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We’re hard-headed guys with an over-abundance of testosterone and a noticeable lack of listening ability. That’s the message that much of the world sends about us. Just look at any television ad or other product placement coming out of Madison Avenue in the last couple decades. There’s no mystery as to why: Moms spend most of the money. They also take care of the kids, know how to deal with the cleaning, the house, the bills, you name it, Mom has to have some sort of handle on it.
By no means am I saying that’s an untrue statement.
And dad . . . he has a tendency to be a bit too athletic, obsessed with sports, grilling, and God knows what other things. Dad likes to fix things. A friend of mine used to use the analogy that guys don’t over-think. We don’t read signs, signals, and “hints.” We need a two-by-four to the head. Truer words have never been spoken.
But then you come across guys like me. We like sports. We keep an unfinished guitar neck in the closet just in case that boy who meets your disapproval comes knocking at your door to date your daughter. No . . . not that one, the younger one, who’s not allowed to date yet.
But there are a lot of guys out there like me; guys who, through no fault or forethought of their own end up being the sole parent. Mom isn’t in the picture, in fact, she isn’t going to be any more. Some are like me, widowed. Others are divorced with sole custody and Mom isn’t in the picture. Some are gay, straight, white, African-American, Hispanic, Asian . . . you get the picture.
What isn’t out there is an abundance of information for those men. For mom – and I’m not saying it’s easier, far from it – some of these issues come with the territory of being gender-specific. How do you buy a training bra? What do you tell your daughter when she leaks over on her panties at that time of the month? What happens when the discussion of maxi-pad versus tampon comes which leads to the ultimate question of virginity and sex again.
I have had those issues. My middle daughter – the tomboy – wants to know how to do her makeup, which I’ve never dealt with. Her sister, Abbi, is planning on helping her before she goes to college. I’m lucky. My wife, Andrea, helped Abbi learn much of this before she passed away. What if she hadn’t?
I taught my daughters how they had to shave their legs – something no Dad ever feels comfortable dealing with teaching. I push my pubescent teens to clean their faces with the proper washes not just soap.
I learned you have to measure your daughter’s busts when getting a prom dress. Broach that subject with your teenage daughter and be a male!
Even with help I made all of those mistakes. I cook. Mistakes many kids avoid due to the fact that mom is there to help. Those moms who need help have a myriad of resources on the net that help them. Dads don’t have a lot of help with those most female of things: makeup; menstruation; breast size; bras; dating and sex; things boys and girls think far differently about at ages 13-18.
I get a lot of that phrase: “I don’t know how you do it . . . “ when people learn I’ve entered the fray and survived. What I don’t get is a lot of respect or realization . . . that Dad can do it.
We need that two-by-four, but we’re not heartless. We do it when we have to, because just like their mothers before us we realize that these kids are the most important things.
All we are saying is give dads a chance.
What about you? Do you see that single dad, or assume they know too much? Do you think the dads – married or single – can hack it? Or do you ask that question up there?
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Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California. A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife, Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.