Just before my third torts’ class in my first semester at law school, I got the highly anticipated call that my then wife was in labor. Torts is the law governing accidents and personal injuries, so I was a bit excited to be in a hospital, like the real ambulance chasers I was reading about... was I going to see some accidental sponge left in a patient or perhaps something juicy like out of Grey's Anatomy where a plane crashed and the doors of the hospital were being thrust open by paramedics with dismembered men and women where I could pass out my newly printed law student cards and tell them about negligence theory and the duty of care a doctor should provide their patients... I digress. However, I was much more excited because of the whole dad thing! It was happening: I was going to become a dad.
I gathered my books and belongings together and headed to the hospital. Hours later everything in my world changed. I became a father. It was like, POOF: Welcome to the rest of your life! Life gained greater purpose. An immediate weight was placed on my shoulders to protect this newborn, coupled with an immediate love previously unknown. I spent many late nights studying while soothing a crying baby. I learned about contracts and cradles, torts and teething, motions and midnight feedings.
Now, several years later, I am a single dad to TWO amazing kiddos, both under the age 5. I also miraculously passed law school with these two kiddos. (I think that when parents graduate school they should get a speicla diploma, and have their students debt eadicated, but my State Sentor won't return my calls). So basically I'm greying about as fast as I am loosing hair. Kids are a wonderful challenge. My little nuggets have become my best friends. We have our weekly routines and our little traditions that make all of us all the more sure that we were meant to be a family unit together.
One Saturday morning a few months back, while doing some grocery shopping with my kids, a nice lady wearing a ladybug broach at the checkout made the following comment, "Oh, I just love seeing dads babysit their kids! Good for you." I did say anything to her about the offense her comment could have caused. Instead I smiled and said, "Ya, these are actually my kiddos, so I get to be their dad fulltime!" She furrowed her eyebrow as though she didn't understand, and asked if I needed any stamps or ice. I don't blame her to be honest. I mean, she was wearing a knit sweater in July. But dads aren't immediately thought of when we say "parent" are they?! We see TV dads who are goofs or out of touch or someone kids fear. We rarely see GOOD dads represented in the media. Something has to change. Something needs to be more HONEST.
It was this exchange that highlighted to me a problem: dads are not thought of as parents, but more as breadwinners and disciplinarians than stewards of the tiny ships in their harbor. Most dads are thought of temporary figures who take the kids on the weekends to have fun, or are the heavy hand when they come home from a long day at work. But we don't really look at dads with their kids and readily accept that they are just as necessary in the child's life as the mother is. I reject this notion with every ounce of my slightly stout body! Dads are more than that. We have to be more than that. We GET to be more than that. That's why I started The Daily Dad: to help encouage and educated engaged dads everywhere. The only way we're going to change the stigma about dads, is to help highlight the amazing dads out there.
So here we are- well you're here on the site and probably wondering what you'll have for dinner as soon as you finish reading this never-ending post. I suggest mac and cheese because it's pretty much delicious and also in the pantry. I hope what you'll find here is perspective about parenting that is refreshing, perhaps a little encouraging, and definitely challenging the antiquated stereotypes of what a dad is or should be!