I Choose Daddy

by Abby on October 17, 2012

Fun dadMy first-grader has a new friend. One day Miles remarked, “I’ve never seen his dad.”

“That’s because he lives with his mom. His parents are divorced.” In the simplest terms I could, I explained what that meant.

“Will you and Daddy ever do that?” I assured him we wouldn’t.

He thought about this a moment and then said, “Well, if you did, I would want to live with Daddy. He’s more fun.”

After I pried the dagger from my heart and picked up the pieces of my shattered ego off my dirty kitchen floor, I was able to see his comment for what it was. From his perspective, his dad’s the one who comes home from work and wrestles with him and his brother. Lets them play with his iPad. Laughs at their potty jokes. Makes up funny bedtime stories. On Saturdays, aka “Daddy Day,” he makes them pancakes, takes them to the gym, the playground, out to lunch, and sometimes to Target to buy a toy.

I started to protest, to make the case that I ALSO do all those things with him and his brother, but I let it go. From a 6yo boy’s POV, Dad’s the fun one and Mom’s the one who makes him eat his vegetables and change his socks.

I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t hurt my feelings a little. My worst nightmare is that I spend all these years sacrificing and slaving away for my sons – and not in a martyr, “after all I do for you kids” sort of way, but because I love them dearly and genuinely want them to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings – and then they grow up and leave me.

I’ve seen it happen a million times. What’s that saying? “A daughter’s a daughter all of her life, a son’s a son till he takes a wife”? How many women do you know who adore their mothers-in-law? Well, *I* do, actually, but I know I’m in the minority. And I certainly don’t call her or visit her as much as my own mom.

But I’m getting off track. Back to my son choosing his dad over me. I can see how to a kid, Dad going down the waterslide with you is more impressive than Mom packing the lunch and sunscreen and towels. (And I won’t even MENTION who forgot to put the bag of towels in the car and wouldn’t ask for directions to the waterpark, causing us to go AN HOUR out of our way!!)

Honestly, I’m glad my sons have a fun, involved dad who likes spending time with them. They’re lucky boys. And I’d like to think that someday they’ll realize they’re also lucky to have a mom who loves and takes good care of them, even if she does spend more time cooking, cleaning, and signing permission slips than wrestling with them. Laundry and grocery shopping may pale in comparison to soccer games and the arcade, but it’s only fun and games until you run out of clean underwear and Cheerios.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy at kissing the frog October 17, 2012 at 7:31 am

This is right on so many levels. At my house, Dad plays chase after showers and Mom wrestles little boys into pajamas. That saying about boys and their wives … ugh, I could cry just thinking about it. I love my MIL, too, but I always go to my mom first. I love your last line, BTW.


Pamela October 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

oh boy, this is so true. And even now, in the grandparent stage, I bring my grandsons trains, books, freshly made c.c. cookies, smiles, hugs, and we all get along great. HOWEVER, when my husband (their PaPa) arrives (late from a work meeting…) the decible level rises three times in their excitement to see him, and they chant “PaPa, PaPa, PaPa.”


Nadine Feldman October 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

Yep, same in my home, too! Even though our kids are grown, I often complain to hubby that it’s not fair that he’s always the “good cop.”


Kathleen Basi October 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I think this is pretty universal. They come to us to dispose of their dirty diapers, dirty Kleenexes and so on, and they ask Daddy to help with the fun stuff. But then again, they also come to us for the heartbreak, and that’s pretty precious.

Still, it never stops smarting!


emc October 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Dads are always the “fun one”. My dear husband will sometimes tell me “it’s your turn to be the ‘fun one.’ We need to make sure they know you are fun too.”


jetts31 October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

My kids go back and forth on which one of us they like. All depends on what time we make them go to bed I think.
Right now, my youngest likes my wife best and my oldest likes me better. I’m planning on both of us being hated when they reach their teenage years though.

And not to worry. I thought my dad was more fun as a kid but as I got older, it was my mom. Your boys will not only gravitate back to your orbit but they will become fiercely protective of their mom. And if you’re lucky and they are able to be on television or in front of a camera one day, they will inevitably say hi to you and not your husband.


Abby October 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thanks, Jimmy, that actually does make me feel better!


Heidi Smith Luedtke October 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

We must live in parallel universes. I bought a glass dining room table because I figured it was completely indestructible… And it is. But I have to wipe toe prints off the top and bottom of the table top every day. My children are like monkeys when they eat. And this is why we don’t dine out.


Abby October 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

We have a glass table too! Who would’ve thought we’d have to clean both sides of it. 🙁


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