One Dad Asks: Why is Father’s Day Code For “The Kids Are ALL YOURS, Babe”…

By Evan FieldEvery year, the night before Father’s Day I think to myself how nice it will be to be treated with extra love, sleep late with no noise, served breakfast in bed, have everyone respect me like a king, and basically have it as good as my wife does on Mother’s Day. Then the next morning rolls around and it doesn’t quite seem to ever happen like my fantasy. My 4-year-old son quietly takes the blanket off and wakes me up with a giggling left jab to the abdomen, my daughter starts to whine about her lack of iPad charge, my wife has the pillow over her head to drown out the noise, my stomach is rumbling, and WOW this is not what I wanted! This is not how the drill goes during Mother’s Day … AT ALL!

The difference between Father’s Day and Mother’s Day is quite simple. Father’s Day is about everyone spending time with Dad at the maximum of family-oriented activity. Mother’s Day is about giving Mom her space and “freeing” her to be relaxed.

Why the difference? Why can’t Dads have the same terms with ease and generosity?  We do we do so much to give Mom a “break” in May and Mom does so much to create a day of fun family activities on ourday in June.

Is Father’s Day really just another strategic maneuver by the matriarch, or is it more about the biology of the situation?

There is a fundamental difference between a child’s bond with Mom vs. the bond with Dad.  A child was, at one time, a part of the mother’s body … which means that a child has more of an acute biological bond to the mother. The bond with the father is more of a psychological bond. This is the reason why in most of our households, the kids NEED their Mom, tug on her, are always on top of her, reach for her first when they are hurt or crying, and migrate to her warmth. The kids might very much love Dad and want him, but the connection is more of a conditional nature.

The wanted or unwanted attention that Mom gives and gets due to her being the natural preference means that EVERY DAY is Mother’s Day. Shit, that sounds exhausting… three cheers for being the Dad!

So, usually Mom is exhausted a lot more than Dad because her attention (pushed or pulled) does not cease. Mother’s Day offers a special day that could be a break for Mom.  Massages, pampering, in-house waiter service, quiet, alone time, sleeping in, and “her choice” are all part of the drill for her day of Expected Perfection. Father’s Day is quite the opposite, we are expected to be with our families and participate in all the fun things that are assignedto us.  If I wanted to be alone on Father’s Day or do something special that I ALONE would enjoy, the kids would be so upset and my wife furious because “It’s Father’s Day” and that to them means that it is a “special time” to be with Daddy. Okay … now that you accept our lot in life, we can move forward to having a great day. There have been a number of things that I have experienced during a fun Father’s Day that my wife makes happen. After the kids have calmed down a little bit in my bed in the morning, my wife does take them out of the room so they can go get their cards to present to me.  I am the one who decides if we are eating at home or going out for brunch. My family cheers me on at my softball game vs. them not coming to it at all. I get to sit in the passenger’s seat of the car and be driven by my beautiful chauffeur for the day. My kids say scripted niceties to me throughout the day, because they are young, and still semi-innocent.  In the evening when we get together with our extended family, I do get to just sit and eat and not have to clear my plate.  I am the preferred story reader during bed-time and am expected to conjure my Academy Award-winning voices and hand motions for the books that are really meant to fatigue.  The smiles that I receive during Father’s Day are better than on my Birthday. Even though I am not free to go off to the casino with the guys, play 9 holes, take a shvitz, or anything else that I so thoroughly enjoy doing on my own … I do understand that those things would not make me a part of Father’s Day.

Father’s Day is a whole-hearted attempt at reminding me that I am appreciated.

It is a time where I get to hear the word “Daddy” over and over again by little people who are still young enough to label me that perfect word while they hold my hand twice as much as usual.

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