IntroductionI was stunned to watch a recent news clip where a single dad with two small children had to give up a promotion and pay increase because his salary would have deemed him ineligible for his child care benefits.
There is something terribly wrong with a system that would discourage people from getting ahead by monetarily penalizing them for it, but as disgusting as that is ... That's not the point here.
What was so stunning about this story was that every day, this dad rises at 4:30 a.m., prepares his kids lunches, gets them up and dressed and into the car (most of the time, they are still sleeping). Then he drives for an hour to their childcare facility and then another 30 minutes to his job.
At the end of the day, he does it all in reverse. He picks them up, feeds them dinner, bathes them, reads them stories, and puts them into bed and then the next day the whole process begins all over again.
If this story was about a single mom, as sad as it is, it would almost be considered a normal narrative for a single working mom struggling to make ends meet while raising her children. But this is a dad. We don't often think of dads in this kind of a role.
Recently, I was speaking with a client who shared that his wife had just given birth to their second child and while she was in the hospital, he had decided to take their older 3-year-old son on an outing to the park. On his way there, they stopped at a McDonald's, where he ran into a neighborhood friend. "So, you're babysitting today," the friend commented. "No," he replied, "I'm spending the day with my son."
It would seem that the prevailing discourse is that dads serve as fill-ins or pinch hitters for the real thing. Yet there are many dads who change the diapers, wake for the 2 a.m. feedings, and spend sleepless nights walking the floor with a sick child.
So, in honor of Father's Day, I would like to dedicate this blog to all of you who make a difference. You are modeling healthy behavior and secure attachment. You are teaching your daughters and sons valuable lessons about being a partner as well as being a parent.
Let's hear it for the dads who are not only "Dad" in name but who play a vital role in their children's lives.
They are not just weekend warriors; they are true dads in every sense of the word.
Dr. Laura Richter is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist who works with individuals, couples, and families. Her specialties include: surviving infidelity, improving communication, beginning again after divorce and effective co-parenting after divorce. She is also a trained mediator, qualified parenting coordinator and collaborative law mental health professional. For more information, please call or text us today at 561-715-6404 to schedule a consultation to see how we can help.