Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For Father's Day, all I want you to do is give it, give it …

Father's Day is coming up and, ladies, you know what we want.

We want it in the morning, in the afternoon and in the sweet, sweet evening.

Up and down. Front and back. Bedroom and kitchen.

Respect. That's right. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

(Yeah, we want the other thing, too. Stop complaining to your other girlfriends about that. Worry when we stop begging you for something-something.)

Today's dads are more involved in parenting and home life than ever, not that we get much credit for it in the mainstream media, as Fellow At-home Sperm Donor Rebel Dad notes. Instead, we get insightful loads of Eisenhower-era stereotypes from Women's Health "magazine." I'm canceling my subscription, by the way.

That kind of parental insignificance must have annoyed me even before I was snipping Thing 1's umbilical cord -- still the freakiest moment of my life, BTW. I found this out when I recently dug out my grade school report cards. They are in a special "report card" book my parents kept and on the back of each year's page is a multiple-choice section called "When I Grow Up I Want To Be."

The list for girls starts with "Mother" (it also includes airline hostess and secretary -- this was bought in the early '70s), but there was no counterpart in the boys' list.

So, each year, in the fill-in-the-blank section, I scribbled in "Dad." And each year, I dutifully chose "Baseball Player."

I get partial credit, right?

Dads are the Paul McCartneys of the parenting duo. Sure, we add nice bass lines and melodies to the mix but all the credit for substance goes to John Lennon. I contend that neither one's solo work is up to par with the best stuff they did together. "Some Time in New York City" -- dreck! "Ebony and Ivory" -- porcelain god visit in 5, 4, 3, 2 ...

We can work it out, people -- starting now:

Lazy, stereotyping media mavens -- let's make it about the importance of "parenting" this year rather than about "mothering" or "fathering."

Sitcom writers -- how about one focused on a handsome, witty, work-at-home dad who has to teach his frazzled corporate wife the etiquette of the child pick-up auto queue at school and Pokemon card hierarchy? (Not based on me. I constantly violate line integrity and trade my best cards away.)

Overzealous wavers of the having-it-all-Mom flag -- chill. We can help if you give us a fair chance. Ohio State University researchers found that the more you involve and encourage your guy to be an active father and the less you criticize him for not doing things your way, the better. Would you rather the kids go hungry or they eat mac and cheese until they poop straight Velvetta? Hmm ... I withdraw the question.

However, if your man still won't change a diaper, share in the housework or have a tea party with the little ones, please don't take it out on my entire gender. Maybe, you just … wait … you tell 'em, John Hiatt:

If you doubt my yin and yang on this, ladies, then let's return to your national anthem -- "Respect." Aretha may have sang it better, she wouldn't have even hit a note without Otis Redding writing the song in the first place. That's right ... a man. Amen.

So let's get busy and make music together ... you know what I'm saying?


  1. Yeah, umbilical cords are pretty crazy. I was surprised at how thick and tough they are, but it makes sense. I think it's dumb to pressure dads to cut them, since it's still attached to the placenta inside the mom at the time. Hello, medical procedure! Most dads want to avoid that stuff, don't they?

    I thought this was funny: "a handsome, witty, work-at-home dad who has to teach his frazzled corporate wife the etiquette of the child pick-up auto queue at school and Pokemon card hierarchy? (Not based on me. I constantly violate line integrity and trade my best cards away.)" I want to hear more about this!

  2. I can say that the pick-up queue at school demands a certain level of testosterone if you are going to survive the experience, no matter what plumbing you're sporting.

    I am sending you a big 'ol pile of Ali G RESPECK. And you keep on representing for the way cool dads out there.

  3. Dude.. that "encouragement" thing.. you know.. as opposed to critisizing? Yeah, so totally true. I discovered that one on my own in the recent(very recent) past.

    Then again, all that got me was hubby sitting at the table last night with the kids, flicking corn at all of them with his spoon and laughing when the two oldest started a burbing contest.
    You see.. the assumption was that he was going to help in showing them good table manners. Instead he destroyed the good ones they already had.

    P.S. I knew that the birth process had freaked my husband out in the past and told him the last time around that if he had any desire to not be in there for it that I understood. He not only showed up(lol) but even watched portions of the c-section. Aw, I felt so special. And proud.

  4. Oh this is perfect. Truly, truly, perfect.

  5. We just finished the book Love and Respect. It's a good one and is right on target with what you are saying!!! I believe it!

  6. OKay - I heard on NPR that 2007 was the 40th anniversary of the release of R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha (and Otis - whatever). Can you believe we have been dancing to that song for 40 years?? It is always being played as if it was released just yesterday! Can you imagine the royalties?

    Find out what it means to me..
    Take care T-C-B.
    Awwww. A little respect.

    Give him - his propers - when you come home.

    Manager Mom watches ALI G??? Respeck.

  7. First off, these ae the most insightful comments I've every received. Have I told all of you lately how much I appreciate you?

    ST: How do you know the umbilical stuff? I thought you were sans youngin's?

    FTF: And hallejuh!

    MM: Actually, I usually screw up the queue by walking over with the Poopy Pup to pick the kids up. The dog is a mom and kid magnet.

    HMC: You probably failed to specify the type of manners you wanted taught.

    Wende: Thanks for coming by. You didn't need to bring a gift, but I appreciate it.

    Denise: Damn! I knew I was onto something.

    Nikki: Otis' estate deserves every penny. Listen to "I Love You More than Words Can Say" sometime.


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