Is it just me or does everyone think good dads deserve more praise?
Dads come in all shapes and sizes, they can be biological, step, foster, grand or even surrogate. Good dads make us feel strong and confident, we bask in their praise and they are the first person we think of, immediately after we do something stupid.
I had a great dad. He died when I was 19 and I have missed him every day. He was a pretty modern dad, he loved to cook and when my mum went to work part time, when I was two, he took me to work in his truck. Mum says I used to come home with a very wet nappy some days, but Daddy Daycare was rare in the 1970’s, so he was a man ahead of his time.
To be clear, my mum did absolutely everything in our house but Dad was very present. He helped with homework and generally knew what we needed, even if he couldn’t find it. He could buy tampons and talk about boys but he never made a bed and where mum was hiding the tea towels remained a mystery until the day he died.
I think the 1970’s transformed dads and by the time I had my kids in the 90’s men were unrecognisable.
Modern dads are very familiar with ‘it’s your turn’. It’s your turn to change a nappy. It’s your turn to cook dinner. It’s not your turn but can you please, please, please iron my dress?
Most men can handle all these tasks, in fact they’re quite good at them. They might not enjoy them but hell neither do the rest of us.
Traitorous as this feels to my dad, I think this generation of men are better parents than their own fathers. Their hands are dirtier and they are more emotionally connected. Some of the conversations my girls have with John would make their grandfathers’ ears curl up and fall off.
In this brave new world Dads still have to be heroes in a crisis, they have to drag accident victims from burning cars, carry their best friend’s coffins and still change tyres for stranded women.
On the flip side, they have to accept that no one listens to them anymore, they no longer get the big steak, the good chair or the first shower. They definitely don’t get to choose the TV channel yet they are still required to be a lending centre, on call for late night pick ups and willing to lift heavy things.
By and large dads have risen to the challenge. Of course that means they have reaped the reward of being closer to their kids, but it was a steep learning curve and a job well done.
So wish your dad a happy day from me and let him have the big steak for dinner.