“Top 10 Places in New England for Kids”
”The Best Art Projects for Your Little One”
“What to Serve Your Toddler for Dinner”
These are parenting blog posts we have all read, all of which have some great ideas. I have noticed something very common throughout them-they are all geared towards Mom.
Where is Dad? Is he off the hook? Is he too busy working his 9-5 to make parenting decisions or be involved?
This isn’t the 1950’s anymore. The days of Don Draper coming home with a few cocktails in him and expecting a roast on the table are over.
Let me back up a little. I am a Dad to two girls, a 3 year-old and a bouncing baby girl born this past April. I consider myself to be a pretty good dad. I love my girls, spend a lot of time with them and am a pretty integral part of the parenting process. My wife and I are a team. I will fully admit that my wife does the “heavy lifting” when it comes to being a parent. She makes sure the girls have clothes to wear, food to eat….you know, the essentials. She is amazing and I couldn’t imagine having to parent without her. But when it comes to playing, disciplining, changing, feeding, bathing, waking etc., we are a team.
This is the way it is supposed to be, right? Many of my friends are fathers as well, and they all seem to be pretty active in their kids’ lives. Why is there this perception out there that fathers are “secondary” parents? The topic of dads “babysitting” their kids has been brought up a lot recently. Do you know what the definition of “babysit” is? “To look after a child or children while the parents are away.” I am a parent. I don’t get to pick and choose when it is time to be responsible because I’m male. I can babysit your kids. I can probably even manage to babysit your dog. It’s impossible for me to babysit my kid. I am just being a parent, a responsibility I took on about 9 months before my child entered into this world.
My goal in contributing to this blog is to be a voice for all the great dads out there. Maybe I can somehow even inspire some dads to take a more active interest in parenting? I applaud dads like Ashton Kutcher (Did you ever think those words would ever be spoken?) who backed a campaign to put changing tables in Men’s Rooms in public places. I can’t count how many times I had to send my wife to change my daughter’s diaper because there wasn’t a changing table in the Men’s Room.
Every day I learn different things about being a parent. Just as my kids are growing up, I am growing as a parent. My oldest daughter was “Mommy Obsessed” for her first two years. While I spent plenty of time with her and loved her the best I could, she just preferred Mom. It was a phase, everyone told me (as I sulked in the corner) and it turns out they were right. About the time we learned we were expecting child #2, my girl turned her affection to me! It was almost as if the universe told her that Mommy’s attention would soon be divided with the pregnancy and the newborn, so it’s Daddy-time. While I felt bad that my wife wasn’t getting all the love she used to, I was on cloud nine. I was my daughter’s “buddy” (as she calls me) and we have grown so close. The amount of joy I get by teaching her my favorite songs and jokes is endless.
I encourage all the dads out there to re-experience the joys of childhood and grow with their kids.
Andrew Gelles is the proud father of two girls, one welcomed in August 2011 and the other born in April 2015. He has been married to his wife Jessica since July 2008. Andrew is a Boston-lifer. Born in Boston, raised in Newton, educated at UMass Amherst (which is as far away from Boston as he has ever lived) and now resides in Natick.
Andrew has been in the Sporting Goods business since 2000 and is a Boston sports fanatic (especially the Red Sox and Patriots). He enjoys playing golf, great food, music, movies, the beach and spending as much time as possible with his family and friends.