For better or worse…an introspective look at my fatherly traits.
Parenting has its universal elements. Taking care of your offspring is the simplest way to describe it. But just like our personalities, the style in which you provide that care can vary by very large degrees. Below is a list divided in two. The first is a look at some of my faults, potential challenges, and surprising traits that I have but didn’t think I would have growing up. The second half will be some of my more redeeming qualities, hopefully.
Faults, Challenges, Surprises
- Disciplinarian – This is not a role I thought I would take on when I was a child. I think most of us grow up thinking we will not be as tough on our children and we are going to be much more relaxed than our parents generation. That may have some truth to it but ask my kids who doles out the most rules and consequences in our family and all fingers will point to me. Rachael partners with me of course but I am quite a bit less flexible than her. While I think it is good to have discipline and really bad when there is zero, my challenge is to find balance and just chill now and then.
- Helicopter Dad – We alway hear about Mama Bear or the Helicopter Mom but that role belongs on my side of the fence and pairs well with disciplinarian. The idea behind both is ultimately to protect your little ones. Protecting them is a good thing but my fault in this area is delineating precisely where the line of too sheltering is vs. reasonably sheltering. You have to let your kids experience life, failure, hurts, pains, and grow to be functioning adults who have some experience under their belts. Thankfully my wife helps me see quite often where the line of reason stands. This will likely be a lifelong struggle.
- Embarrassing – I think this is actually a good dad trait and I fully embrace doing it to them on purpose or by accident. Its only on this part of the list because I am surprised that I took this role and enjoy it so much. In some ways it goes hand-in-hand with one of the traits on the positive list (Fun-loving) but not always. Embarrassing a child is fun for me but usually not so fun for them. Whether its a corny dad-joke, doing Fortnite dances in public, or yelling I LOVE YOU as loud as I can when dropping them off, I am just giddy with excitement when I hear them exclaim,”DAD, stop!”
- Snuggler – I am very affectionate. I kiss skinned knees, I have an unlimited supply of hugs, and I am the Mayor of a place called Snuggletown. Snuggletown is my bed after Mom has jumped out of it and the kids run in and pile on top of me. We have the Snuggletown windmill but Mom calls it a “fan”. The primary rule in Snuggletown is that we have to be calm, stay warm, and get real cozy. Mom sometimes turns into the Snuggletown monster and turns off the windmill, demanding that we all vacate the city limits so she can “make the bed”. SMH
- Fun-loving – It’s probably strange to have a parent that is the disciplinarian while simultaneously playing the role of fun goofball but here I am in all of my ironic glory. We joke that my wife has 4 kids instead of 3 since I tend to have more behavior in common with a middle schooler than with most adults. Any chance to get goofy and I usually take it. Any chance to have fun and I usually take it. Any chance to become a bit childlike and well, I take it. When its not meant to embarrass them, my kids seem to enjoy this side of my parenting qualities.
- Transparent – Prim and proper was how I was raised. It wasn’t a bad deal and I really didn’t know any other way. Until, I took the parenting steering wheel and decided to do things a little bit different. We burp, fart, laugh hysterically, and truly talk about everything. There is nothing taboo, nothing that we are unwilling to address or cause the kids to feel uncomfortable about. Like anything, one can probably be TOO transparent and that could land me on the other side of this list. But I would rather err on the side of my kids being able to see behind the curtain than them keeping secrets, afraid to come to us.
That’s my list, what about you? What are your challenges? What traits surprised you? What are your redeeming qualities?
That’s my two cents…keep the change.