Because this is a feminist momblog, we spend a lot of space discussing women and our issues. However, we all know that feminism is for everyone, and we’ve each got some really fantastic men in our lives who may be underrepresented here. So, here’s a shout out to some of the rad dads we know and love and appreciate daily.
Dad – Pops, Old Man River, Groucho (that’s a new one I just made up but it fits, I promise). I would not be who I am without this man. LITERALLY. We are (nearly though not quite) the same person. Our political views are polar opposite (mine are correct, and his are not at all), but we still find common ground over cooking, Monty Python, and laughing at the misfortune of others. (Like the time he witnessed a dude in a tiny BMW think he was hot shit at the gas station, and he wound up pulling the damn pump out of the machine as he drove away. Oh man, did we laugh about that!) It’s a science fact that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and I think that’s what happened here. So sorry, Pops, this is all your fault but hey, I think you did a good job even though you probably have misgivings re: my appearance, taste in music, political beliefs, and my hatred of mayonnaise. Love you!
My Boo – I’ve talked at great length about THIS guy, and I still could write eleventy billion more words about him and how fucking rad he is. He’s got my back no matter what, he makes the best tacos I’ve ever had, he’s adorable, and he’s an amazing father to my son. He busts his ass every goddamn day, and inspires me to be a better mother, employee, friend, and person every goddamn day. We’re nearly 2 years in, and are still just as excited to see each other every day as we were then. The man talks the talk AND he walks the walk. Whatever this shit world leaves on our doorstep, I know that we can (proverbially) punch it in the face. I really cannot say enough good things about this dude, he’s the fucking best. Love you, boo!
My Little Boo – Yeah, I’ll count my kid here. He’s not quite a “man” yet, technically (even though WE WEAR THE SAME SIZE SHOE OH MY GAWD WHAT.), but shit, he certainly demonstrates a capacity for understanding as an adult does. (Not for everything, but for a lot of things, like how gay people are just, you know, people.) Being my kid cannot be an easy thing, I’ll be the first to admit that. And he’s doing a great job. His attitude is a little out of control at times (especially when he is busy getting BIGGER which is every other day I think.) But his attitude in general is kind, curious, hilarious, and understanding. We watch Wayne’s World and RuPaul’s Drag Race together, and he loves to draw with my Boo (and he’s really gotten quite good the more he practices – I’m super impressed!) Raising a child is fucking HARD. Especially when they’re smart, and they are basically YOU (I know from whence that attitude comes.) But I’ve got a great couple of dudes who make it enjoyable. Love you, Ham Guy!
My fucking homies – I’ve got a few tight homies who are rad and deserve a shout out here. My tight bros from back in the day, my boss, any pal I have who’s been there for me without expecting a “reward” for their friendship. I’m in the groom’s wedding party this year of one of these dudes! Super stoked. You guys, just keep on doing what you’re doing and always stand up and support women.
I am a world-class worrier. I worry to the point that if someone says “stop worrying so much!” I worry about why I’m so worried. Yes. I am a special snowflake. These days, the thoughts that keep me up at night are primarily focused around this rising tide of ignorance and hate that’s threatening to drown our country and the way that’s affecting my kid. I worry about how I will have to explain why some people hate his aunt and uncle because of who they love. I worry about having to explain why we are living in a culture where it is commonplace to have a mass shooting every week or so, and how he can protect himself. I worry about teaching him to respect everyone equally and treat everyone with respect and dignity and that no means no and not ever yes, and enthusiastic consent and drinking and depression and the why why why of everything. It’s so much.
But I am so thankful. Because as much as I am overwhelmed with the pressure and fear, I have a partner who is equally in this fight with me. My husband, an amazing father and a fantastic partner in life, who is hard-working and sweet and just as worried about everything, is in this fight with me. He’s just as involved in the (sometimes awkward) explanations and hugs and lessons that it’s taking to raise a child, especially a male child, in our society today. He is in the trenches with the boo boo kisses and teaching that colors are for everyone. Sometimes he is completely ignored and unappreciated by our son, who is going through a major mommy phase, but I see him, and I know others do too, and I am so proud to call him mine.
I come from a long line of strong women, for that I am thankful. I watched my grandmother do plumbing and electrical work around her house. I watched my mom research and do things on the computer most people my age can’t figure out. My Dads never treated me any different than the boys in the family. My family never told me I couldn’t do anything because I am a girl. Those things are important to me as I raise girls of my own.
