As parenting roles have blended over the last few decades, dads aren’t just responsible for “bringing home the bacon”. Sometimes moms are the bacon-bringers and dads are the primary caretakers of the kids and the home. Usually, however, it’s a mix, which I think is better for everyone involved.
I’m pretty sure playfulness is a universal dad trait. I suppose that’s part of why “dad jokes” are such a thing now. Even the most serious, masculine dads often get to be the “fun parent”, cracking a terrible pun with a wry smile. While Mom reminds the kids how to correctly brush their teeth, Dad splashes them with sink water. While Mom has a heart-to-heart at bedtime, Dad becomes the tickle monster. These roles reverse often, but for many families, Dad likes to think he’s just one of the kids.
This is in stark contrast to the career-oriented dad, who is all about performance and work and planning. This dad works long hours and expects the same from kids regarding schoolwork. He is very driven and goal-oriented and probably wants his kids to go to Harvard. He wants the best for his kids, like all of us, but might not be quite as playful as other dads.
Some dads are very casual in their parenting, very free-range. “Eh, he’s fine!” is this dad’s mantra as his toddler goes headfirst down the slide and face plants in the dirt. Others are the distinct opposite: the helicopter dad, the safety dad. Whereas the “whatever” dad shrugs off suggested car seat regulations, helicopter dad has his 14-year-old in a five-point safety harness.
Then there’s the emotionally tuned-in, sensitive dad versus the stoic, man’s-man dad. One says “let it out” while the other says “be strong”. Both love their kids to the moon and back, but one prefers tough love and the other wants to discuss feelings. And let’s not forget Mr. Fix-it, who is both handy and athletic. He can build a deck and install a light and then go coach soccer. He’s a bit of an overachiever, like career-dad, but with A.D.D. He doesn’t know how to relax, but he’s really excited about it.
Of course there are countless combinations of these dad personalities in each individual, and lots more types of dads than I can list. Dads are fun, dads are strong; dads are strict, dads are loving. Some are quiet, some are loud. Some are silly, some are serious.
To quote the great Dr. Suess…
“Some are thin. And some are fat. This one has a yellow hat. Some are fast. And some are slow. Some are high and some are low. Not one of them is like another. Don’t ask us why. Go ask your mother.
From there to here, from here to there, Funny [dads] are everywhere.”
No matter what, if you have a dad that loves you, he’s doing his best, so take this holiday to express love and appreciation to your special, unique father (aka fish).