That’s right. I hate Father’s Day. Not because of my children…they truly are the best of me. There isn’t anything that has ever been done to me on the few Father’s Days that I’ve been able to celebrate as a father, it’s more how everyone reacts to Father’s Day.
Think about it. What do we see portrayed about dads? Pretty much we’re all couch potato, sports zoned out, beer guzzling, slobs. When I was a kid, there were like four different Father’s Day cards and it was the day of the year my dad got new ties and his yearly supply of cologne, which somehow seemed to last about a week. Now, got to Target the Saturday night before Father’s Day…you’ll find a ton of women pouring over the card aisle looking for that “Oh crap I totally forgot, but as long as it’s on the table Sunday morning I’m safe” card. However, note there’s few options still for Father’s Day cards for Grandpas (sorry to that generation, you’re really getting the short end of the stick). Yet it’s always the guys that get that “last minute cards/flowers” reputation.
Father’s Day is the consolation prize holiday…the after thought of Mother’s Day.
(The exception to this is the awesome Father’s Day celebration North Church puts on…celebrating ‘manly’ things with a focus on fun and families…you should come check it out)
I’m not saying Mother’s Day isn’t important. Mom’s are great, my mom is great, my wife is a great mother. They deserve to be celebrated. They deserve all the fanfare the holiday elicits. But let’s think about that for a moment. On this Mother’s Day we got a “viral” video of a job interview for a mom’s job. (The title of it was always something like you’ll never believe this, but anyone with any level of critical thought at all could figure out the concept and the surprise ending within the video’s summary or at the very least within the first 30 seconds of the video). You get isles of cards. News stories about the “salary” of a stay-at-home mom. Studies about how great mom’s are.
Now Father’s Day.
I got an email about a variety of studies…about how absent father’s are. It’s true, there are a lot of absent fathers. It’s a huge problem in many communities. There are studies on domestic violence. Another huge problem. But these are problems year-round. Situations we should all be working to end, through education, intervention and community support. However we get an influx of these “guys are the problem” studies right in time for Father’s Day. Yay Dad!
Then there’s the radio ad I heard this week. It wasn’t get dad the perfect Father’s Day gift that shows you love him….like the ones for flowers, or chocolate covered berries we all heard on Mother’s Day. Nope. Father’s Day got an ad that said “She got your eyes, your smile…and…your habits. Quit smoking for Father’s Day.” Wow…great job dad. You’re killing your kids. Fantastic. Another win for us fathers.
Father’s are really under assault year-round. Think about it…so many sitcoms feature the dad that’s the blundering fool. Huggies upped the ante with it’s ad a while back advertising diapers that could hold in a baby’s pee so well dad could sit around and watch the game while their kids happily played in a pee-filled diaper. Yay lazy-bum-thoughtless dads. (Pampers, the Cross family’s choice, learned from this mistake and tried a different approach.)
I get it. Historically dads have held a different role in families. They are not traditionally seen as nurturing, caring or hands-on. But guess what. That’s not the reality.
I know of stay-at-home dads. At my 3-year-old’s dance recital I saw dads streaming in holding pink backpacks and cheering on their little girls. (Though none of them cared enough to bring a tripod so they could get steady video with cut-away shots of the program for better editing later on.) I see dads at the park with little boys and girls making sure they don’t get eaten by the imaginary monsters or alligators. And there are even dads that know the words to the Frozen songs. In short…there are a lot of dads that aren’t lazy a-holes.
So that’s why I hate Father’s Day, but make no mistake I love being a father. Actually that’s not completely true. I love being a dad…or daddy, (or as my 3-year-old now calls me, “Pillow” because she likes to use me as her pillow and lay on me).
Let’s create the “viral” video ad advertising the job of a dad. An executive-level position, must be able to lift a toddler on each arm. Job requires you to be a horse, jungle gym and launching pad. Ability to scare off monsters and the occasional alligator from under the bed. Plus you must be willing to be peed on, thrown up on, and sometimes spit up on (and sometimes that might land in your own mouth while you’re giving airplane rides).
You know. Maybe….just maybe we could celebrate dads as many of us are. Involved parents who love their children so much it doesn’t matter that you’re accidentally kicked in the testicles almost every day (though if someone could tell me when this phase ends that would be great).
Or maybe we could just create a new holiday…leave Father’s Day to celebrate the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals society seems to think we are….but create a new holiday to celebrate dads.
The other day the girls came home from daycare after I think they were working on Father’s Day craft projects. Both told me “Happy Father’s Day.” It was later in the evening at bedtime when the 3-year-old was laying in bed and I was beside her waiting for her to fall asleep, when she had an epiphany…she said “You’re my Father!” I said I was, and she said, “but you’re my Pillow…Happy Pillow Day.”
So I think this year I’ll celebrate “Pillow” Day in my house…and leave the world to figure out that maybe it’s time to give father’s a new look.