“I’m havin' a bad, bad day
If you take it personal, that's okay
Watch, this is so fun to see
Ah, despicable me…”
— Pharrell Williams
That's what can bring Daddysaur's to their knees, one incremental yet non-intentional emasculating moment at a time.
The plan was for the Mama to take Bea to a playdate with a classmate, then Bryce would have a date with Daddy to go to the store and then enjoy a slice of pizza together. Unfortunately that didn't go so well -- Bryce wanted nothing more than to go with the Mama and Bea to the playdate, but that wasn't a choice for her.
"I'm better now, Daddy," she said.
I smiled. "I'm glad, Sweetie."
That's when I realized I didn't have the grocery list. The inner storm churned again and we ended up just going home.
Not her fault, but tough nonetheless, to feel like an emasculated failure who can't communicate with a 3.5 year old. No matter what I said, nothing helped. Not surprising considering that children this age have a tough time listening. According to Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, by Jane Nelsen, ED.D., Cheryl Erwin, M.A., and Roslyn Ann Duffy, children don't listen because:
- Adults don't ask a child what she should or should not be doing, but tell her.
- Adults set up power struggles that make winning more important than cooperating.
- The child cannot comply with a request because it demands social skills or thinking skills that have not yet developed.
And many other things. Not that these directly applied to my scenario, but because Bryce doesn't have the social/thinking skills needed to assess why she was going with me and not the Mama, she wanted nothing to do with going with me.
It's bad enough (or good enough -- no judgement mommies) that when we attend a school event like we did the other day, a rainy day arts and crafts festival where the kids could go from table to table and paint and glue and do other things, that most of the parents there are mommies, not daddies.
Even with more women in the workplace today and more men staying at home, anecdotally we tend to still fall into these traditional caregiver/breadwinner roles and no matter how much we may lean in either way to compromise and help one another (regardless if you're an opposite-sex or same-sex couple), the breadwinner loses with the kids because they spend much less nurturing time overall with the kids.
It's not anybody's fault, especially the todders; they are more comfortable with the primary nurturers and don't have the coping skills to know the difference yet. That's just the way it is, so the "Daddysaur's" shouldn't take these overreactions seriously. We shouldn't, but we do.
Which is why I need to take a little break from the family action yesterday. In doing so, both girls missed me and even Bea felt my angst, being such a feeler like me. The Mama, of course, just wanted to understand and help me work through it.
Damn you girls. I'm a nurturer, too. Daddysaur loves you.
"Ah, despicable me..."