We dads don’t always just stumble through life like TV fathers do.

Well, we do stumble. There’s no doubt about that. Often, we get through because we’re fathers better than if we were just men.

Machisimo aside, we have to know when to be strong, and when to be sensitive. We mess this up a lot. We dads have to know when we can actually help our kids when they really need it, and we have to recognize those times when accepting help is as manly as it gets.

I had to become the patriarch of my own family in my 30s when my dad lost his battle with Leukemia at age 49.

There are times, though, when I swear his presence is felt. I love that. Only one of my girls ever met my dad, but he lives on in all three. And in me.

Sometimes, being a good dad is being a good dad to those who aren’t even your kids. Even if no one notices, even if it isn’t apparent in the moment, it’s good karma. And you never know who might be learning a lesson by your actions.

And you’ll definitely learn a little from those you think you’re here to teach. A dad has to know when to sit back and observe.

And to know his place.

It’s often not easy. This world presents its fair share of perils to the alpha male and his cubs. Some threats are huge and unexpected; other threats are silent, coming from places a father can only put his heart and soul into protecting against.

There are no report cards for dads, and every day, if you look at it that way, will be filled with failures and a series of wrong plays called.

But when the final whistle sounds, no matter what, I feel like I’ve done something right. That the universe looks upon me a little more favorably as a dad, than when I was just a dude. Because becoming a dad to three girls has taught me more about being a man than anything I’ve ever experienced.

34 Replies to “Fatherhood”

  1. All too often, TV shows depict fathers as clueless dolts, getting into as much trouble as the kids. Always bugs me, because most of the dads I know aren’t like that, my husband included. I can’t imagine where my teen sons would be without their father. So here’s my thanks to all you fathers out there who actively invest in your kids’ lives. They are better for it!

    Thanks for visiting my site. 🙂

    1. The fall of the dad is well-documented. We’re losing our power in the home as the authority figure, and respect in life as a caricature of ourselves.

      Now, I’ve been hearing we’re to blame for the fall of the boy. We’re just not fathering our sons right. As father to only girls, I can’t exactly speak to that, but we are under fire, we dads.

      We will soldier on, though, somewhere between cavemen and doormat.

      Visiting your site was one of the best things I did this weekend. Glad to know you, Carrie.

    1. Thank you so much – just visiting your site today I see that you’re made of some pretty great dad material too, my friend. I’m very impressed with your work, and look forward to reading more.

      Best to you and yours, too.

  2. I don’t know if I mentioned it to you Eli, the reason why men/fathers are parodied on TV advertisements especially, is because women in the 18/35 group are the ones who do nearly all the buying. Therefore they are the target audience for the advertisers. If they were shown the same way men are they’d probably stay away in droves.

      1. I watched a makeup ad this morning and it shows Dad an executive type, (is there any other job on adverts?)coming home from work all tired out. the female voice over is taking the piss out of him, “poor man, a hard day at work.” Then a vibrant, healthy stress free woman waltzes in, carrying a toddler, groceries and smiling. Voice over, “Women wouldn’t know about hard work would they?” What a slap in the face for all those men (Dads) that work their guts out in hard jobs day after day. A stay at home mum can organise her day however she wants. Rant over.

  3. Your outlook on Fatherhood is refreshing to read. I know that more men are becoming more active as parents and want to be a good roll model for their own children and as you pointed out, for other children too.

    Parenting is hard for both men and women and unfortunately it is usually the women that take on the brunt of the child rearing responsibilities, even though men are equally up to the job. Hopefully your blog is setting a good example to Fathers all over the world and is encouraging men to be proud Fathers too.

    1. Thank you Deb! Fatherhood has changed a bit, but I think the biggest way is in the ways we realize we can have an impact.

      You’re right – we moms and dads have to do it together. This fatherhood stuff is the most important work we will do as men. We can’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

  4. I needed that. It’s so easy to see it from the Mama point of view but so important to lift my head out of the proverbial sand and see the world from another angle. And I totally agree that we are parents to others beyond our own, and that our fathers’ love and care (and in my case, his inappropriate sense of humor) follow us wherever we go. Blog on, brave Papa.

    1. Thanks Jen. And it’s tough to look up for either of us, because we kind of have our hands full, don’t we? When my kids misbehave, I get on them, then I recognize myself! So, it turns to one of those proud moments.

      Thanks Jen – I’m glad I found your blog!

  5. I still find it amazing how much I have learned since becoming a dad. And it’s not so much that Dad’s are losing power in the household as it is becoming equals with the moms. I’m seeing more depictions of dads doing the “girls” responsibilities at home while the moms go to work.

    1. We’re teachers, but definitely still students, Eric, and fatherhood reveals us, I believe.

      The Dad Struggle looks so different in different places. We struggle to shed the buffoon label at times, and often we accept low expectations from society and even our own families.

      I’m still seeing dad as a bumbling sidekick and extra sibling in a lot of ways, Eric. Let’s do our best.

      1. Between the two of us (and a few friends) we can change that, I think. I know I have surprised a few people by doing things not expected of me as a dad. I’m guessing you have too.

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