Father’s Day: What Dads Really Want & Think About the Holiday
By Torrie of I Pretty Much Hate Everything
I interviewed three of the most outspoken Daddy-Bloggers to get their honest opinions about Father’s Day. What they say might surprise you.
Meet the Dads
Brian Sargent is a stay-at-home dad of three girls in a house with one bathroom. He has a bar of soap, a razor, and a bucket in the corner of his basement that he calls his “special place.” Nobody is allowed to talk to him when he’s in his “special place.” He writes Looky, Daddy! and nothing else because he’s a stay-at-home dad of three girls in a house with one bathroom. His kids are 8, 4 and 4.
Danny Evans is the author of Rage Against The Meshugenah (NAL, Aug. 2009), a humorous memoir about his struggle with clinical depression. He also writes DadGoneMad, where for six years he has chronicled his life as a father, a husband, and a dismal failure at many aspects of life. Danny has been a contributor to Men’s Health, Details, Good Housekeeping, and numerous national and regional publications. He lives in Southern California with his wife and their two children (ages 6 and 8).
Doug French began his blog Laid-Off Dad after he was laid off from his monolithic employer in May 2003. The layoff was long, demoralizing, and laden with stress and penury, but it also gave him 15 months of hands-on parenting that he’d never trade. Currently biding his time between layoffs, Doug is now a single father and co-founder (with his sons, ages 7 and 4) of the Three French Men. His writing has appeared in blogs as divergent as MamaPop and Blogging Stocks, as well as in the anthologies Things I Learned About My Dad, edited by Heather Armstrong; Sleep Is for the Weak, edited by Rita Arens; and the upcoming Kirtsy Takes a Bow, edited by Laura Mayes.
Tell us about your favorite Father’s Day, so far.
Brian: The one in which none of my kids roll on the floor in anger. It hasn’t happened yet, but here’s hoping!
Doug: Father’s Days tend to blur into each other, year after year. They’re always a great time, but none really stands out in history. Last year, though, my brother-on-law organized a canoe trip for three generations of men in the family, and it was terrific. A whole day of sun, relaxation, and Farts Without Reproach. I smell a new family tradition. Literally.
Photo by Kimberly*
What do you think is a big misconception or stereotype about what men want to do, or the gifts they want on Father’s Day?
Brian: I think it’s interesting that the spin on Father’s Day is different from Mother’s Day. For Mother’s Day, we reward moms for being moms. We give them thanks and a break from their busy momming duties. Father’s Day is, in contrast, a chance for dads to take a break from other things and be with their families. They grill, have a picnic, throw a ball with the kids, stuff like that. Family-oriented stuff. It reflects a very traditional family archetype, one that isn’t necessarily as valid today as it was ten or twenty years ago. But most of all, it results in a holiday in which I don’t go to a spa, but my wife does. Which sucks.
Danny: I know this is going to be an unpopular answer, but all those gifts that Timmy and Sally made at school with markers and dried macaroni and big, squishy gobs of Elmer’s glue? Not cool. Kind of lame, actually. The sentiment is perfect — we WANT to be loved by our kids — but that love comes through just as well in an iPhone or a pair of tickets to the ballgame.
Doug: That we’re okay with being grouped in with “grads.” Seriously. Mother’s Day season is all mothers, all the time. But fathers have to share the spotlight with a bunch of beer-gutted fratboys whose greatest accomplishment is to have made it through the night without vomiting over a balcony. I’ve been a dad, and I’ve been a grad. And even if I pursued three concurrent Ph.D.’s in Particle Physics, Neuropsychology, and The History of Every Meal Ever Eaten by Anybody, being a dad would still be more challenging. And much more rewarding.
Photo by Skip to My Lou
Tell us the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received.
Brian: When we became parents, my wife and I decided that Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) gifts should be something small and heartfelt, but most of all made by the kids, so none of them.
Danny: A napkin holder made of two paper plates colored with markers and decorated with glued-on macaroni. (wink, wink)
Doug: I’ll go you one better. Here’s the Father’s Day gift I’d like to receive. It looks like a wrapped necktie box, but when I open it there’s only a handwritten note from my boys saying how much they love me. The four-year-old’s is more of a jagged smudge, but I believe his testimony.
Photo by Eleni’s Cookies
Describe your perfect Father’s Day.
Brian: I think it would be really, really awesome to sleep until at least 8 AM. If I could get that, everything else would be cake.
Danny: The correct answer is lay on the couch, watch sports, and drink beer. Any man who says otherwise is probably only sporting one ball.
Doug: I’m the wrong person to ask about this, because day-to-day hands-on parenting makes me really happy. A couple months ago I stayed with the boys in Mama’s apartment while she left town for a week. Five weekdays of cooking, cleaning, and playgrounding. Picking up and dropping off. Wiping. And it was an absolute blast. So I guess since I can’t do that stuff as much as I’d like, my perfect Father’s Day would include more drudgery.
Do you like to celebrate Father’s Day, or do you think it’s just another “made up” holiday?
Brian: I’ll be completely honest. I don’t like Father’s Day. I mean, I’m not a big fan of holidays to begin with, and I like arbitrary made-up holidays even less, but really, Father’s Day? Like what you need when you have a kid is another thing to worry about?
Danny: It’s a “Hallmark holiday,” just like Administrative Professionals’ Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Walk Around With No Pants On Day.
Doug: We absolutely did when I was married. Parents work damn hard, and every mom and dad deserves at least one day of cheesy sentiment per year. But my focus has changed now that my marriage is over and I don’t live with my boys. Now, every day with the kids is Father’s Day. And I celebrate each one.