Last month, I wrote about Disney Dad - the mostly absent father who isn’t actually raising children, but tries to win their affection with extravagance “every other weekend.”
This is the guy who makes life difficult for the real dads out there. So, this month, I want to speak up on behalf of the real dads in my life and everywhere.
Sometimes, it seems, we don’t give the real dads the chance they deserve. We often assume that “mom knows best.” Now, don’t get me wrong, maternal instinct is real, and any decent mother would do anything for the betterment of her children - but why do we assume a good father wouldn’t do the same?
A dad can raise kids too, as long as we accept that they may do it differently than us moms. And what’s wrong with that? This is precisely why we are wired to seek companionship before children - so those children can have the influence of both male and female adults. This is one of the reasons I believe it’s important for single parents to have friends of both genders, and one of the great ways I found support in Single Parents of the Triangle.
Stereotypically, mom is the caregiver and dad is the guy who roughhouses with the kids. But I know plenty of men who gently tend to a sick child, or teach their kids to cook from scratch, or drive to endless soccer practices, or sit watching yet another dance rehearsal.
And, hey, I wrestle with my kids, take them hiking and rock climbing - we even built a treehouse and a zipline in the backyard! So who says everyone fits the stereotype?
To all the Real Dads out there - thank you. Know that, despite our frustrations with Disney Dad, we do realize you’re not all like him. And you’re doing great things for your children, and your friends’ children too!
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.