My husband took three of our children to the local shopping centre and bought lunch in the food court recently. Sitting opposite him were three elderly ladies, in their late seventies. They watched on as he organised the boy’s food, helped to open their drinks and then sat down and ate lunch himself.
At the end of their meal, the ladies made their way over to his table and said:
“Excuse us, but we just had to tell you, seeing as you’re a dad and all, that it is so nice to see you in control of your three sons in a public space.”
But here’s what Jason heard:
“Excuse us, but we just had to let you know that we thought it was a miracle that you were able to coordinate two activities at once. We know that men are absolutely useless at multi-tasking, but you managed to not only control your sons from running riot around the area, but keep them seated and eat their lunch as well.”
He smiled through gritted teeth.
Then they said: “It’s great to see how well behaved your boys are. Please pass onto your wife that she’s done an excellent job.”
This is what he heard:
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s clearly all your wife’s doing because you, as a man, are probably busy getting drunk at the pub with your mates, watching footy and cricket, belching, farting and incinerating steaks on the barbeque. None of your son’s good behaviour could possibly be attributed to your limited participation in their lives. Your wife must be an angel to put up with you.”
He smiled and thanked them for their insight, and promise to pass their compliments onto me, which he did, in a voice significantly higher than usual.
Of course I am happy to take half of the credit for our boy’s good behaviour. But credit where credit is due – and the other half is owed to Jason. Like most modern dads, he’s an active participant in their lives every day and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s wiped bums, been vomited on, snotted on and done his fair share of resettling teething children in the middle of the night. He’s an awesome dad and I love that he is such a positive role model for our boys. My wish is that they will be just as awesome when it is their turn to be a dad, (although hopefully not for a really, really long time!)
I took the boys to the same food court today for lunch. The same kids at the same food court. I even left the two older boys to their own devices while I got lunch for the third. They were perfectly behaved in my absence, although I figure that chowing down on meaty pork ribs and chips was the main reason for this. They had been in the swimming pool all morning and were famished by lunch time.
And did I get any compliments? Did anyone come up to me to tell me how well my husband has brought up our children? No. Not one person. I got a few approving smiles from the grand-dads in the area, but that was probably more to do with the mini skirt I was wearing than my mode of parenting. I can’t turn the head of a twenty-something anymore, so unfortunately, I have to take whatever comes my way to boost my mothered ego.
So, what’s the moral of this story? It seems to be that if a person has a penis then it is assumed that he is mildly retarded when it comes to being a parent. It is both fortunate and miraculous if he is able to bring the same amount of children home from any outing, and he should be awarded a medal of honour if he manages to bring home the same children that he took out in the first place, i.e. he hasn’t lost one and picked up a stray along the way just to make up the numbers.
Dads do things differently – but differently is not necessarily wrong. It’s just different. So what if he picks up the dropped ice-cream and brushes the dirt off it before handing it back to a heart broken kid instead of throwing it out because it has germs on it. I’m just glad he wants to take our kids out for an ice-cream in the first place. Thanks to all the men who are great dads and husbands. May your sock and jock drawer runneth over each Father’s day.