Thursday, September 3, 2009

Guest Post - Sci-Fi Dad

Sometimes (originally, I was going to open with the word "often", but after perusing my archives in an attempt to quantify this fact I concluded that "sometimes" was more accurate) when I write about the time I spend with my daughter (such as our daddy-daughter dates or just playing with her toys), I get an email or a comment with a similar sentiment: that my actions now are establishing her expectations for other men in her life, or that I am teaching her what to look for in a man.

I fear that you give me far too much credit, dear reader, if you believe that. In all honesty, nothing could be further from the truth. I have no intention of defining what she should expect from men when she is older; I cannot even fathom her being older, let alone having any expectations of men. I appreciate the compliments - please don't misunderstand me and think otherwise - but you are praising me for something I had no intentions of doing.

The truth is that the motivation for that aspect of my parenting is far more basic. By the time I was eight or nine, both my father worked and my mother worked. When they weren't working, they were often out drinking (Dad) or sleeping (Mom). As a kid, I have many memories of wanting some of my parent's time but never actually getting it (or feeling like I didn't get enough). Combine that with what was, at best, a tenuous relationship with my father, and it is pretty clear where this explanation is headed.

I have long maintained that one's parenting style is based on how they were parented themselves. This is yet another example to prove my theory. I don't want my daughter to grow up feeling like she didn't get enough of my time. I want her to remember that I took the time for just the two of us to go out, that we played with toys she wanted to play with, that she felt like she and her happiness were important to me. I don't want her growing up knowing I love her; I want her to grow up feeling that I love her.

It will be the same with my son. I will take him out (admittedly I will not call them "dates") and I will play with whatever toys he wants to play with too (hopefully it's trucks and Lego; playing with dolls will be OK too, but I'd like a little break from the pink and the girly that his sister favours sometimes). I will not do it because I want to establish expectations for his future, I will do it for the same reasons I do it for my daughter: because they are my kids, and I love them.


ZenMom said...

"I have no intention of defining what she should expect from men when she is older"

Ah, but, intentional or not ... you ARE creating a baseline for her future interactions with men.

Not just in your personal interactions with her as her father, but in the example you set in your relationship with her mother.

I think you're right that most of us base our parenting styles on our own upbringing - whether through emulation or rebellion.

Similarly, daughters very often use their fathers as the measuring stick for most other men in their lives. Consciously or not, fathers are (usually) our first and most influential model of what a "man" is "supposed" to be and do.

But, hey, no pressure. ;)

"Don't worry that your children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you." ~ Robert Fulghum

TentCamper said...

Loved the post and I agree with you 100%.

I love to spend time with my kids, doing pretty much anything they want to do. I don't remember having an involved father and hate that about my past. ( I will be there for my any and every way that I can.

Danielle said...

VERY well said!

Amber said...

it's funny when you become a parent how much it makes you think of your own childhood, and as things go along the, points out different perspectives there are on your own childhood.

Lynn said...

Awesome father shows his daughter love by spending time with her and enjoys doing so.

dadshouse said...

Well then, don't take it as a compliment, take it as a warning. Or simply take it as observational truth. How you interact with your daughter, good or bad, goes a long way toward defining the type of man she'll be with. The thing is, it's the unconscious stuff you do that will probably stick with her most. How you treat other people, how you react to situations. She'll look for those things in a man someday. You watch.

Sounds like you're doing great, btw.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Great post! It's so good to see you over here!

Your daughter and son are lucky. You even thinking about their desire to be wanted and loved just be spending quality time with them just shows what an incredible father you are.

Great read as always!

TentCamper said...

OK everyone...This is where we all get together and plead with Mr. Sci Fi to come join Hot Dads for real!!!!

Unleash your begging powers, show him your boobs...whatever it takes!!

Trooper Thorn said...

It doesn't matter how great you are Dad. When she's 13, she'll be screaming she hates you and blame you for ruining her life because she can't have a sleep-over on a school night (eventhough every other girl in the county is).

Enjoy it now.

SciFi Dad said...

@Zen - The original title of this post was "Intentions"; I know that I'm an example of a lot of things for my kids; they learn from me in everything I do.

@TentCamper - (nodding head) Yep.

@Danielle - Thank you.

@Amber - It's something I have written about more than once at my personal blog. I try to be the "anti-" my dad.

@Lynn - Agreed.

@dadshouse - Like I said to Zen, I am very aware that I am being watched all the time (and not just by the creepy people in the bushes behind my house).

@Shelle - Your words humble me. Thank you.

@TentCamper - I'm thinking about it.

@Trooper - Uh, not to be confrontational, but I don't think that stereotype is necessarily predetermined. Sure there will be days where she and I disagree, but I don't expect to have the kind of relationship with her that you describe. Maybe it's naive of me, but I believe that if we build a foundation now, that her adolescence will not be as tumultuous as others.

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Bloggin Betty said...

Involved Dads are the greatest...and they are the ones who get the greatest satisfaction about having children!

Missty said...

Great post!! And I think we do measure our parents as to what type of parenting we will do. Mine were worse than crappy - so I figure just do everything the opposite of what they did, and all will be good.

And you know its working! lol

Your a great dad.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

My parents spent a lot of time with my sister and I as kids. My dads job as a firefighter allowed him to be home several days during the week and my mom was a teacher so she was away from home the same time we were. We spent a lot of time at the lake, camping, snow skiing and doing things as a family.

I hope that I'm making those same memories for my kids. We often go to see my parents at the same lake where I spent a lot of my childhood. I know at least for my son who is seven that these times at the lake with his father, myself and his grandparents, cousins and aunt and uncle are treasured times.

I hope that when my kids grow up and have children of their own they will also spend time like this with their children because of the example I've set for them.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

My dad and I were really close when I was growing up. He'd often be the one to pick me up and take me to my dance lessons (which were down in North York, lol, twice a week). I always remember going out for lunch or dinner dates together. Also, on our family vacations to Myrtle Beach, SC we always have one breakfast together just the two of us at this one particular pancake house.

We've been close my entire life, and I love hanging out with him still.

Martin is quite a lot like my dad, personality and likes/dislikes wise... I truly do think that my dad showed me what a good man and good father is, and I've found those qualities in my own significant other. I want MY children to have the same happy, loving childhood that I had.

You sound like the type of dad my dad was, and you are setting yourself up to have a very wonderful relationship with, Munchkin (Oh c'mon, I read your wife's blog too, hard to keep these pseudonyms straight!) LOL).

Great post!

tom the girl said...

i need some hot dads in my life ='(


Daddy Geek Boy said...

My dad taught me many things on the road to adulthood, but one of the things that sticks out the most is when we would be in the car and he'd say out of the blue, "Let's buy some flowers for mom."

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