Last year at this time I wrote about how fathers don’t really deserve to have an entire day all for them. Just because they contributed an equal amount of DNA, I argued, does not mean that they do an equal amount of work, which therefore does not entitle them to an equal amount of hours in which to be honored. But this year I’d like to take a different approach to Father’s Day. This year, I’d like to feel sorry for my husband, or, as I’ve taken to calling him, Poor Old Dad.
As much as I complain about how hard it is to be the mommy, and as much as I threaten to change my name if someone yells out the word mommy one more friggin’ time, I really wouldn’t want to be a daddy. Because when you think about it, being a daddy kind of sucks. I mean, yeah, it’s nice to be able to leave the house without your kids throwing a massive, hysterical tantrum and wrapping their arms around your legs so that you can’t walk, but then again, when you leave the house, your kids don’t throw massive, hysterical tantrums and wrap their arms around your legs so that you can’t walk. That’s got to hurt, at least a little bit. And when my husband gets home from work at the end of the day, my kids are usually exhausted and flopped on the couch, engrossed in Hi-5 or High School Musical, and they can barely pull themselves away long enough to even say hello. Sometimes they hardly even glance at him. And of course, we can’t forget about the out and out snubs that dads get from their kids on a regular basis. If somebody is hurt, or upset, or if someone got their hair pulled or got whomped on the head by a certain two year-old who shall remain nameless, there is no consolation to be had from daddy. It’s like a scene from a movie, every single time. Poor Michael stands there with a sympathetic look on his face, his arms open, his shoulder just begging to be cried on, and my kids scream mommy and walk right past him like he’s just a daddy statue or something. Like he doesn’t even exist. Or how about this one: at bedtime, my husband and I alternate putting the kids to bed. One night I do Harper and he does Davis, and the next we switch. But every night one thing is the same. Whoever’s turn it is for daddy cries because it’s not their turn for mommy. That’s gotta’ hurt, too. And more than a little bit. Sometimes, when he’s really feeling down, my poor husband asks me if I think they even love him at all. Of course they do, I tell him, they love you so much. But I don’t tell him that when my daughter goes to bed at night, she whispers to me that she loves me THIS much, but only loves daddy this much. I tell her to keep that between us, and my heart aches for him.
It’s not like the poor guy doesn’t try. He spends entire weekends with them, he does bath time and bedtime just about every single night, he picks them up from school a few times a week and he comes to every school play and soccer game and dance recital. I don’t know what it’s about really. Maybe it’s that I spend more time with them, or maybe it’s just a mommy thing that happens when they’re little. But as much as I feel for him, and as much as I envy the guilt-free, carefree life that he gets to lead, I wouldn’t want to be him. Maybe I will in another ten years or so, when my kids hate me and daddy is the only one who understands, but right now, I dig being mommy. And so this year, I guess I’ve got to give fathers their entire day. Maybe they haven’t earned it the way that we mommies have, but I can’t help feeling that it’s just not right to knock ‘em when they’re already down.