Today I want to share a story from six years ago. Life was pretty chaotic back then. We had an infant, a hyperactive 3-year-old with a shiny new autism diagnosis, and my husband was in school on top of working full-time. I had given up my job to become a full-time mom/therapist/administrator/advocate/taxi driver for the kids, as our eldest’s needs required multiple appointments per week. It was a lot.
On one of my husband’s “days off,” which always included yard work, house work, parenting, and studying, he let me know that he really wanted to take the kids to the park for an hour or two as well. It was a nice day that deserved to be spent at a playground, he said. In spite of it all, he has always made quality time with his kids a priority, and I love him for it.
So, running on my usual 2 hours of sleep, I packed the diaper bag like it was a vacation suitcase: diapers, wipes, bottle, snacks, water bottle, sunscreen, spare clothes for the baby in case he wet through, and spare clothes for the toddler for the exact same reason. Then, I planned the timing of our park outing around feeding time, pumping time, and two different nap times with the precision of an air-traffic controller.
When the moment arrived, off we went, and had a fun–albeit exhausting–excursion where we traded off keeping Baby in the shade, and our son with no sense of danger safely within the fence.
As we packed up to leave, an older woman who had been at the same park with her grandchild approached us with a big smile. “Oh my goodness!” she said warmly, “You are such a good Dad!”
Have you seen this video, “Such a Good Dad” yet? It made the rounds on social media last month. As you can imagine, the first verse sounded eerily familiar to me. It was kind of a do I laugh or cry moment when I heard it for the first time.
Six years later, she brought me back to that time at the park clear as day, and captured the same feeling I had at the time. *twitch, twitch*
I have a few thoughts about this video:
#1. Yes, she is being over the top. It’s part of her creative expression. Also, sometimes exaggeration is a communication tool.
#2. I don’t hate my husband, and I’m very sure she doesn’t hate hers either. If you check out her account, you’ll find a reaction video of her husband listening to this song while laughing and nodding along. I think he gets it, as my husband did when I showed this song to him.
#3. It is so nice to know that this happens to other mothers too! (Apparently to over 300,000 of them!) The story I shared above isn’t the only time my husband as gotten “good-dad-ed” right in front of me. And you know what? I’m happy for him. He deserves every single “good dad” he has ever received… Because he is. He is an amazing Dad who loves his kiddos fiercely, takes an interest in their lives, takes an active role in the housework and teaches them to do the same, and makes time for connection and fun with his kids and with me.
It doesn’t sting when this happens because he doesn’t deserve it. It stings because it’s demoralizing. Umm, I’m here too. Would it be so hard to change just one word and say, “You are good parents?”
Moms already feel invisible and unappreciated most of the time. When someone goes out of their way to compliment Dad and not Mom, it only feeds this feeling. See? No one sees. No one cares. The exact same thing applies if it’s Mom you want to compliment in front of Dad, when he too is at the park parenting just as much as Mom is.
Just some food for thought. I’m certainly not picking up a pitchfork and screaming, “Stop complimenting Dads/Moms!” I just want to point out that signaling out one parent in front of the other is pretty discouraging. And trust me, parents are already pretty burnt out and discouraged as it is.
Perhaps consider starting a conversation with the parents in your life? Just listening to their struggles will help lift a huge invisible burden that they (regardless of their gender) carry every single day.
Thanks for listening, Friend.
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2 thoughts on “Such a Good Dad”
Haha, fun video! I think they compliment the Dads when they see that they are aware, involved and make their families a priority. Dads and Moms have different responsibilities and stresses but it is encouraging to see couples pulling together, pouring into their relationships and appreciating family for the blessing it is.
You married a good one for sure! Together you are wonderful parents!
Thanks for sharing that. As a single woman with many parent friends, this is good to know.