Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Solo Mom: To the real dads

Posted March 19, 2013

Stacy Lamb, organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle

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.



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  • quemaster Mar 21, 2013

    I've read this article and the Disney Dad article. I found the Disney Dad one demeaning and sterotyping and I don't appreciate it. I think this was a luke warm attempt at being balanced and it failed. I realize how hard it is to be a parent and I know a LOT of Dads that work equally hard at it, many more so than the female parent. Custody is a complicated process and to penalize a male parent because he doesn't have custody on the weekdays but only gets them every other weekend is just wrong. The courts by default award custody to the mother and most all mothers don't want to share but then want to bash! Further, where are the articles by Dads in this whole section? All these Mom's have articles but you don't invite Dads to participate as regular columnists. Talk about one sided...

  • kschmidt11 Mar 20, 2013

    I enjoyed this article and the comments to follow. My husband is a real dad and a real partner in our family household. We both believe there is no concrete "job description" when it comes to being a mommy or daddy. We both work so we both partake in parenting duties. I believe a child benefits having a loving close relationship with both males and females. A child can never have too much love! :)

  • BaseBallMommy Mar 20, 2013

    Awesome Post!!

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 20, 2013

    Great article. Dads have traditionally been the bread-winners of the family, while moms provided the hands-on parenting. With women in the workplace, the bread-winner side has changed to a more equal partnership - why not the parenting role too?

    If society expected the dads to do this, many would do it. Dads are intimidated by child raising from an early age and quickly lose interest - often due to mothers and grandmothers who'd rather take over than show the patience to teach a man whose never had the experience or training from babysitting as a teen.

    My wife and I take turns on sick days with my son and I've changed my share of diapers in the day. Women needed support when they went out into the workforce 30 years ago, why not men to be the parent the 21st century demands them to be.

  • angelienna Mar 20, 2013

    I am glad to see that you wrote this as I commented on your last post.. I also want to note that this article has alot less comments. Since you focused so much in depth on Disney Dads I would have liked to have seen a discussion on how when there is a REAL dad, that the mom alot of times feels threatened by this and instead of fostering that relationship, tries to dismiss and disrespect it as she wants to be the "ONLY" one who truly knows the child. We constantly get reminded of how much 'better' the mom knows my step son even though DAD is totally involvled in every aspect and we have him 50% of the time. Real dads need some major props for what they do by choice.. they could just be absent but they choose not to be!

  • babbleon Mar 20, 2013

    My husband is a real dad (and I am a rough-house mom). In our 5yo's bout of diarrhea last night, I focused on clean-up while Dad comforted, then Dad made a place for him to sleep (ie, one where the mattress won't get soaked) while I comforted. Today, dad will be taking a day off to snuggle with our son and watch movies, while I do a 'I'm sick and at home, but I'll answer emails and emergencies' day for work.

    It's called partnership, and I am grateful that I found a man who is willing to do it.

  • mlslawter75 Mar 19, 2013

    I totally agree with your statement on children having influence from both parents!!! It makes for a stronger child I believe. Every other week or weekend parenting can be tough on a child, too. There is a re-set button that sometimes has to be switched when a child comes back to your home from that of the other parent. Things are not always going to be done the same way at both houses. A child may/may not understand why both parents have two different ways of doing things.

    I think it would be great if parents of both genders would do the non-stereotypical things you write of. Dads, go to the recitals and the cheer/gymnastics practices and meets. Moms, go to those football games. It can make for a much stronger bond!!