I can’t cook. I don’t cry. I’m always dirty. Ok… Just quit. I might be a guy/man/dad, but most dads are far from the stereotype. And I don’t know about my fellow dad compadres, but 75% of my daily dadness is used up when trying to avoid being included in these awful categories of dad characteristics. And honestly, it’s getting annoying. We aren’t your dads of yesteryear.
I watch Duck Dynasty. I do. I’m sorry. But that’s beside the point. Nothing pains the men of Duck Commander more than when they disappoint their father. Now, you may be saying, “Of course. No one WANTS do disappoint their parents.” Hold on. These are gun toting, meat eating, God lovin’ men who want nothing more than to grow a beard and walk the woods. Meaning, they don’t cry, they don’t do yoga, they don’t watch The Notebook and they most certainly do not eat sushi. Traits instilled upon them during their upbringing. However, in one episode, one son, Willie, goes to Yoga with his wife in order to try and start a new with his health regimen. His father finds out and Willie is immediately ridiculed and labeled a “Yuppy” (Hippy maybe? Who cares).
OK, now wait. Let us break this down. Willie is, how do you say, gravitationally challenged. He’s a little over weight and could stand to lose a few pounds to better his health, let’s say, for his family. And let us also just say that his wife is… beautiful, stunning even. Now, I know that my wife is gorgeous, and if she invited me to yoga, I would be there in a heartbeat. What I’m getting at is twofold. One: I don’t want my wife to be unhappy with me and my physicality. I want to be able to enjoy myself with her both emotionally and physically. So being in shape is obviously to our benefit. Being able to play with my son and not get winded is something I cherish. Bust most importantly, I want to live to see my children grow and live life with them. So, work out! Be healthy! Do yoga if you have to. My second point: If my wife invites me to yoga, I know with good certainty that she’ll probably wear yoga pants… Need I say more?
With some work, I hope that the days of trying to be a tough guy, manly, grunting, brute are soon far behind us. I’m not a great cook, but I can follow a recipe. I don’t cry, but I know that having emotions is important. I know how to fix things and get dirty, but I like to clean my house. I don’t know which clothes should be washed in cold or warm water, but I know that doing laundry makes my wife happy. I know that my son needs discipline, but I’ll watch Handy Manny any day of the week. Its things like these that are frustrating to show. It’s a constant battle to distance ourselves from our roughneck, blue collar, military style father stereotype. I’m not saying they were bad. I’m just saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Like, maybe we don’t skin that cat. Maybe we keep the cat, give it a bed, a home, and call him Skittles.
I’m exhausted. Being a dad in 2015 is hard. Or should I say role model. I want my kid to love sports. I want him to get dirty with me. I want him to love being a boy with me. I loved being a boy. Scraped knees. Bloody noses. Grass stained pants and all night camping trips by the creek. But these days, to be a well-rounded individual, he has to know himself. He has to know that it’s ok to be emotional. If you don’t get a little heavy hearted when Jim and Pam kiss for the first time, then shut up. This article isn’t for you. But with the masculine stereotypes that us new dads are having to live with or overcome, it’s hard to instill in our boys just what it means to be a man in today’s world. Yes, be strong, protect your family, do everything in your power to protect those you love, “but don’t you cry. Dry those tears up.” We need to stop teaching our boys that the only way to live is by the hammer. We need to stop teaching them that being in touch with your feminine side doesn’t make you weak, but that it makes you stronger. It makes you powerful. It makes you sexy to the ladies J. But seriously, let’s stop.
I don’t want my son to think of me as the authority figure. I want him to think of his parents as the authority figure. I want him to bake cookies and cuddle his mommy, and I want him to work in the garage and cuddle his daddy. I want all this and more for my son. But most of all, I want him to have a father that knows himself and isn’t afraid to be emotional and do yoga, but also knows how to change the oil on his truck. It’s a constant battle. To stay in touch with your emotions and masculinity at the same time. But we’re doing it. We’re a bunch of cry babies who know how to fix a truck. And that’s ok.