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Old 06-18-2006, 09:26 AM   #1
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Today's "Do It All" Dads

This article made me think-for the dads here, are you a do-it-all dad? What kind of dad do you think you are, and what kind do you endeavor and aspire to be? Are you purposefully and intentionally different from the way your father was? How did/does your father affect your parenting? How do you define the roles of mother and father?

For the "non dads"- if you want to be a dad one day what kind of dad do you want to be? How do you define the roles of mother and father? How will you be the same/different from your dad?

I always longed for the kind of dad described in this article, I never had it. "Do it all" for me also has to be combined with demonstrative love and emotional support and all that other great stuff. Perhaps sometimes when you do have that kind of dad you take it for granted, because when you don't it begins to affect you later in life in ways you can't even imagine.

By Beverly Beckham, Boston Globe Columnist | June 18, 2006

We watch them and are amazed. They are like the Internet and Velcro and DVD players and cellphones, everyday staples that weren't even imagined when we were young.

My husband and I gawk. ``Unbelievable," he says. ``Fascinating," I add. Different, we say, and agree that this time different is, indeed, better. It's a few days before Father's Day, and we are watching our sons-in-law father. We are watching them make lunch, change diapers, read stories, give baths, sing lullabies, tuck their children into bed, clean up, load the dishwasher, and unload the dryer.

We have been watching them, one for three years, the other for two, do things that our fathers never did: Comfort their children in the middle of the night, take them to doctor's appointments and for walks; take them to the post office, the bank, the grocery store. Play with them: dolls and trains, blocks and peek-a-boo, and even dress up. Read to them. And sing to them.

``You never did these things," I say to my husband. And he shakes his head and says, ``I know."

His father never did them, either. No father we knew did them.

My husband's father was British born and strict. He kept a cane stick, part of a Kewpie doll carnival toy, at the kitchen table next to him. And when little elbows weren't where they were supposed to be, or little arms reached across the table in lieu of, ``Would you pass the butter, please," the stick was used. Just a tap on the hand, but so out of synch with today.

He had a band when he was young and he continued to sing his entire life, in the church choir, with the barber shoppers, at parties and whenever he had a chance.

But he never sang a lullaby to his children. Fathers didn't used to sing lullabies.

``When I was a little kid, a father was like the light in the refrigerator. Every house had one, but no one really knew what either of them did once the door was shut," columnist Erma Bombeck wrote about fathers of that generation. They had specific roles. They were breadwinners, disciplinarians, and kings of their castles. They went to work, came home, ate dinner, asked about school, said ``Help your mother with the dishes," then disappeared again, to wash the car, to cut the grass, to fix, to build, to do -- their attention and energy given to doing, not to just being with children.

They didn't know the names of their children's teachers. They didn't help with homework. They didn't take time off in the middle of a workday to go to their child's school for a concert or a field day or to eat chicken kabobs in the school cafeteria. And they certainly didn't cart their babies everywhere or stay home and play with them while their wives went out with friends for an evening.

My father was a bit of an anomaly. He cooked my dinners on the nights my mother worked and he ironed my school uniform and played games with me: War and cribbage and Monopoly.

But he didn't do all the things my mother did.

He taught me to ride a bike, but it was my mother who bandaged my knees when I fell off. He took me to horror movies, but it was my mother I cried for when I couldn't sleep because of them. He rescued me so many times, ``Dad, can you? Will you?" And he always did. But it was always my mother I ran to when I got home.

My grandbabies run to their mothers AND their fathers.

``It's amazing, isn't it?" I say to my husband, a man who has never changed a diaper in his life.

Amazing and different and great. Sensor lights, caller ID, TiVo, and today's fathers.

We wonder how we lived without them. And we're grateful that we don't have to anymore.
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:42 AM   #2
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How amazingly healthy.
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Old 06-18-2006, 06:04 PM   #3
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Well, I personally think that currently in society we are storing up problems for the future with our obsessions with career advancement and the pressures on both parents to work- the 'latch-key kids' syndrome.

I think that in modern society, we are very quick to judge and criticize the standards of earlier societies without necessarily appreciating the whole picture.
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Old 06-18-2006, 06:25 PM   #4
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My dad was one of those old school fathers. He did play a larger role in my day-to-day upbringing than he did for my siblings, both 10+ years older than I am, but nothing close to the extent of the younger fathers mentioned in the above article. He wasn't the most demonstrative man in the world, but, I always felt safe, protected, and loved by him. As I reached my late teens, I was able to see and really appreciate the subtle things he would do and say to show that I mattered.

Things probably are better now, as far as shared childcaring, due to the necessity of most mothers working outside the home these days, but that shouldn't diminish the positive impact that earlier generations of good fathers had on us.
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Old 06-18-2006, 11:03 PM   #5
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My husband is an awsome dad. He can pick up righ where I leave off. He's hands on do all when it comes to the kids. He is right there with me with discipline, school, sports etc. And is still way manly....
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Today's "Do It All" Dads

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
... They had specific roles...
And this is one of the theories as to why today's families haven't learned to evolve or adapt as progression (?) changes our lives. right or wrong, it is worth a look at.



