February 28, 2011 by David Gillaspie
Did your kids show up the usual way?
Did you adopt?
Are you a surrogate of some kind?
No matter how you ended up with kids in the picture, know this: if you are the older male figure, you are The Daddy.
Whether you have one kid or a dozen you are The Daddy.
If you are the biological father then you’ve seen the mother/child bonding after birth and wondered “What do I do now?”
You have several options ranging from go-fer to mother and child, to building a wall between you and them.
Start with the go-fer role.
If you did that before birth, carry on. The father who gains forty pounds of baby weight along with the mother might be taking it too far, but who’s to say.
It’s not better or worse than the man who opts for the empathy belly.
Would you rather be fat and carry it everywhere, or be caught with this in your closet? A Big and Tall Store is easier to find than your self-respect, but do what’s best for the group.
Does the new mom want her feet rubbed? Do it.
Does she want her shoulders massaged? Get with it.
Does she want you to run to the store for a box of Kotex and a breast pump???
Now is not the time to turn squeamish. You went to birth class. You were in the delivery room and didn’t pass out. You can buy the over-nite pads and the pump, just be sure to snag a six-pack of PBR. Even if you don’t drink, it’ll balance the load.
Building a wall between you and your new family is on the other extreme. Chances are you’re building it with things mason’s don’t use. You’re not bringing in the back-hoe to excavate before pouring footings. You’re not going cinder block, re-bar, and mortar.
The Daddy who builds a real wall has construction skills; the one who builds the emo-wall has problems.
DG’s B&B is here to help.
- If you had a rotten childhood straight out of Dickens, don’t pass it on. No one needs that for any birthday.
- Do you feel you got the wrong kid from the hospital? Don’t wait until you think your kid is old enough to understand before telling them. Don’t ever tell them.
- Did you want a girl and got a boy, or the other way around? If you’re a jack-ass it won’t matter in the long run, either one will hate you as much as the other.
- Did you have unfulfilled dreams before kids? Don’t blame them, make them a part of the dream.
- Did you have kids with the wrong person? She’s the right person now, and so’s your kid. Embrace them.
- Have relatives started ignoring you and keeping a distance? Focus on your new family, not extended family. A ten foot pole works both ways.
- You don’t have time for your family? Fine, just know they won’t have time for you later.
In 1974, singer/songwriter Harry Chapin wrote a song based on a poem by his wife Sandy. It is a parenting guide if there ever was one.
Cat’s in the Cradle
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”
My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”
Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?”
I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then
If you feel a little sad, or shed a tear, don’t worry Daddy, make it right.
By David Gillaspie