Fatherhood: Week Five - Happy Father's Day
I almost mistook last Sunday for my birthday. I received a lot of texts, calls, and cards congratulating me as I celebrated my first Father’s Day.
I have mixed feelings about this Hallmark-sponsored holiday. When I’ve seen what my wife goes through as a mother on a daily basis, I’m not sure I deserve any recognition for doing my job as a husband and a parent. I feel like having a healthy adorable son is enough for me when I consider I never thought I would ever be a father. I feel blessed to be in this position. I know many men who would love to be in my shoes.
I started comparing how our culture views mothers and fathers (I am aware being a parent is not a contest). Not to sound like a greeting card, but society sees motherhood as a special and divine calling. It’s a responsibility that can’t be easily ignored, delayed, or shirked. This becomes more apparent to me each time my son cries. My wife knows that he is hungry. She is the only one who can give him what he needs. She takes care of his basic needs at that moment. I support her whenever I can.
When I used the word ‘job’ to describe fatherhood, I did so purposely. If motherhood is a duty, fatherhood is seen as a position one holds in the company. Most dads stick around and have successful and rewarding careers. They go above and beyond the described job description. Some do the bare minimum of work and wonder where the time went. Others just quit when times get hard. I know a few single dads who make their jobs look as effortless as their female contemporaries do.
I believe my wife when she tells me I’m doing a good job so far as a dad. Since I’ve returned to my real job, she says she misses having me around. I struggle with not being home to help out and seeing my son smile. I feel like I’m missing out every time my wife texts me an adorable picture. They say the best job to have is the one that doesn’t feel like work. Right now, fatherhood doesn’t feel like work.
I am still not convinced I am worthy of recognition for being a dad. Maybe my feelings stem from how I view fatherhood. I'm just happy to be a dad.
If Hallmark feels I am worthy of some recognition, who am I to stop them?