What can many new parents expect in the next 13 years? A quaran-teen!
Dad jokes aside, Father’s Day 2020 is going to be a little different this year. With constant fluctuations of what’s open and available outside of our homes, Father’s Day will be a different experience for many of us.
Being A Dad in 2020
I’ve been a dad now for 6 years and it has been one of the best things to happen to me. Along with many other fathers in the 21st century, I wanted to be more involved in raising my kid than past generations. I want to bring more balance to the parenting load and break the antiquated notions of the traditional family responsibilities.
Unfortunately, society still tends to see a father as the butt of a joke (which is maybe why we tend to make our own horrible ones) when it comes to parenting. This can be seen in many sitcoms or commercials with the clueless dad, reading through some greeting cards at a store, or even with the passing mention of a father “babysitting” the kids. I get it. Culturally, us dads still have a lot of work to do.
I’m not babysitting—I’m a father and I’m parenting!
I’ve also had personal experiences in which I was side-eyed by the moms at the park like I’m some sort of predator while my son and I were playing together. Or another time in which I’m treated like a threat when interacting with another child who was asking for my help. I also get this. Men don’t have the prettiest historical track record when it comes to their relationship with kids.
Even with the most inspired of intentions to be an amazing father and perfect parenting partner, it’s easy to feel culturally discouraged. Between the societal depictions and my personal experiences (in which I am not alone after talking with other dads), it can be hard to put your head up and ignore the judgment while spending some quality time with your kid. After all, I’m not babysitting—I’m a father and I’m parenting!
Quarantine Has Made Me A Better Father and Husband
Many of us are trying hard to be great people as well as exceptional dads. We miss the mark sometimes, but that doesn’t make us lesser parents. Ironically, the COVID-19 crisis has actually helped me be a better dad and a better partner in the past few months.
Prior to quarantine, I needed to leave my house at least an hour and 15 minutes early to get to work on time. Because, well, traffic. That’s about 2 hours of driving every day. Shockingly, I don’t miss that. My wife’s job allows her more flexibility, so she’s been the one to pick my son up from school and generally spend more time with him. This had a positive impact on their relationship and conversely, it had a negative impact on my relationship with him. At age 5, transitions are tough. He wasn’t as bonded with me and preferred to go to mom for everything—for questions, or just personal time.
As quarantine has gone on, I’ve been home, and therefore around a lot more than before. I’m still working, but I’m much closer to my son—both physically and emotionally. Sure, mom still gets a lot of attention but I am being requested a lot more, which takes some parenting load off of my wife.
There have been times where he wanted to go on a walk around the block with just me or he and I created stories with Legos or his Imaginext toys (DC meets Marvel). We put on costumes and pretend to be his favorites superheroes or Sonic the Hedgehog characters. And I’ve cherished every second of it.
The quarantine has its downs, but the required physical closeness has allowed me to be closer to my son in many more ways. It has helped to foster the relationship between us more and create a stronger bond. He sees his daddy working, playing, doing the dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning more—which is good for setting the example of an equal partnership in marriage and parenting and to continue that generational change.
What Does a Dad Want on Father’s Day During Quarantine?
No two dads are alike. I’ll be thrilled to spend the day with my family—enjoying a delicious comfort meal such as a suizo chicken burrito with some Mexican rice and sauteed veggies, and playing games together, like Clue Jr or a rousing competition of Mario Party on the Nintendo Switch. That’s my ideal Father’s Day and one that this quarantine thankfully cannot change.
What I can say is that most dads want to be known as a good father, a good partner, and an important figure in our child’s life. There’s a lot of work for us to do in order to shift the culture on that topic. So I’m going to accept a gift for myself for Father’s Day—the gift of gained perspective.
What quarantine has taught me so far is that I’m often caught up in my daily life and the tasks that I think demand my time and attention. It’s been important fo me to step back and realize that there are many parts in the family dynamic and that if I take some time to slow down and make myself more present, my relationships grow. I can be more of a father that cares and invests his time to improve my relationships across the board—from my marriage to my parent-child bond.
No matter how you’re celebrating, remember that being a dad is an important piece to any child’s life. You offer perspectives, advice, and different approaches to daily experiences that benefit your kid’s life decisions and personality. Stay healthy, enjoy your day, and enjoy a Happy Father’s Day to all of us enjoying our day of recognition and perspective!