Save your money! No need to buy a fancy card! No need for expensive gifts! I’ve thought about it and I know what I want for Father’s Day!
Here’s a hint: It’s not a tie. It’s not bacon, beer, or bbq tools either.
This will be my 10th Father’s Day as a parent, and I don’t recall ever wanting anything in particular. So what changed this year?
Well, a month or so ago I saw something a friend shared on Facebook called: “Save Your Money: This is What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day“.
The author didn’t want “to mom” on Mother’s Day.
And while it’s one thing to hope for a day where you don’t have to do laundry, or dishes, or step on your kid’s toys, she didn’t stop there. By the end of the piece her idea of a perfect Mother’s Day had no kids in it at all until the very end. In this perfect day, she goes shopping and gets pampered (what happened to the saving money thing?) and comes home just in time to give her kids “a sweet kiss goodnight, narrowly and perfectly missing the bedtime chaos.”
A Mother’s Day with no kids? Is this what moms really wanted on a day meant to celebrate motherhood?
I asked my wife If I had it all wrong this whole time with our special breakfasts, and buying flowers, and making home-made cards and going out to eat? It turns out my wife was as incredulous as I was. (I can’t quote her because this is a family site). She didn’t want to do away with any of that, at least not for Mother’s Day.
Are we exceptions to the rule?
A lot of people seem to agree with the day-off-for-mom sentiment. Look, I get it. Being a parent isn’t easy. It’s stressful. It’s tiring. On top of that, each family is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. We can all use a “day off”, but why does that day have to be the one day that is set aside to celebrate our parenthood?
Maybe Lisa and I just see things differently, but what we both agree on is that there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to have date nights, weekend getaways, or just a day to yourself to unwind, de-stress, and recharge. Mother’s/Father’s Day doesn’t have to be the “one day” each year to get a break.
Here’s what I really want for Father’s Day:
Since I work Sundays, Father’s Day usually consists of softball games in the morning, followed by a couple of hours at home to relax before going to work. This year will be no different because A. I committed to working Father’s Day months ago, and B. We need the money. But in the future, I think I’m going to have to change things up.
So hypothetically, what I would really want for Father’s Day is a day like this:
- wake up to my kids jumping on me.
- make them breakfast and eat it on the couch while watching cartoons.
- have them ask me to play with them.
- be a human slide/jungle gym
- have tickle fights
- build LEGO sets, couch forts, racetracks, and obstacle courses.
- go to the playground/beach/park/museum
- try to answer their questions
- share stories, jokes, and make silly faces
- teach them new things and learn new things with them
- make lunch and dinner together
- make ice cream sundaes for dessert
- lay on each other and watch a movie
- give piggy back rides to bed
- read bedtime stories
- kiss them goodnight
There are so many different ways the day could go and still be perfect…
In short: I don’t want to miss anything.
I’m sure there is plenty I left out, but what I DON’T want is to be gone all day for any reason, only to come home, kiss them goodnight and wonder what they did that day.
And yes, I know that doing all of that will require that I clean any messes we make, and handle any situations and/or frustrations that arise. There may be band-aids applied, and tears wiped away. There maybe time-outs or toys taken away. There maybe stains, spills, and breakages. That’s the trade-off, and I believe it’s totally worth it. That’s why we believe so firmly that family adventures are so important. It’s about that time together, no matter where you are, or what you are doing.
I understand I can’t be there all the time for them. Between school for them and work for myself, I’m not there nearly as often as I’d like to be. And often, when I am there, I spend too much time watching. In fact, I had trouble finding pictures of me and the kids to put in this post. I need to be less of an observer and more of an active participant.
Still, I know that there will be times when I’ll need a break, for their sake and my own. But not Father’s Day.
I don’t presume to speak for all dads, so you tell me… do you agree or disagree? Is Father’s Day a time for Dad to be alone or to spend more time with the family?