Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On Celebrating Father's Day...

You can’t go anywhere this time of year without bumping into a chirpy Father’s Day gift guide organized by catchy phrases like “Grill Master,” “Gadget Guru,” and “Sports Fanatic.” All this for the gentleman responsible for those pint-sized miracles who spend their most productive hours sucking the life out of yours. For once I’d like to see another kind of guide that dices up the world’s dads according to the ugly truth. Here’s a stab for Father’s Day gift-givers living in the real world…

Traditional Dad aka Slacker: This is the dad who believes that child- rearing, and anything and everything having to do with the house is woman’s work. He figures that as long as he’s pulling down a paycheck he can do whatever he chooses with his free time. Essentially he’s the Sugar Daddy without the “Daddy” and more often than not, not enough “Sugar” either. Gift Idea: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Clearly this guy celebrates Father’s Day every single day of his life.

Sports Dud: This is the dad who is only effective as long as “his game” is not on. And thanks to ESPN and the birth of cable, that’s pretty much all the time. In fact, your two-year-old could be dangling out of the second story window, but unless the Sox are down by two to the Yankees and it’s the bottom of the ninth, it’s not a crisis. Gift Idea: How about tickets to a local sporting event of his choice as long as he takes the kids. I think it’s high time he gets a dose of what it really means to sacrifice doing stuff you love so that your children can feel the love.

The “I do a lot” Dad: This is the guy who still thinks he babysits his own kids, and the sweet spot of the modern dad population. This dad thinks he does more than he actually does, and takes every opportunity to try and convince us of that by comparing himself to the closest Slacker Dad on the block in an attempt to prop up his own image. He will also incessantly refer back to that one bath that he gave the kids last week as if he’s just carried you out of a burning building. Gift Idea: The gift of relativity. A round-trip ticket for you and a friend so he can spend a good old-fashioned bonding weekend with his spawn and experience firsthand how much their mom really does.

Super Dad: Yes, girls, this category actually exists. This is the most highly evolved of the dad pool – and this dad does it all. Sometimes he’s a full-time, stay-at-home dad, and sometimes he’s busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, but either way, he makes meals, taxis the kids all over town and never misses their games. While this dad’s numbers have increased over the years, he’s still quite rare and if found should be snatched up immediately if not already taken. Gift idea: Whatever the heck he wants.

The Executive Assistant Dad: This dad stands just a tick or two below Super Dad and definitely where my own husband falls – which is lucky for me – but to be fair, I did study his resume before bringing him on board. This is the dad who totally understands that he was a willing participant in the initial decision to bring the little rug rats into the world, and as such has equal responsibility in raising them. He’s ready, willing and able; he just requires a painstakingly specific road map. This is the guy who agrees to put the kids to bed, but unless you head up traffic control they won’t get there until midnight. He’s also the guy who, on his watch, won’t feed them unless their hunger pains can be heard above his own thoughts. Gift Idea: This guy deserves a big giant “A” for effort and really a day to do exactly as he pleases. That being said you may actually need to schedule it, otherwise he’ll likely spend the afternoon on the couch.

This list, of course, barely scratches the surface of what we moms are working with out there. There’s still the “I Gave At the Office” dad, the “Up in the Air” dad and “The What Have You Done for Me Lately” dad. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “I’m not even sure if he’s my kid” dad. On top of all that, your Baby Daddy is more likely a combo of some or all of the above. I realize that I’m having a little fun at their expense. I’m not saying they don’t deserve their own day. Without them, we moms would have a lot less to talk about, marriage counseling wouldn’t be a thriving industry, and Moms Night Out wouldn’t feel so darn cathartic. So a sincere thanks to all you Dads for bringing us the little people who guzzle up all that annoying extra time we used to have for self-improvement and a full nights sleep— your homemade ashtray is on its way.