Has Erma Bombeck written books or something? Her name is awfully familiar. I recall it from old sociology classes.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: Re: Today's "Do It All" Dads

Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem

Has Erma Bombeck written books or something?
Yes she has
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:55 AM   #8
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My dad worked very hard to support us. When I was very young, my mom didn't work. As I got older though, she began working as well. I remember as a kid the nights that Mom would work, and Dad would take care of my sister and me. Lots of macaroni and cheese with hot dog bits...and toasted cheese sandwiches...and we would play card games and build Lego towers so high that they would hit the ceiling.



On the weekends, the neighborhood kids would come over, and Dad would play games with us. One day when we were playing football, he slipped in the grass and accidentally did the splits......and Mom informed us he was done playing for the day. In the winter, he would snowblow us a sledding hill, make us an ice skating rink in the yard, and help us build snowforts.

He would struggle to brush the tangles out of my extremely long hair...trying not to make me cry...and then struggle just as much to put my hair a ponytail. He often had a hard time with the elastic bands...but he always managed to get it done.

One of my favorite things was "cuddle time". At night when he sat on the couch, I'd grab a pillow and put it up against him, and I'd lay down. Mom came one night to find we had fallen asleep like that:



He would read us stories at bedtime. We would tell him that we wanted him to read the whole thing to us, and after he made certain that's what we really wanted, he would read us the whole thing...including the copyright information.

He always helped me with homework. In middle school, I competed in spelling bees, and we would practice words for hours. There were nights he would be so tired that by the time I finished spelling a word, he would have fallen asleep where he sat. But we kept plugging away.

My dad was amazing...he still is.

One of the reasons I don't want to have kids is that I always felt that I would want to give my kids an even better life than my parents gave me...and I honestly don't think I could.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:56 AM   #9
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^ great post. your dad must be as proud of you as you are of him.
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:11 PM   #10
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Thank you MrsSpringsteen for a refreshing article on fatherhood. In television programming aimed at children, dads are often portrayed as buffoons, uncool, out of touch or uninterested in the daily lives of their children.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bonochick
My dad worked very hard to support us. When I was very young, my mom didn't work. As I got older though, she began working as well. I remember as a kid the nights that Mom would work, and Dad would take care of my sister and me. Lots of macaroni and cheese with hot dog bits...and toasted cheese sandwiches...and we would play card games and build Lego towers so high that they would hit the ceiling.



On the weekends, the neighborhood kids would come over, and Dad would play games with us. One day when we were playing football, he slipped in the grass and accidentally did the splits......and Mom informed us he was done playing for the day. In the winter, he would snowblow us a sledding hill, make us an ice skating rink in the yard, and help us build snowforts.

He would struggle to brush the tangles out of my extremely long hair...trying not to make me cry...and then struggle just as much to put my hair a ponytail. He often had a hard time with the elastic bands...but he always managed to get it done.

One of my favorite things was "cuddle time". At night when he sat on the couch, I'd grab a pillow and put it up against him, and I'd lay down. Mom came one night to find we had fallen asleep like that:



He would read us stories at bedtime. We would tell him that we wanted him to read the whole thing to us, and after he made certain that's what we really wanted, he would read us the whole thing...including the copyright information.

He always helped me with homework. In middle school, I competed in spelling bees, and we would practice words for hours. There were nights he would be so tired that by the time I finished spelling a word, he would have fallen asleep where he sat. But we kept plugging away.

My dad was amazing...he still is.

One of the reasons I don't want to have kids is that I always felt that I would want to give my kids an even better life than my parents gave me...and I honestly don't think I could.


Your Dad sounds wonderful. Appreciate him everyday! You are truly blessed.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Thank you MrsSpringsteen for a refreshing article on fatherhood
Well thanks, but how do you answer the questions?

No dads/future dads here want to answer them?
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Well thanks, but how do you answer the questions?
I am intentionally different in how I father compared to my own Dad in that I try to take what my father did and improve on it.

My own dad worked very hard to support us, which meant a lot of travel. He only travelled for work, meaning he did not engage in his own hobbies or pursuits, though he did enjoy his evening cocktail or two (or three).

Some of the things I intentionally do differently include: (i) do not abdicate the marriage for parenthood (I am a husband before a father - the kids know that a strong marriage makes better paents), and (ii) have a weekly one-on-one outing with each of my children (a Wednesday breakfast with my son and a Friday date night with my daughter).

I do not see the position of "Father" as a role, but more of an irreplaceable influence. I never saw a task as a "mother's task". I continue to counsel prospective Dads on things like diaper changing (which can be some of the best one-on-one, face to face time with an infant).
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:43 AM   #14
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Thanks for the answer Doug, honestly I can't believe any dads still don't change diapers I definitely agree, there is no such thing as something strictly a "mother's task". I definitely saw in my parents how destructive that can be, for the parents and for the kids. It should be a true partnership, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says a guy is a good dad because he "helps" with ____.
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:58 AM   #15
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The male role as husband and father are impacted by the career decisions made, which goes beyond the role of primary "bread winner" for a family. (this is not exclusive, obviously, but it reflects long standing traditions and the patterns today) The 18 years you have a child at home are often the same years that one can climb the career ladder most efficiently. I say this living in an area where there are plenty of wealthy families (in terms of $$) who are also poor families (in terms of family relations).
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