Father’s day reflections

Being a father of two teenage boys, it’s been a rough 15 months. Not just for me, but for all concerned. Whether or not you believe in the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t deny the effects it’s had on our lives and our lives to come.

Most parents try to protect their kids from threats seen and unseen. Mostly, you want your kids to learn from their mistakes and to learn from yours too. This way helps them prepare for when they’re on their own.

Being confined and worrying whether you or your loved ones were going to get sick from this unseen deadly threat threw me for a loop. Anxiety levels were high, and I wanted to bubble wrap my kids to protect them from COVID.

Trying to control the uncontrollable didn’t do me or those around me any good. If anything, it made me a worse father even on Father’s day.

Father’s Day

When Father’s day rolls around it makes me reflect on my role as a father and it makes me think of my own deceased father. I looked up to my dad and I tried to please him all the time. Make him proud. But l was a kid, and he was a flawed man who did his best with the tools he was given.

Like a lot of father-son relationships it was a rocky one, but i loved him, and he loved me.

My father had a temper and he used anger to lash out when frustrated to control my mother, me, and my siblings. I’d swear I wouldn’t be like him, and I wouldn’t make the same mistakes as him. But that was just talk because when push came to shove this learnt behavior overwhelmed me.

That’s when I started going to therapy.  Because I tried unsuccessfully to shake what was deep inside of me. Not only was I hurting myself, but I was also hurting others also. Having an uncontrollable temper not knowing when you’re about to blow is no way to live.

So, I did and continue to do something about it.

But going to therapy hasn’t stopped me from making mistakes with my boys and wife. I haven’t always set the best example as a husband; father and I continue to fall short.

But I’ve been present and shown up every day even when l haven’t felt like it.

Being a father (or mother), you get to wake up in the morning and do better. You get a chance to right some wrongs. And you do this by showing up every day.

Gender Stereotypes

This is in no way meant to discount women who have gotten (and still getting) the rough end of the stick when it comes to equality. I’m pointing out from my perspective of being a father of two boys in the social media era.

Let’s go with male stereotypes on the broadcast medium for $400 Alex

Men are portrayed (for the most part) as either

Stupid

Macho

Aggressive

Hyper muscular

Monsters (rapist, murders, molesters etc.) Note- For good reason. Just pointing it out.

Sexist

Clueless

Okay, I think you get the point. Every time one of these are reinforced, I cringe. Women fought for years to get the housewife, in the kitchen, good for one thing and serve the man’s every need stereotype out of the broadcast medium. But it’s still okay to stereotype men?

Now this happens less than it used to, but it still happens.

If your kids were to believe in every stereotype on how to act, what to look like and what a real man or woman is, they would certainly be confused. Therefore, parents always need to be there for their kids to help clear up this confusion.

Being ‘A Real Man’ Is Hard

If you’re a ‘real man’ (as opposed to a fake one) you’re supposed to be strong and sensitive but not too sensitive. Cry but don’t cry in front of other men. Be able to provide for one’s family. Fix things and be good with your hands. Take orders, give orders and be ready to defend one’s honor at a drop of a hat.

Finally, know everything about every sport in existence.

Again, this list could go on and on, but you get the point. 

It’s difficult to fit the stereotype of being a ‘real man’. If you’re anything like me, you see other men who you think fit this stereotype and you feel you fall short. You wonder why you’re not like them and discount the talents you do have. Then you may question whether you’re a real man or not.

I’ve been here plenty of times.

But I remind myself of the one thing that makes me a man. You know. ‘that thing’ between a man’s legs. That’s all you need to be a man. So, if you’re reading and questioning your role as a man, remind yourself of this one fact and rest comfortably. Stereotypes be damned.

Wrapping Up

Trying to measure up and trying to control the uncontrollable made me a worse father. I was more angry, anxious, and slow to act on my kids’ real concerns. This past 15 months has shined a light on my shortcomings as a parent. Plus, combined with the pandemic it’s been by the far the most difficult time of my ‘parenting career’.

And if it weren’t for therapy and exercise, I would be in a much different place by now.

What’s the point of this post?

If you’re a father (or mother) who’s struggling raising kids in the social media stereotype era, then you’re not alone. Talk to other parents about it.

And if you can afford it, seek some sort of counselling. Having a qualified professional to lend a listening ear and to give you tools to deal with life and parenting will make things easier.

Because we cannot go through this life thing alone.

3 Comments

  1. Reggie

    Excellent, well thought, very open & honest post my Friend.

  2. Monica Arredondo

    Excellent article. I appreciate your openness!!

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