I have been reading Redbook since I was fifteen, and every month when my new issue comes, I turn immediately to the Whys Guy feature by Aaron Traister. I could say that I read his articles to decode male behavior and gain a better understanding of my husband, but the truth is that I just enjoy his writing style and find his pieces to be amusing.
Now before I get too far into this Dads Don’t Suck rant, I feel like I need to share a caveat: my husband is not perfect. Yes, some of our friends believe that he is, but I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong. He can’t find a single thing even if he is the last person to touch it. His memory is shoddy at best. He likes to rephrase everything that everyone says so that he can agree and take credit at the same time. His vision and hearing are selective especially when they involve empty trashcans or questions that need an immediate answer. And his jaw sometimes pops when he eats ice cream. Who has difficulty chewing ice cream?
With that said, he is an amazing husband and father. Amazing.
When I was pregnant and sick, he took care of me with more patience and love than I could have imagined possible. He intentionally married a human roller-coaster, and he hangs in there without complaint through all the ups and downs. He says with a smile, “I know who I married.”
But forget the huge things. Let’s talk about the little things.
He puts the laundry away. He cleans the litter box. He cooks dinner at least fifty percent of the time and empties a dishwasher filled with clean dishes without being asked.
He believes without philosophical positioning or lengthy discussion that parenting our children is just as much his responsibility as it is mine. He is just as likely to volunteer to teach a Sunday School class, coach a soccer team, or chaperone a field trip as I am. And while he doesn’t make the doctor’s appointments, he is happy to take the kids to them.
When I told him I wanted to begin blogging, he bought me a laptop. When I told him that blogging involved travel, he re-arranged his work schedule. When I told him that sometimes other bloggers would come to the house to play Rock Band and eat indulgent food, he helped me clean the kitchen then made himself scarce.
He brings me breakfast in bed every morning. Case closed.
So what does all of this have to do with Aaron Traister? In the October issue of Redbook, Aaron writes about the new fall sitcoms and the continuation of the suddenly prevalent “Dads Suck” entertainment theme. While I’m not claiming that every dad works forty hours a week at a stressful job, commutes two and a half hours a day, and still comes home to cook dinner and help with homework, mine does. And I’d bet many others do as well. No, he doesn’t then use Monopoly money to teach our kids about real life or choreograph the whole family singing “Baby….baby…BAAAABY!” on the steps (Marry me, Cliff Huxtable), but he’s a damn good husband and father. There. I said it.
So I’m wondering if maybe we could all cut dads a break? I believe our generation has been the one to move towards a completely blurred line when it comes to gender roles within marriage and parenting. Wouldn’t it be nice if media reflected that shift?