Father’s Day isn’t even here, but I’ve already had enough of it.
I know that sounds blasphemy coming from someone who is not only a dad, but a stay-at-home dad and a dad blogger, to boot. Dadding is my life. It is what makes me “me.” But I’m feeling Father’s Day overload right now. I get it. It’s a feel-good holiday that I have nothing against, per se. Yet, I find myself asking, “who needs Father’s Day?”
I know that my wife and kids appreciate what I do in my dadly duties. I see it in their faces (almost) every day. I don’t need a special day – that isn’t really all that special since I share it with every other father in America – as an excuse to grill some meat, drink some beer, and bask in the glory of being “dad.” My family regularly garnishes me with hugs and kisses and tells me what a great father I am. Occasionally, my daughter threatens to fire me from being her dad, but I feel reasonably safe in my job security. If my family didn’t express their gratitude through words and deeds the rest of the year, one day out of 365 sure as hell wouldn’t make up for it.
As much as I support dads being viewed as co-equal parents capable of doing anything moms can do (minus childbirth and breastfeeding), I don’t need all the “ra-ra-sis-boom-ba let’s hear it for the dads!” cheerleading in the two week run-up to this Hallmark holiday. Father’s Day is used as a talking point to feature dads on the Today Show, so that during the commercial breaks our heart-strings can be skillfully pulled to sell cars and cans of paint. I’m as susceptible as the next guy to getting choked up as I watch a new father bringing his baby home, helping with first steps, playing catch, painting toe nails, and finally walking his now-grown girl down the aisle, all while sappy music builds and the brand subtly flashes its logo. But I really don’t need another tear-jerking commercial to remind my wife that I should probably re-paint the kitchen or that we can’t afford that super sweet minivan with the built-in vacuum cleaners. In any case, after a few viewings, it just becomes more background noise on the internet and television.
We don’t need a day for dads. What we need is recognition of fathers as equal parents all year long. We don’t need dads on television every day for a couple of weeks. We need to show dads doing dad things every day. Period. Dads shouldn’t be put on a pedestal for one day. Dads should be held to a high standard and should aim to surpass it. Every single day.
Father’s Day is a made-up holiday designed to sell greeting cards and ugly ties. I can, however, use it to appreciate how great being a dad truly is. Father’s Day should be about rising above the day-to-day drudgery and stress of raising children, to gain some perspective on the splendor of it all. There’s nothing wrong with getting a coffee mug proclaiming “World’s Greatest Dad,” but it’s as meaningless as the holiday itself. I know I’m not the “world’s greatest dad” every other day of the year, and neither Father’s Day nor that mug makes it so. One day of relaxation won’t help me become the dad I aspire to be; working on it the other 364 days a year will get me closer.