All dads are not created equal. Some are created when their wife or girlfriend gives birth to their child, or when the adoption comes though, and sometimes when they marry into an existing family. There are many different ways you can find yourself in the position of a parent. It’s what you do next that defines you. Are you going to be the “Father”, the “Dad” or the “Glorified Babysitter”?
This is the type of parent I think I had growing up most of the time. My father was strict and all about the rules. This is the man who lays down the law. The “Heavy” of the family, he’s the “Enforcer” A.K.A. the man who makes you a man. This is the guy who makes you buy all your own clothes when you get your first job (for me that was McDonald’s at 15 years old). The pro to this type of parent is that through tough love, he’s making you a productive, hard-working/contributing member of society. Unfortunately this could come at the cost of a loving father/son relationship. I speak from experience as I have many traits of my father, and I find I have a valuable place in my community yet we butt heads every time we are in contact.
This is the type of parent that can be awesome. He’s the guy who bends the rules, who lets you go outside without a coat on when it’s chilly, and the one who lets you eat left over birthday cake for breakfast. He’s your friend and he has ALL the fun with you. The pros to this type, is always having a best friend when you need him. He’s always there being silly and playing video games or rough housing with you, even though mom gets mad sometimes. Unfortunately, this could come at the price of your partners’ sanity. If you’re the one having all the fun and bending all the rules, then you partner must be the “stick-in-the-mud” because let’s face it, someone has to be. On a more serious note, if you are a full-time “Dad” type, then you may appear as more of an adversary to your partner than an actual teammate when it comes to raising your brood. The last thing your significant other needs is a man/child to raise alongside their kids.
The Glorified Babysitter
This one makes me a little sad. This is the one who’s around but not really there. Physically he’s there because legally you have to have an adult with your child at all times, but he’s so absorbed in other things, that he’s missing out. He’s the guy at the park on his smart phone the ENTIRE time. He’s the one not paying attention while his kid gets into mischief in the hopes to garner some attention (good or bad). Now, I’m not going to pretend I don’t use my iPhone in the presence of my boys, but it’s moderate, and if I’m at the park it’s only to take pictures or video of them. I always felt guilty taking pictures of my son at the park and messaging them to his mom when we she went back to work after Maternity leave. I was always concerned someone would look at me and think I was just the Glorified Babysitter, when in reality I was sending pictures and not checking out social media. In hindsight, I guess it’s best to take the pictures, but wait for some down time to send them.
One time I had an encounter with a Glorified Babysitter and it truly made me angry. I was at work and we took our Fire truck to the Community “Fun Fair” as requested, to show off the truck and tools to the kids. I always love this event every year because the kids are so psyched to see us. It’s those events that make up for the terrible times on the job. I remember I was sitting in the back and letting the kids try on the helmets and check out the flashlights etc. and there was a dad standing by the door. He was asking his son something, but he didn’t look up from his blackberry once. His son just ignored him, and I remember his dad motioning to me and saying “See, we pay the salaries of these guys so they have to come here and show us their truck”. His son again ignored him and his ‘dad’ says to me “I just don’t get it, my son absolutely hates me.” It took everything in me to bite my tongue as I was in uniform and my opinion on the matter would not have been what this guy wanted to hear. Maybe your son hates you because you ignore him for the more important people in your phone, you Asshat!
What other types of dads are out there? Which dad are you? Well, the best part is that you can be any dad you want to be. In fact, the best dad is a combination of all three of the ones I’ve listed (Even the Glorified Babysitter). Sometimes your kids need that firm ruler, remember these are your kids first and your friends second. Other times, they need an adult to wrestle with them and sneak chocolate chip cookies when mom isn’t looking. Finally, they need their space. Sometimes all they need is a ride somewhere and they would prefer it if you were to keep yourself busy (Whether it’s with your smartphone or reading a book) than to hover over them, such as the Helicopter Parent. It really doesn’t matter what type of dad you’ve been up until this point. You get to be whoever you want to be. If you feel like you’ve been too much of one type and not enough of another, you can change that. Every morning you wake up, you get decide who you want to be and how you want to be viewed by your little one. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you and your kids can learn from them.
If you take anything from this article today, let it be this. We have the ability to be whoever we want to be and be viewed however we want to be, every single day. You, and only you, are in control of yourself.
Keep Your Head Up and Your Nuts Covered