Friday, August 25, 2006

Insecure Dads

It's no wonder so many moms struggle with low self-esteem, the way our
society has created these impossibly high expectations for mom
performance. The archetypal mother is literally a superhero: able to
juggle a rat-race career with the domestic responsibilities of staying
on top of a proliferation of parenting responsibilities, tending to
the immaculately manicured home and garden, and being the perfect
wife, daughter, sister, and friend . . . all while doing enough
Pilates and spinning to maintain a toned body and fit into that size 4
slinky black dress.

There aren't nearly as many ads and mags focused on new dads, so it
can get unnoticed that we of the Y chromosome are just as susceptible
to parenting insecurity and impossible standards. Especially us
Christian dads, who you'd think would have a category for extending
grace upon ourselves. We struggle to work hard to support our
families AND be home at reasonable hours to spend our time with the
wife and kids AND show that we're enlightened men by doing our share
of the domestic stuff AND make time for our guy friends and our
professional networking and our community service.

So it's nice for me that I've had so many enriching conversations with
other new dad friends who seek to parent in such a context. It's not
so much that we're reassuring each other that we're actually doing an
OK job or spurring each other on to do an even better job. It's just
the being in the moment with another dad whose worldview, struggles,
and insecurities are close to yours. There's a camaraderie there that
goes a long way towards giving yourself room to just be yourself and
not some uber-dad.

In the midst of my journey as a father, I'm so appreciative of other
fathers who have gone before me and other fathers that go with me.
Maybe in the next few years, there will be a proliferation of dad mags
in the same vein as the mom mags, which guilt us into thinking we need
to do more and be more in the name of reading on so we'll know how. I
won't be reading on -- that just takes away time I could be spending
connecting with other dads, the real resource for better parenting.

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