OK, we acknowledge that many of our posts are targeted to both moms and dads. Sometimes, it’s difficult to speak to dads only. Parenting is a team effort, and moms are just as vital to the care and welfare of their offspring. After all, junior was certainly a team effort. It is our hope and wish that all teenagers are surrounded by the love of an involved mother and father.
However, today’s post truly is aimed at dads.
Dad, you need a pal. You may already have golf pals. You may already enjoy a night out with the guys. Perhaps you have an after-work pause for refreshment with a few chosen friends. That’s all good. However, you need a close friend or two or three with whom you can sit and talk about the ups and downs of being a father.
Dads share the same stories
We discovered each other because we had children the same ages—Bill’s two boys and Tom’s two girls. At first we just chatted about the comical perplexities of parenthood. It wasn’t too long until we were sharing stories of home life that spanned the spectrum—from frustration and annoyance to anger and helplessness, and of course, joy. In sharing our stories, it dawned on us that we were telling many of the same stories. We were experiencing the same feelings, doubts, anxieties—and, yes, even many of the same self-serving expectations of our kids.
Tom found out that he wasn’t the only dad who felt that teenagers ought to be darned grateful for the roof over their heads. Bill heard from Tom what he always thought was his own shortcoming as a father—that he was sometimes invisible to his kids in his own house.
The more we talked, the more we wanted to talk.
Bull sessions as therapy
Those brief chats became lunch sessions. For both of us, those meetings sitting in squeaky chairs over gyro salads or grazing through Chinese buffets became therapy. After commiserating and comforting, each other, we felt reassured that we weren’t completely miscast as dads. We had more in common than we ever would have imagined or admitted. Our growing friendship enabled us to be honest and open about our thoughts and feelings.
Dad, you are not alone
So, dad, we recommend that you find a pal or recruit a group of dads in your neighborhood or social circle. Suggest a good old-fashioned bull session. We warn you. It will not be easy. Dads don’t get together to talk, especially about relationships. Moms have no trouble interacting with other moms. They have many avenues. We have few. Start talking about relationships and dads get lockjaw. It will take a while for everyone to open up. But you’ll be glad you did. No matter what your problem or concern as a dad, you’ll discover you are not alone. That will be incredibly reaffirming.