I’ve written candidly about Mother’s Day and all the ways I think the commercialization of it fucks up our relationships with our moms. My own relationship with my mom has been easy because … well, she’s awesome. But my complex relationship to fatherhood makes both talking and writing about it difficult.
There are two people in my life that I call Dad – my biological father and my stepfather. I have very different relationships with each of them and writing about one without mentioning the other feels like a weird act of disloyalty. But this Father’s Day, I’m letting go of that and writing about redemption and it’s relationship to fatherhood.
My biological father has a colorful past; he talks openly and nostalgically about his time as a drug dealer and his stint in prison. I remember bits and pieces of it. One time when I was small, my mother took my sister and me and my brother to the prison to see him. We pressed our dirty, little hands against the impassable glass partition that separated us and talked over a black phone that connected the two sides of the glass. When my dad was released, my parents were separated and we were shuffled back and forth between them every other weekend. My parents were young when they had my twin sister and me — just 21 and 22. Now, having a brother who is 25 and a father, it puts into perspective what it must have been like for my dad to have kids at that age. Keep reading »
This piece is crossposted with permission from Role/Reboot.
My dad grew up a poor boy from a small fishing village, just minutes away from the site of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” He spent his childhood playing along the walls of the great Venetian fortress. His village dates back to antiquity, his childhood colonialism, and his youth decolonization. He fled his country to get educated and build a better life in New York City. And he did. With graduate degrees from an elite institution under his belt, he rose up the corporate ladder and married two times to American women. Despite all his economic progress, he held fast to tradition.
I grew up a middle class girl in a suburban town just minutes away from New York City. I spent my childhood playing soccer and hanging out at the mall. My town dates back to the postwar era, my childhood consumerism, and my youth social justice. I fled my country to get a more affordable education and build a global dream of equity in Montreal. And I did. With graduate degrees from elite institutions under my belt, I moved through the social justice industry living and working in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. Despite all my cultural development, I fought to change my father. Keep reading »
The Wall Street Journal published an article this week about “a new model of at-home fatherhood,” spawned by the rise of stay-at-home dads and inclusiveness of fathers in the day-to-day parenting. While the WSJ wasn’t quite arguing that parenting is all duded up and bro-ed out, it did argue that stay-at-home dads have put a “distinctly masculine stamp on child rearing and home life.”
Yes, there is research to back up the claim that the relatively small amount of stay-at-home dads — who comprise only 3.6 percent of all SAH parents — do rear children differently than the larger sample of stay-at-home mothers (an elite 18 percent of male-female couples). SAHDs allow their children to take more safety risks and also plan more spontaneous trips.
But I just don’t see how those traits are being ascribed as “masculine.” Surely there are mothers who don’t hover over their child’s every move? Surely there are mothers who are spontaneous? The WSJ interviewed fathers who do things like take their kids to the park and on errands to Home Depot (where a toddler “studied different kinds of hammers”) … because moms don’t take their kids to the park and run errands, I guess? Keep reading »
Today would have been my father’s 65th birthday. He died this past Thursday, in his sleep, after a 15-year battle with drug addiction and untreated mental illness. I found out on Friday, my 33rd birthday. The last time I heard from my dad was two weeks prior to his death, in an email sent from an internet cafe in Hilo, Hawaii, the town near where he lived. The power was out at his house and had been for two months, because he couldn’t pay his bill. I hadn’t spoken to him, or written to him, or acknowledged him at all since March. Our relationship was, over the years, wonderful and difficult and horrible and bittersweet. He taught me many things and helped shape the person I am today. I’m overwhelmed with sadness, but also relieved that he won’t be in, or cause, pain anymore. Keep reading »
We’ve been hearing from real dads about teaching their daughters that they are smart and beautiful and that girls can do anything boys can do. Today we tackle the motherlode — her, fatherlode? — of parenting topics: dads imparting wisdom on love, dating, and sex.
For advice, I turned to Tony, the father of three girls under the age of nine; Adam, the father of two daughters under the age of four; Jim, the father of a nine-year-old girl; Joe (AKA Frisky commenter _JSW_), the father of two girls under the age of twelve; and Jesse, the father of three girls under eight.
Read on for their fab (and adorable) advice… Keep reading »
Yesterday, we heard from real dads about teaching their daughters that they are smart and beautiful. Today, real dads tell us how they teach their daughters that girls can do anything boys can do.
For advice, I turned to Tony, the father of three girls under the age of nine; Adam, the father of two daughters under the age of four; Jim, the father of a nine-year-old girl; Joe (AKA Frisky commenter _JSW_), the father of two girls under the age of twelve; and Jesse, the father of three girls under eight. Over the next several days, I’ll be sharing with you some of their fab (and adorable) advice.
How a dad can teach his daughter that “girls rule!” after the jump: Keep reading »