Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I Must Be An Alien

It's getting embarrassing. Everywhere I go, I get comments from random women on how "wonderful" I am. Leaving the beach today some lady stopped me and said, "Can I just say 'you are a terrific dad'?" And that was after three others had preceded her with praise.

It wasn't like I was lying in the sand building castles with my brood. For the past three hours I had been constantly disciplining, scolding, refereeing, and threatening my two children as they moped and sulked their way about the crowded beach (after we just drove 1,600 miles to get here!). I doubt I smiled for an instant throughout! Neither today nor yesterday were what I would call *good* days at the beach. Apparently there aren't enough un-daycared age-mates here for my son to play with. How long before he's complaining, "Ah Dad, it's all 'old coots' here AGAIN,"???

Welcome to Florida, Little C-Nut!

It must be a rare sight, seeing a man minding two small children. Or perhaps women have such a low opinion of us men that any competent father is a sight to behold.

Yesterday at the beach some betty remarked to me, "I can't imagine my husband taking our two kids to the beach by himself....He can't do that. He's [hesitating]...he does other stuff....I hope."

I have no idea how to respond to these *compliments* which make me a bit uncomfortable. Say *thank you*? Why? For doing what I consider normal responsible parenting?

Believe me, I am no perfect parent. I yell too much. I'm too strict and too impatient. Tonight I had my son finishing up his math at 8:30pm with tears running down his face. I told him the slower he went the more pages he would have to do in his Kumon Simple Addition Workbook. My wife accuses me of *managing* my kids because I won't let them play with stuff (e.g. paint) that will potentially increase my workload. But a full-time parent has to think that way. My personal sanity is job one.

Getting back to the compliments, me, myself, and my ego....

So women trust men to run this entire overheated planet, and at the same time they think men so inept that they'll genuflect at a single work-at-home DILF who can deftly manage a poop explosion diaper at the beach.

Are the broads flippant or are they right? Are today's fathers in fact categorically incompetent?

Or do all these compliments derive from my midriff?

The comments do seem to uptick when I'm at the beach!

Don't laugh. It's not just the women who are smitten by it. Here's an honest-to-God email I received the other day:

Wanted to tell you too that you have an incredible physique for -if I may say in a youth obsessed culture- an older guy- I am approaching 50 and work out and try to maintain fitness, and you are an inspiration-- keep up the good work.

Going to be 80 degrees again tomorrow.

What I like about this climate, and time of the year, is the early evening. You go to the beach, swim, or work out during the day, shower up, feel all rejuvenated and go out for dinner or a post-prandial.....and it's quiet and cool outside. The fresh air is amazing. Summer evenings up north are spoiled by biting insects that are few and far between here.


Anonymous said...

Going to go out on a limb: Fathers today are actually, on the whole, better than previous generations. As a group we are decidedly more involved in our kids lives than our parents, and their parents were. Think of the baby boomers with the fictional beaver family. Dad gone all day, mom home with the kids. Now all the old coots never really did much parenting but they have no problem giving you dirty looks when you are playing with your children, disciplining, etc. They always look at you like "I never let my kid do that"-yeah right, that's because they never did anything with their kids. Old coot mom's however have a completely different attitude.

From one dad who does a lot of parenting to another.

Slow out.

CaptiousNut said...

My little one is the real problem. All day long I am screaming at her NOT TO DO something. She's indomitable, unflappable, and incorrigible.

Must all be from her mother's side.

I've never thought about analyzing parenting from the perspective of 'old coot' versus 'young coot'. That type of divisive *age warfare* is not something I condone!