B, with your new Power of Dad ad!
I hope you’ll consider making this an ongoing campaign rather than just a Father’s Day thing. We dads need to clean our teeth the rest of the year too!