5/6/09

Fathers ----A New Paradigm PLEASE!!!

Mother's day around the corner has ME getting ready for father's day. I did not grow up with my dad and the very last time I saw him I was eight when my parents divorced. My experience with fatherhood and father figures has been quite scattered and diverse. I have seen dads in my family who have had kids, hardly ever see them and their kids love them regardless. My own husband works from home and my son especially could not live one hour away from him....he's like "mommy" to him. Then I've seen the working dad, never home and the woman carries the household on her own. 

I've been tossing around the idea of how intertwined bread-winning is to one man's role in fatherhood. How each man defines his role in relation to "how much" and ironic that the more they bring in the less they are seen or experienced by the kids. Watching my husband and son's relationship has made me in to a believer in changing this non-child-centered paradigm, if only for our little family. Shouldn't the priority be you and your time with your child and not the house, the 2-car garage and the expensive grill?

I watched this show on Oprah weeks back, and it was one of those Susie Orman shows where families who are way over their heads in financial trouble get some counseling. This couple, each (EACH) earning about 70K yearly for years, come to hard times and are literally on the street. We love our kids in all different ways, but I strongly feel that when you have kids, they don't care about having their own rooms or the latest car. How in the world does this family not have any money?   

To illustrate this further, I read some article about people who make 250K/year who do not see themselves as wealthy.  It was one of those, "lets-put-Obama-in-his-place" article.  Well la-di-dah. In the article, the "non-wealthy-feeling-250K-earners" said they did not have the latest car and their home needs repairs that have not been done....oh, and they can't leave their job because they are paying a 5K mortgage. These people don't feel wealthy because material things can never fill your heart or feed your soul. Wealth is not about money, it's about quality of life. If you're working 9-5, make hundreds thousands a year, yet coming home tired, yelling at the kids, hardly see them or try to avoid their noise......then no, you are not wealthy...and never will be. 

My message to dads from a woman who grew up without one:
* You are needed in your home more than at work. 
* If you had to make a choice between earning more and spending less time at home, or earning less and more time at home.....spend more time at home. 
* As awkward as this may be at time, your girl(s) need you MOST in her teen years. Your support, presence and love will guide her into her own romantic relationships. With you not around she will have to learn everything on her own, the hard way. 
* If the parent is alive and not actively involved in rearing, the child reads that as abandonment regardless who is doing the separating. 

Oddly enough, when I did contact my dad in my teens to try to reconnect, he apparently thought I wanted money from him and never contacted me back. So sad for him that he valued himself solely by his finances and never allowed himself to experience the love my family could have showered him in his old age. 

Would love to hear about your experiences with dads..





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