Fathers over 40

Mr. Mom’s (Snippets of) Holiday Thoughts…..

Chanukah - ChristmasEarlier this evening, I was dumping old files from my computer and started pulling pictures of the kids out of computer memory. I smiled, but it was one of those half-hearted, oh-my-gosh I’m-getting-old smiles, because I barely even remember those little faces, anymore.

That’s probably one of the only reasons I put up with the holidays: I love my kids, unequivocally, totally and frighteningly so. I’m struggling to hold on to each stage of their growth, each milestone, every tear they shed. Sometimes I feel that I have no idea how to be a parent! Heck, I’m still having trouble being a grown-up.

But, here’s my biggest dilemma: I don’t really care about the gifts. I never know what to buy for the kids, the cousin’s kids, etc. [Read More…]

Why Are Our Children’s Issues Held With Such Secrecy and Shame?

Nicholas son in winter

“I hate myself. I can’t do it. I’m no good at it. Everyone else can do it and I can’t.”

When I picked my son up from kindergarten many months ago, he uttered those first four sentences. I was driving, so I pulled over to try to understand what he was talking about and find out why he was so upset.

With tears streaming down his face and my heart sinking fast, he told me that the other kids in his class could write words and he could not. I told him we would work on it together and he would be able to write words, too. I took a piece of paper from my glovebox and wrote ‘I Love You’ on it and I brought it to him in the backseat. I went over each word with him. Over and over. And over. [Read More…]

We Love Vans (A Commentary by Mr. Mom)

minivanIt is not true that men don’t love mini-vans. Someone needs to straighten out the record.   We fear what mini-vans represent, toting kids hither and yon, the words, “Are we there yet,” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” (and our impending death).

Mini-vans save the backs of millions of men annually. Those cute little cherubs fit tightly, snuggly and comfy in SUV’s at the loss of our ability to move our torso or even sit upright, our current version of lifting a calf over our heads until it becomes a cow.

It is true that men approaching middle-age prefer not to be caught either riding or driving a van. This response makes good sense; not because of mid-life crises, but because our bodies require more vertebral support. We need the space and the view. [Read More…]

By |September 21st, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Fatherhood, Fathers over 40|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Just Before Two Years/Six Months/Five Days and a Handful of Hours – Ago

hollywoodWhat do I do here, in Hollywood, with the V-Word? Backstory: (Before Kid) I remember scores of parents everywhere talking about their children. Sorry, that’s a lie. I don’t remember scores of parents saying anything. That would have required caring about what parents were saying, and I remember a decade or two, maybe four or so, when I didn’t much care what they said.

Apart from that, I do recall them asking things in plangent tones like, “‘What are we teaching our children about the world?” and other sayings that felt a good deal like whining at the time.

Back then – about two years, six months, five days and a handful of hours  (that is, before Sophie was born) – I could not have cared less about what we were teaching our children. Especially, about the V-Word. No, get your minds out of the bedrooms. I meant Violence. It’s no big deal, right? Especially since it’s everywhere? [Read More…]

A Letter To My Husband On Father’s Day

Jo-Ann Rogan's husband and kids IDear Elliott:

You declared for months,  after our oldest Ryan was born, that you are a Dad, someone’s Dad! You came to parenting reluctantly, as you do so much in life.  For my whole pregnancy, you would say over and over, I don’t get why people have kids and I am not sure I can do this. Now, over a decade in, I am here to say, you are an incredible father.  [Read More…]

7 (Father’s Day) Tips for Honoring Fathers Not Living at Home

Stepfamilies Daddy photoMothers are still more likely to get primary custody of children following divorce than fathers, leaving the majority of divorced fathers the “non-residential parents.” Fathers that, chances are, love their children very much and whose children love them, too.

Father’s Day can be particularly difficult for this set of dads whose contact with their children may be limited to every other weekend and/or summer vacations.

Unquestionably, fathers play an important part in their children’s lives, from birth through to adolescence, young adulthood and beyond. In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the significance of fathers, residential or otherwise, to families and to the behavioral, general health and well-being of their children’s life.

As Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox found in their work, ‘The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, children who experience an involved, caring father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings and, as they grow older, have better social connections and educational outcomes. [Read More…]

The Difference Between Dad Privilege and Mom Privilege

being nice to dadWelcome to June! That time of year when we celebrate fathers and all of the things that they do to help out in the raising of their children. Although actually, “help out” makes it sound like they are not required to do any child raising and are strictly volunteering on a benevolent basis. “Hey, you didn’t have to do that! But thanks!”

This idea, that fathers are over-praised for doing the most basic of tasks (taking kids to the store, reading a bedtime story, living in the same house as the rest of the family), has led some to dismissively call out “Dad Privilege,” claiming that fathers have it much easier and don’t have to put in half the work mothers do to be deemed a success.

Let me be very clear. What you are thinking of as “Dad Privilege” has another name in the dad community. We call it “Mom Privilege.” [Read More…]

How My Dad Taught Me to be a Dad

Nicholas D'Ambra's dad IVI’m not an expert at being a Dad, but I learned a lot from my own father, who happened to be the best. He wasn’t perfect. He definitely made mistakes. However, he made those mistakes seem like integral threads in the blanket of parenting.

He always put his family first. Like his father before him, my Dad worked hellishly long hours to provide for his family. I couldn’t list five things he ever purchased for himself. He would often go without, so his kids could go with.

He always made time for his children. At the end of a 14-hour day, he would help coach my Little League team. I would wait for him to come home in summertime at the top of our block, sitting on a wall. He smiled whenever he saw me there. I would get into the car and drive the short distance home where he would grab something to eat on our way to practice. [Read More…]

How Our Family Makes Father’s Day a “Biggie” Deal

Christy Stansell FamilyI hope you don’t have one, but if you do, I’m guessing your court order looks something like mine: the child will spend Mother’s Day with Mom and Father’s Day with Dad, even if it is “supposed” to be the other parent’s weekend.  That was all good and fine…. until I got remarried… and now my husband – the “step-dad” – never gets to have Father’s Day with his step-daughter.  It’s heart-wrenching.

When my second husband and I were dating, my little girl told me, “When my dad goes to heaven, I want Biggie to be my daddy.”  We called him “Biggie” because, as God’s humor would have it, he and my daughter have the same name, just spelled differently. Little did she know then that it wouldn’t be long before she’d get her wish. I remarried soon after my daughter’s 6th birthday.  She delighted in being the flower girl for our wedding.

Now my forever-husband and my daughter are “like this” (picture fingers wound together tightly!) And, even though her birth father is still alive, my daughter calls her step-dad “Daddy” (much to her biological father’s chagrin.)  I’m not about to forbid my daughter from calling him whatever endearment she feels comfortable. Honestly, if her dad got remarried, and she wanted to call his wife “Mom” I’d let her, without complaint, because I’m confident in my role as her mother… but I digress. [Read More…]

For Father’s Day: Building Meaningful Relationships Through Communication

fatherIt’s easy to buy into the commercialism of Father’s Day. You may wonder if expensive ties or tools will bring you closer, only to realize you want honest conversations with your dad. Perhaps you don’t want only emails from your brother or texts from your son. If you’re ready for more openness with the men in your life, why not start with your partner?

According to research on the effectiveness of marital therapy, communication is one of the most commonly reported and difficult problem to manage. Discrepancies in how men and women talk can lead to further conflict as partners begin to focus blame on each other, themselves or the quality of their relationship. [Read More…]

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