Monday, March 19, 2012

Five Reasons I'm A Better Dad Than You

"Better" is hard word to apply to parenting children.  Every child, and indeed, every situation requires its own unique touch.  Its one reason why there are 1 million + advice books, and some higher magnitude order of individual pieces of advice.  What works for you in one situation may not work in another.  Heck, what works with one kid might not work with another kids in the same circumstance, or even the same kid in that circumstances.  If you are reading this post, I most likely don't have to tell you that.

Its one reason why I think strictly following or adhering to a certain formulaic parenting style is wrong.  When I hear parents say "I absolutely won't do X," I shudder a little.  We should be doing what works for our kids, not what our own beliefs are.

With that in mind, I believe there are some macro-level things that can help any child in any situation.  Here are the 5 areas in which I probably excell more than most Dads.
First, I'm more well-rounded than you.  In college I majored in Political Science and minored in Philosophy.  I've done writing for newspapers in business and features and writtetn for the legal field.  I've gardened, I've composted.  I'm a sports fan, both a tea and coffee fan.  I drink beer, appreciate wine, and (on ever fewer occasions) do shots.  I cuddle, and hang dry wall, and fix my mower, and the toilet.  I've thought long and hard about vegetarianism and the morality of eating meat, and Saturday night sat down to a nice steak dinner.  So, life skills wise, I have a pretty good understanding of how the world works.  I'm sure I'm going to get tripped up by 100 questions my kids ask me, but I'm not likely to get tripped up by many "why this" questions that fall into this category.  Furthermore, pretty much no matter what my kids like, from Barbie to gardening to combat to karate to movies to fishing - I've probably had experience with it. 

I'm a nice guy.  My wife will tell you: I'm not especially romantic, or tecnically skilled, but I'm genuinely a nice guy.  If you've ever been stuck at an intersection and someone let you go, that was probably me.  If you needed something, I probably gave it to you.  Again, this is my wife talking.  I tend to think she's correct, but its her words.

I was the perfect age when we had kids; 35 to be exact.  I already know who I am.  I've been through the discovery phase and come out the other side.  I'm comfortable with who I am as a person and what I can - and can't - do.  I know I love my wife in a way no 25 year could.  I also know I wanted kids and was prepared for them in a way no 25 year old could.  On the other hand, as a 35 year old, I still have enough energy to keep up with 8 mo. old triplets.

We struggled for 3 years to have kids.  Then we had triplets.  Then I had a vasectomy.  What does this have to do with fatherhood?  I know this is a one shot deal for me.  There is no "the next child," I can do stuff with.  There is no "I'll be more involved next time."  I can't wake up in 5 years and think... "I should have done more," roll over and ask Wifey if she's ready for another child.  I don't get a do-over.  As a result, I get on the floor with my kids.  Sure that is like 100s of other dads; but I also change diapers, dual feed and take an active role in their lives unlike many, or even most, fathers whose blogs I read.  And these are fathers who feel so strongly about Daddyhood that they blog it.

I'm more laid back.  If my kid wants to take yoga, or ballet, or play with Barbies, or even wear pink, I'm not going to worry about it.  In fact, I'm probably more worried my daughter will only wear pink than that my sone will wear it once.  It's not that I don't care, its that I want my two sons and one daughter to be my two sons and one daughter.  I don't want them to be me.  They don't have to be me.

So there you have it.  The 5 reasons I'm a better dad than you.

This truly isn't meant as any kind of ego trip or "haha".  Instead, its more of an exercise to discover what I'm good at as a father, and correspondingly, what I'm not so good at and can work on.  If that helps a reader do the same, all the better.

And just to show that my intentions are good, Wednesday I'll post the 5 reasons why you are a better Dad than I am.

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