We never talked about it though, my husband and I. I never actually said the words “I want to raise our girls to have no gender boundaries”. He just does it. He shows them that men can do the things that have historically been deemed “women’s work”. They see him do dishes and cook. Clean and do laundry. He takes care of the plants in the house. (I have a black thumb, I couldn’t keep a plant alive to save my life.) He also shows them girls can do whatever the hell they want. He has taught them to change and rotate tires, change the oil and do other car repairs with him. He just showed our youngest how to turn the water off to the house and had her help fix our leaking toilet and shower. Never once did he blink an eye or think it was strange for her to learn these skills.
He also allows them to be who they are. Some days that’s glitter and pink everything including a crown. Some days that sports jerseys and jeans with muddy shoes. He loves them and never judges them. My girls embody the mixed up world that is a young girl’s feelings and mind. They laugh, they are prissy, they fart while giggling hysterically, they are messy. They love makeup and cars. They dance and play basketball. They watch their dad closely as he holds open the door for them on their way into a building, and they return the favor on the way out. He sits through dance classes and has learned the difference between a lindy and a ball change. He also spent two weeks building a Lego VW Vanagon with them, including working engine and a peace and love poster. The girls have given him “makeovers”. He has had his toes done by them. He says that he doesn’t want to wear makeup outside the house but some boys do and that’s cool. He said he doesn’t want to wear dresses, but some people who were born a boy want to, and that’s cool too.
Bottom line is he doesn’t see limits for his kids just because they were born without a penis. He teaches them things he would have taught a son. He tells them to be kind to everyone. And love who they want (just no dating until they are thirty). He has taught them life skills, ways to be independent; the things I was taught as a young girl. But knowing their Dad has their back is the best thing he can do for them. Girls are complicated, girls are emotional, girls can be anything and everything they want and knowing that their Dad believes this too is the greatest thing he has ever done for them.
Here’s a small list of some of the stupid-awesome things my dad has done for me that have gone above and beyond the call of dad duty:
- driving me to see a friend’s shitty band play at Jaxx during a snow storm in high school
- driving into DC when I forgot concert tickets at home
- driving to Charlottesville to get me when my car broke down, then going back to get the car a few days later
- not disowning me for fucking up at college and allowing me to move back home after dropping out
- not dying when he had a surprise heart attack (very important)
- driving to DC in the middle of the night when I missed the last Metro home
- driving to somewhere outside of Baltimore in the middle of the night when my car broke down in the snow on the way home from a concert
- driving to Richmond at 2am to help me move out of a shitty ex-boyfriend’s house on no notice
- driving to Richmond in the middle of the day to help me move out of a shitty apartment on no notice
- providing legal advice when necessary (including “don’t do something that will require me to pick you up from jail”)
I’m definitely a fuck-up who has trouble showing how grateful I am, but I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without my dad – my #1 buddy. Thanks for everything you’ve done and continue to do (because I still don’t have my shit together), and for being one of the good ones.
I have an amazing partner. He’s my person in so many ways and I try to tell him that every day. He doesn’t just support me, he encourages me. He’s the reason I always have clean underpants and my credit score isn’t in the “YIIIIIIKES” category any more. He’s smart, he reads faster than I do (trust me, this is impressive), he’s interested in things, he makes me pee myself laughing, he’s got artistic talent and the swagger of someone who knows who the fuck they are. He’s been through some shit and has never given up. He’s the reason I have the (mostly) pleasure of raising two sons and I absolutely love parenting with him. He gets all the high-fives from me.
One of the biggest reasons I love him is because he listens. He sits through my intersectional feminist rants and pays attention and now recognizes The Patriarchy before I do (sometimes). He has never assumed I can’t do something or understand the world because I’m a woman. He respects me and my choices, he’s never shamed me for my past or who I am. He values my input and we have amazing conversations about the world and society. We don’t always agree, and we’re both okay with that, because we both realize the other is a fully-formed, autonomous adult entitled to their beliefs and convictions. He’s changed the way I view the world, and I’ve changed the way he does. He’s never been intimidated by me, at least not how most men in my life have been.
We are equals and partners. We have each other’s fucking backs no matter what. We trust one another and challenge each other and every goddamn day I’m happy that my life’s path crossed his. I love you, dearest, Happy Father’s Day.