It Is Not Cute When I Act Like a Father

Father and Son

You won’t find too many posts in which I rant about fathers being treated unfairly. It is not my focus but it never hurts to remind people that there is nothing cute about acting like a father.

It is not cute when I take my kids to the park or help them with their homework. Nor is it cute when I help them learn how to ride a bike, cook a meal or do anything else that parents do.

The reason it isn’t is simple. I am their father. I am a parent. Fathers are parents. We parent. That is what we do. We aren’t mom with a penis. We are fathers and our role in the lives of our children is invaluable.

It is not a competition. We aren’t trying to take the place of mom nor do we want to be mom. We like being dad. It is a wonderful thing and I am grateful for it.

Don’t misunderstand. I recognize when you are saying that you think it is cute in a complimentary way as opposed to condescending. I don’t get upset over compliments, but sometimes condescending irritates me.

Want to know something else that irritates me? When brands ignore the role and influence of fathers. It is a huge mistake to ignore fathers because we are fifty percent of the equation. We aren’t moms. We shop differently and view the world differently. We have huge amounts of purchasing power.

Do you think that married fathers aren’t involved in discussions about major purchases. Do you really believe that dad doesn’t talk to mom about the appliances as well as traditional male areas like tools, cars and electronics. Do you really think that dads don’t cook.

Have you ever watched any of the cooking shows on television. Ever notices how many of those people are male.

And dammit, ladies when you show up at a men’s room and try to determine if it is safe for your son to visit try to remember that not every man is a pedophile. Some of us won’t answer you when we are fully engaged in our business in a stall. That is as much as I will say about that.

Got to run now because my son forgot his lunch and I need to bring it to him. That is not cute, it is called being a father.

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  1. Zach Rosenberg January 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I think as always that we need to give the good parents good attention, but even more important, give the bad parents A LOT of attention. There are a lot of good moms and dads that feel like they’re being watched at the park or grocery store because they’re engaging with their children. We need to make the bad parents feel like they’re being watched and criticized even MORE, so they know it’s not okay.

  2. Evin Cooper January 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I found my way here via your “swallow” comment on Scary Mommy, and I’m glad I did! I raised my son alone, as a single mom, until he was 5. Every time I saw a dad doing the slightest thing w/ his child, I thought HOW SWEET! And gave any guy LOTS of cred for doing anything with his kids. Now, I have a fully involved partner and THREE kids. It’s a lot easier, in a lot of ways, but a lot harder in others (my word isn’t final anymore! Ugh!) and I’ve learned that it’s not cute when a guy takes his kid to the park, it’s his damn job.

    • Jack January 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Evin,

      Welcome to the blog. Fathers are parents and we should be doing our part. Division of work is a different topic, but the concept is the same.

      Dads are parents and when we feed/clothe/discipline or whatever we are simply doing what parents do.

  3. Christine January 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    So much work to be done here in terms of social expectations and gender stereotypes and GOD the commercials! I want things to be better when (if) my kids have kids.

    • Jack January 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I expect that things should be better in the years to come.

      Dads are pretty involved and while it is possible that this could change I have a hard time seeing that happen.

      We’ll see.

  4. Jay Adams January 8, 2012 at 4:59 am

    thanks for giving us dads a voice on your blog. it’s not some additional duty, it’s what we are and what we do.

  5. Bell January 8, 2012 at 4:48 am

    I don’t get why being a father would be described as “cute.” Seems to be that such an epithet would come from someone who believes the male parenting style is somehow clumsy or inept.

    Like you said, dads aren’t moms with penises.

    • Jack January 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Hi John,

      There are some people who treat us that way. It seems to come primarily from some mothers who seem to believe that they were endowed with a magic vagina that provides them with the ability to be perfect parents.

      Sadly our lack of constant access to the magic makes it impossible to be the perfect parent.

      Maybe that is why we spend so much time trying to get back there.

      That should endear me to a few people. Oops. Hope your weekend was good.

  6. Todd January 8, 2012 at 12:51 am

    I really hate how it is common in society to treat fathers like the “back-up” parent. I’ve recently had to deal with the court system related to my current marriage and our daughter.
    I always judged fathers who bailed on their children but after getting a taste of the courts prejudice against men I can somehow relate, of course I don’t condone it but I now understand it better.

