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Moms vs. Dads

June 21, 2010 Family No Comments

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I went for a 10-mile run and got a 2-second glimpse into about 500 fathers’ lives along the way. Here was the scene:

I saw many fathers pushing strollers while wives/girlfriends/mothers walked beside them, talking their ears off. I saw family picnics in parks where men were manning (oh wait! I get it now!) the grill for dozens of hungry family members. I saw middle-aged men walking along a wooded path with their aging fathers, watching the tide go out. I heard dozens of crying babies and children wailing, “But he hit me first!!” And one word came to my mind:

OBLIGATION.

On Mother’s Day, it seems to be all about giving Mom a day off. Pampering Mom. Don’t Make Mom Be With Her Children (unless said children are old enough to treat her (and themselves) to pedicures and mimosas at fancy places). On Father’s Day, it seems to be more about making sure Dad gets some Quality Time With The Family.

Talk about inequality!

As a non-parent, I don’t want to make generalizations that aren’t truly there. But…. As a marketer, I know that retailers are willing to stick it to ya by playing on, “It’s your mother. She’s worth it,” and that the same doesn’t necessarily apply for dads. As a daughter, I regret to admit that the same stigmas do hold true (at least among me and my parents). I am much more stringent to make sure that the card makes it to my mother BEFORE Sunday and that her gift arrives on-time. With Dad, it’s easy for me to get the card there, but the gift is a bit more negotiable.

But back to the obligation. PLEASE, I’d love for someone to tell me I have it all wrong: that the crying babies and seemingly forced picnics in public parks are exactly how a father would love to spend the one day of the year that is set aside for him. That he actually wouldn’t rather be hanging with his friends or seeing Hot Tub Time Machine or eating the delicious wings at Hooter’s.

I am a non-parent, but I am otherwise a person living in a world among other people and I submit this idea:

Love people as they want to be loved, not as you want to be loved.

As for me,  I got the card there on Saturday and called at the appropriate two-hour-time-difference-time to have Happy Hour with my dad yesterday. We enjoy cocktail hour over the phone about once a month, and I figured Father’s Day was a good day for me to initiate the call. In addition, I sent my dad a silly gift — the book “Awkward Family Photos,” (which will arrive late on Tuesday or Wednesday this week).

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