There’s a running joke in our family with the punch line, “I’m just the dad” [accompanied by the small smiled head shake]. Kids only want to snuggle with mom before bed? “I’m just the dad”. Dad works insane hours to pay for college, but mom gets the thanks for the support? “I’m just the dad”. Kids call to check in, and they just want to talk to mom? “I’m just the dad”.
When circumstances and timing are just right, it’s produced quite a few chuckles. As parents we all have those moments when our kids unintentionally under-appreciate us, but my problem with the joke is that today’s dads are anything but “just the dad”.
Listen to any of your grandmothers tell stories about their children’s births or what their responsibilities were when their children were young. You know what I’m talking about. Times were different. Many dads weren’t allowed to be in the delivery room when their children were born. Many didn’t change a single diaper. Dad’s focus was on providing for the family, and mom’s was raising the children. Not to say dads weren’t rock stars back then too, but with different expectations, culture, and opportunities, things were just… different.
Today’s dads, however, keep adding to their polished fatherhood resume. There’s nothing they are scared to do, nothing they can’t figure out, and nothing they aren’t a part of. They are involved in every facet of their children’s lives, and bring such a powerful presence to their parenting team. These modern day dads are severely underrated, and need to be celebrated and supported just like moms are. They deserve it, and they’ve earned it.
If you aren’t sure who I’m talking about, they are easy to spot. They are the dads that walk in the door after work, take off their shoes, and run straight to the playroom to help build a block tower. Its the dad that stayed up late on a Wednesday putting together a crib or dresser for the nursery without being asked. The dad that takes his baby out for errands by himself because “he’s got this”. They are the dads the kill it in the bedtime routine game, and then head downstairs to help pick up the kitchen before bed. The dads that are active participants in discipline and teaching life’s hard lessons. They are the dads that take the time to teach: mowing a lawn, how to read, tying shoes, or how to be a good friend. They are the dads that have the burning ache in their heart when they’re away from their children, because to them, there is no greater joy than watching their children grow and being in their presence.
Being a dad today is no easy task, and thanks to my growing Momtourage I was able to put together a collection of pictures that finish illustrating what my words can’t. To all those rock star dads out there – you’ve got a huge fan base over here. Keep up the good work!
This is what modern day fatherhood looks like. Enjoy!
To the dads whose immense pride is worn on their face from the very beginning
To the dads who make baby wearing look like it’s the coolest thing you can do with your child
To the dads who take bedtime, middle of the night, feeding, and diapering duties seriously
To the dads whose kisses and cuddles are tender enough to heal all
To the dads with a sense of humor, who don’t mind getting silly, and love having FUN
To the dads who understand the value of reading with their children
To the dads who ROCK the joint nap
To the dads who have passed the fatherhood rite of passage by carrying their children on their shoulders
To the dads who are present, in the moment, and on their level
To the dads who teach, lead, mentor, and understand that the little moments are actually the big moments
And as if today’s dads weren’t doing enough, the real beauty comes as a product of their example – raising boys who learn from early on what it means to take care of others and be incredible fathers themselves one day.