  7. Hajra January 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Hey Jack,

    A voice of all dads… eh? I loved it. I worked part time for a media company when in college and once while they were to shoot a kids diaper ad, I suggested they use a father and a kid for it; all eyes glared at me saying “Oh, please you didn’t just say that”. One “senior media adviser” even said this “how would a family relate to dad’s changing diapers!

    So it’s just a gender bias that plays around in our head. My dad was too busy when we were kids and how me missed him, really. He was only around during the weekends and that made it tough for us in many ways. Now that he has a rocking career, he wants to be there for us, pity that we’ve all grown up!

    It is cute when you act like a dad!

    • Jack January 8, 2012 at 1:09 am

      Hi Hajra,

      I changed plenty of diapers in my time. Wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but we did it because it had to be done.

      There is a fair amount of bias out there, but we don’t have to let it dictate how things go.

  8. Bill Dorman January 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Tell it dad, tell it. I was very active with my two sons and my wife and I definitely had distinct roles.

    Dads definitely have purchasing power; the brands don’t need to neglect that.

    Good stuff sir; enjoyed it.

  9. Jared Karol January 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Well said, Jack. And, what’s just as bad is when people (women usually) refer to the time when the dads are with the kids as “daddy duty.” What the fuck is that? I’m too busy for daddy duty – too busy, like you, being a dad.

    • Jack January 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Hey Jared,

      I don’t know what the hell daddy duty is supposed to be. Most of the time I just ignore that crap, but every now and then I want to just….

  10. Chopperpapa January 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Try being a single dad. They virtually call child services right there in front of you.

  11. Cynthia M January 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Kids need a mom and a dad to help them have a balanced view of world. Moms and dads behave differently, see the world differently, have different expectations of their kids. That’s the way it’s supposed to be; that’s what makes a whole human being. Dads aren’t a nice extra. Dads are essential. You don’t sound like the kind of dad to have ever said you were “babysitting” your kids. That’s my pet daddy peeve. My kids’ dad knew better than to say it, but he probably thought it.

    • Jack January 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Cynthia,

      I think it is great for the kids to see the world through their eyes and their parents.

      We see things differently and offer different gifts/lessons to our children.

      It is part of what makes life interesting. I won’t lie and say that I have never not wanted to watch the kids because we all have moments where we wish we could do something else.

      But those have always been few and far between. 99.9% of the time they are far too much fun to hang out with.

  12. Harleena Singh January 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Well said Jack!

    I feel fathers play a major role in a family, and though some kids may not realize it now due to their age, I am sure they would once they grow up a little.

    It is certainly not easy being a parent, and while mothers do play a major role where kids are concerned, I think fathers can’t be left aside either. Moreover, where both parents are working, I have often seen fathers take the role of both parents!

    And yes, when you are parenting your kids- you are just doing your work- simple as that.

    Thanks for sharing and stopping over to comment 🙂

    • Jack January 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Harleena,

      I want to reiterate that I think your tribute to your father is simply beautiful.

      It is the sort of post that every father hopes to be deserving of.

      • Harleena Singh January 7, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Thanks once again for your kind words Jack 🙂 Yes, my dad was overjoyed to learn that I thought of him worthy enough to write a post on him. I guess parents don’t know their worth 🙂

  13. Janet Callaway January 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Well said, Jack.

    Today I read the most beautiful tribute to a father. How the blogger set it up was terrific. Because I believe you too would appreciate it, I am going to tweet it to you so you can read it. Off to grab the link & tweet it.

    Best wishes for a great weekend. Aloha. Janet

  14. Alan January 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    1) Sorry I haven’t been around in a while. Love the new design.

    2) Lewis CK does a great rant about this very topic, about he was out taking his daughter to lunch and some woman cooed over how cute it was.

    That is the double-edged sword of fatherhood. We get standing O’s for basic competence but no real credit for raising the kids.

    Moms need to step up talking talking about how awesome we are, basically.

    • Jack January 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Hi Alan,

      Thank you. It needs work so there will be a few more changes.

      That double edged sword you mentioned chaps my hide. I suppose that it is obvious.

      Anyway, hope you are doing well and that two kids is 6 times as much fun as one.

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