Never call me an “involved dad”
When my daughter was born I got this once a week, usually when I was carrying her or giving her a bottle.
“You’re such an involved dad,” some woman would invariably tell me.
Really? What kind of 1955 world do you live in where dads sit back and drink scotch while the womenfolk take care of “his children”?
What kind of jackass would I be if I took a totally hands-off approach to my daughter? I mean, it may work for certain celebrities, but in the real world, that’s a great way to screw up a kid and my relationship with her.
Incidentally if you DO live in that world I feel immensely sorry for you and there’s probably an discussion you need to have.
I’m not involved. I’m her dad.
I’m not babysitting
I get this constantly when it’s just me and my daughter.
“Oh, you’ve got babysitting duty today, huh?”
No, it’s called “parenting” and I kind of do it all the time. Again, this implies dads don’t do a damn thing but pat their kids on the head as they’re being sent up to bed.
My wife and I are in this together. Kids are too tough to put on just one person. It takes everything you’ve got to do it right, and half the time you still screw something up.
Besides, “babysitting” implies that at some point I get to go home, alone, without the kid. That never happens.
Shocker: I change diapers! (Because I’m an involved dad…see above)
So do millions of other dads every single day. In fact, there are some kids who only HAVE dads. So, business owners, why the Hell would you not have a changing table in the Men’s restroom?
I don’t pawn off the diaper changing duty to my wife, but nothing irritates both of us more than me coming back out of the bathroom at a restaurant, diaper unchanged, because there was nowhere to do it.
I’m not asking for marble countertops and silk changing pads. But, while we’re at it…
Clean the tables
…would it kill anyone to wipe down the changing table once in a while?
I’ve been in many a restroom where I’ve bailed on the idea of changing a diaper because it’s MORE disgusting to put my daughter on that plastic table.
I clean up after myself when I’m done using it, I don’t think it’s a stretch to ask other parents to do the same or to even include it as a cleaning duty for the employees.
Don’t glare at me
I see you glaring at me when my kid cries. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, so suck it up, Buttercup.
Sometimes kids cry because it’s sunny and they wanted rain. Sometimes they hurt themselves and actually have a reason. Sometimes they just cry.
So rest assured, I’m doing whatever I know how to do to calm her down. And if we’re on a plane, I can’t exactly take her outside, so we’re both going to be annoyed for a little while. Glaring at me takes “annoying” and turns it into “rage”.
Incidentally, if you’re lucky enough to sit in front of my daughter on a plane, you’re going to be kicked. The only consolation I can offer is that we’ll probably buy you a drink and apologize.
I’m not an expert
While I appreciate newer parents asking me things, I have a confession: I’m mostly making my answers up out of thin air.
I may have been doing this parenting thing for slightly longer than a parent with a three month old, and I do have a few tricks I came by, but I don’t know a damn thing.
I’ll be the first to admit that too. What worked for my kid may not (probably won’t) work for yours. Feel free to try whatever I tell you, but know in the back of your head that I still have no idea what makes my daughter cry half the time, I can’t get her to keep her shoes on in the car after two years of trying, and she still eats crayons.
And I’m the involved dad.