Many people grew up without fathers around. For some, it was an untimely death, others incarceration. I know of friends who had a father in the military.For me, I grew up with a father who couldn't and didn't live up to his responsibilities. I spent the majority of my life without my dad, by his choice.So, when people ask me to reflect on my father during that time of year, I get a little resentful. I still remember a second grade project I was required to complete. It was a Father's Day card. I told my teacher that I didn't have a father at home. The teacher said that didn't matter. I … [Read more...]
Nineteen City Dads Groups are planning to ring in Father's Day 2017 by raising a toast to dads everywhere and money for good causes the night before in "Fathers Eve" celebrations.Fathers Eve is the brainchild of Twin Cities Dads Group co-organizer John Francis, and it is become an international happening with more than 40 events planned around the United States, and in Costa Rica and London.Francis started the event in 2012, bringing together several of his dad friends in a residential garage to break bread, drink beers, and swap stories about fatherhood while offering each other … [Read more...]
I'm a poser. I, at times, gracefully fake being a fully present father.
+ + +From my vantage point on the nearby playground, I could see a golfer on the tee box in the distance. He looked like a legitimate professional – wearing a white belt, a bright-colored, neatly pressed shirt with matching shorts and sparkling clean, glowing white spikes.My daughter attempted to interrupt my staring, “Dad? Dad? DAD?”“Hold on, Vivi! I want to see this guy tee off,” shushing my 8-year-old as if I were a patron at the Masters.“SHHH? What? It’s a … [Read more...]
Does hearing how others fail miserably really make us feel better about our faults or is this like a scene out of Jaws where we all compare our scars to see who has the biggest one of all?
+ + +Every day we fail at parenting in some way.It's not mommy brain. It's not because we are the doofus dad. Here's an awful truth we must all face: We are human and we are going to make a ton of mistakes. Parenting is hard.I recently sat in a meeting with other parents, mostly moms, quietly listening to them tear themselves down. They seemed to think that … [Read more...]
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Huggies.®Could you leave a baby unhugged?Donna can’t. That’s why the mother of five volunteers in the Huggies No Baby Unhugged-supported neonatal intensive care unit at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, spending 12 hours a month visiting the born-before-term babies to make sure they get the love, care and hugs they need.Once a week, Donna (who asked that we only use her first name) takes an unpaid shift in the NICU, often staying longer than the 3-hour commitment requires, to hold and cuddle these special infants … [Read more...]
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Huggies®.In City Dads Group’s latest community outreach venture, our Chicago chapter this month joined forces with Huggies and its “No Baby Unhugged” program to help create care packages of childhood necessities like clothing and school supplies.Members of our Chicago Dads Group went to work one afternoon at the Cradles to Crayons’ Giving Factory, sorting and packaging enough items to help 105 children, big and small. The biggest order of the day, of course, was diapers – courtesy of Huggies, which donated 250,000 Huggies diapers for babies in need … [Read more...]
Consider this an early Father's Day tribute to my dad. Put it in the category of "Things I Did When I Was a Kid That My Own Kid BETTER Not Do."When I was 12, I had a manageable chore list. Nothing extensive or unreasonable, although at the time I'm sure I thought I was doing the equivalent of those orphans in the Industrial Revolution who worked in a sooty, life-endangering factory for 14 hours at a stretch.I was responsible for washing the dinner dishes. Vacuuming the living room. Cleaning my room and bathroom.Scooping dog poop from the backyard.That was the one. That was the … [Read more...]
The whistling I hear breaks my daydreams and delusions of possibility. The whistling is a personification of the years passing me by – the proverbial winds of change. My babies are growing up – and my window of opportunity is closing.I remember when I was 22 and a young student teacher. I completed a semester of my student teaching at my alma mater – the halls of the high school that helped mold me into the individual that I am. We had a set of senior twin boys there who talked about their father being a stay-at-home dad for the first five years of their life. I remember thinking that was … [Read more...]
That Tiffany song. You know the one. Sixth grade. The first time I stood in close physical proximity to a female who didn’t birth me and in a way that would’ve said, "Hey there, beautiful," if a chubby boy in a peach knit cardigan sweater and a regrettable volume of Drakkar Noir could have emanated such a brand of clumsy middle school pre-sexual energy.These are not the most positive of memories, and only the faintest brush strokes and passing scents remain with me after a quarter century of neglect. These are not memories I’ve chosen to reflect upon often so they spill like rainwater from … [Read more...]
Have you ever labeled one of your children — e.g., the “smart” one, the “clumsy” one, or the “whiny” one? Of course you have! Because you’re human.But as we know now, labeling a child is not healthy. A label often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and even a positive label can constrain a child’s identity by compelling him or her to perform that limited role. Hence, labels could be considered part of a “fixed mindset,” to borrow from Carol Dweck’s celebrated research on a fixed vs. growth mindset.In their recent book, Mindsets for Parents, Mary Cay Ricci and Margaret Lee attempt to … [Read more...]