Fathers tend to get kind of a bad wrap. The stereotypical mom is sweet, nurturing and completely devoted. Dads on the other hand. Well, the stereotypical dad is lounging in a recliner, making dad jokes and constantly making fashion faux pas. I cannot speak to how mother’s stay amazing, some things in life may always be a mystery, but I’m beginning to realize why dads act like, well dads.
In one word, survival. In When Mom is Away I wrote about the struggles of a single day of fathering – I have been scolded and told that it is not babysitting when you are the parent. Still, while parenthood is great for many reasons and well documented throughout history, it is also exhausting. This pushes both parents into a state of mere survival.
For instance, take a look at your father’s choice in clothing. Practical, long out of style, the clothing of a man who has lost complete touch with reality or the world around him. Well that’s not far off. When all the money goes to buying things for babies and kids something has to give in the family budget. That something is generally the wardrobe of the father. So why is dad wearing clothes from before you were born you wonder? Probably because that was the last time dad bought himself new clothes that weren’t purchased at Walmart.
Even when money is not an issue, when does dad have the time? Any spare time available – which I hear some people have – would go to spending time with their kids. And if there were such a thing as time away from kids, spending a Saturday shopping is the last thing dad wants to do. Why shop for clothes when you could fish or watch an entire football game or sleep or about a thousand other things?
This should not be misunderstood as a complaint or an appeal for sympathy. Quite the opposite. When you see a dad dressed ridiculously they are not embarrassed or downtrodden about their appearance. If you show me a dad with sandals, knee high socks, cargo shorts and a fanny pack, I’ll show you one happy fella. Dads are happy, even proud, to do anything and everything for their children and fashion has plummeted down the list of priorities to the point it is no longer relevant. Cargo shorts are worn with pride because dad knows his children have been provided for and that’s all that matters to him – plus the extra pockets come in pretty handy. Worries about the opinions of others and how they view him – especially his clothing – are a thing of the past.
With that in mind, next time you see a daughter or son complaining about what their father chose to wear shamelessly in public, walk straight up to that man in the multi-colored Hawaiian shirt. Give him a firm handshake and let him know, “you’re looking good dad.”