The beer of choice for today’s active and involved dad is most likely to be A) impossible to find in a can, B) heavy and filling, and C) made by a quirky-named company that has been established since I was born in 1981.
(Samuel Adams, America’s largest craft brewery, was only established in 1984.)
Microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, are identified as “small, independent, and traditional.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but at least for myself, I see a co-relation between microbrewed beer and the modern American dad:
I tend to see myself as an underdog (small), confident in my unique identity (independent), and quite nostalgic (traditional).
As a child of The Eighties, I was regularly told that I could do anything if I believed in myself, put my mind to it, and just said no to drugs. Now as an adult, I’m dealing with the repercussions of that over-inflated truth/false hope.
Sure, we’re all special. But that’s the problem; we’re all special.
So it totally makes sense that us Generation Y and latter Generation X dads don’t mind being perceived as different, open-minded, and maybe even a little bit weird; in a good way.
Even if I’m simply a fleshed-out part of a well-marketed demographic, I am that modern American dad who regularly compares notes of the most recent unheard-of brand of microbrewed beer that happened to be on sale at Kroger this week.
It’s a mindset against drunkenness and irresponsibility and the need to escape from our fatherly duties; as I feel light beer in a can is often associated with.
Instead, it’s an appreciation for the finer things in life. It’s like being a responsible beer connoisseur makes you part of this cool club of relevant dads.
Maybe after a lifetime of exposure to the opening credits of Cheers, I want to be like those sophisticated, mustachioed gentlemen who lived before my grandparents were even born.
I suddenly feel the need to grow an ironic mustache.
It felt good to read such an on-target article reiterating what I’ve been saying for a long time. Here’s the meat of it:
“The garden-variety parent, regardless of gender, suffers from sleep deprivation, wrangles pickups for play dates and hopelessly dodges pointy little plastic things strewn across the kitchen floor…”.
Chaet goes on to point out in her article that for many parenting couples under the age of 30, Mommy is now making more money than Daddy:
“But as the family dynamic has changed, with more women becoming educated and entering the workforce and men sharing more of the load at home, the doofus dad—an increasingly extinct figure in the culture—nonetheless has remained a fixture in some ad campaigns.”
Like many Generation Y dads, I don’t make as much money as my wife; not to mention she has a Master’s Degree and I don’t.
So if I can’t be the main bread winner or the most educated, I at least want to know I can get one thing right these days: being a good dad.
Therefore, it’s never funny or cute for anyone (whether in my private life or on a TV commercial) to portray me as anything less than competent as a husband and father.
No, I don’t have to be drawn up like I’m Superdad. But just as I wouldn’t want my wife to be portrayed in a condescending manner in pop culture as a mom, I don’t want to be an outdated stereotype either.
It’s not just being represented as a Doofus Dad that annoys me. I also loathe being lumped into the categories of Dead-Beat Dad, Absentee Dad, or at best, Would-Rather-Watch-Sports-Than-Spend-Time-With-My-Kid Dad.
My first reaction was “Oh, cool! I can write about that tonight. It proves the importance of dads playing rough with their kids.”
Fifteen seconds later it hit me: “But wait… duh! Doesn’t every dad already know that? Is that really even news?”
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The researchers believe that the most important aspect of this play is that it gives children a sense of achievement when they ‘defeat’ a more powerful adult, building their self-confidence and concentration. However, fathers who resist their children, can also teach them the life lesson that, in life, you don’t always win. The act of a stronger adult holding back that strength also helps to build trust between father and child.”
I’m sorry to sound too 1993 with my use of the word “duh!” but I could have told you that.
“I play the big scary monster who hides behind the couch and charges towards him to give him a big ‘daddy hug.’ It’s a way for him to test his strength against mine, as he knows I’m no real danger to him. I’m simply his training coach.”
It’s always funny to me when we have to pay experts to confirm what the rest of us normal folks have known all along. No one had to tell me that each evening when my son invites me to wrestle with him on the blow-up mattress randomly (and unnecessarily) placed in the middle of our living room floor, he’s not simply wanting to burn off energy.
He is wanting to be re-enforced the truth that he has someone strong enough to protect him.
Sure, I scare him when I chase him down the hall pretending to be a ferocious lion: He laughs as he screams from the thrill.
When he feels my scratchy face against his, he is reminded that I provide power and strength for him.
In case you’re not familiar with what Daddy Coupons are, they’re tokens that can be redeemed as acts of service from child to dad.
Most importantly, these Daddy Coupons create an opportunity for your kids to show their thankfulness and gratitude to their father by physically demonstrating in simple ways that they love him.
Let me run through the 6 Daddy Coupons to help give some background on my intentions for each one:
1 Hour Uninterrupted Nap Time: I came up with this one first for a reason- because it’s my favorite. Man, on 2nd thought, I should have made it a 2 hour, or maybe 4 hour, nap.
1 Free Favorite Dinner: The idea I had in mind here is that the kids help Mommy prepare and cook Daddy’s favorite meal. But maybe it would be more fun just to go out to eat at Daddy’s favorite restaurant or order in from there? Your call.
1 Free Week Off Trash Duty: Was it sexist of me to assume it should be one of Dad’s jobs to take out the trash, as needed? Well, I’m okay with that.
1 Dad’s Choice Game Day: Whether it means watching a weekend game on TV with dad, going out to the park to throw a frisbee, or playing Daddy’s favorite game on the Wii… just have fun!
1 Week Free Beverage Service: I think of some outdated image from a 1960′s magazine ad where Dad comes home from a hard day’s work and is greeted with an appropriate beverage… whatever that happens to be in your household. This Daddy Coupon, along with the next one, is a bit on the silly side. But I think a classic (and now irrelevant) throwback to black-and-white TV fatherhood makes things fun for everyone. Especially Dad.
1 Week Free Slipper Delivery: Imagine Daddy being ushered into his slippers and robe (and golden crown?) by his children for a week. Do you have that ridiculous image in your head? Good. That’s why this Daddy Coupon made it to the list.
Unfortunately, there was only room for 6 coupons. In case you are wondering which Daddy Coupon didn’t make the cut…
1 Free Year Toenail Clipping Service: Because, hey, how could that possibly go wrong? Ouch!
Never in my life have I ever watched a full episode of the classic TV sitcom, Cheers. Until about 20 minutes ago.
I just finished the first episode on Netflix. It was simple and warm and charming. I loved time-traveling back to 1982; interestingly, I myself was a year and a half when the show first premiered.
But despite just now actually watching Cheers, I have been a huge fan of the theme song for my entire life.
The way I see it, this “average Joe anthem” written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo is only 2nd to “In My Life” by The Beatles, as far as The Best Song Ever Written.
The intertwining music and lyrics are perfectly melancholy yet hopeful; yearning yet found. What human being can’t relate to this?
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”
Life is hard. Financial insecurities? I got ‘em. Uncertainty on how my life is supposed to play out? Yep.
Especially today in particular.
But I am blessed enough to come home to a beautiful wife and a magnificent son who take me just as I am. Actually, they take me for more than I am.
As we all sat on the kitchen floor tonight for some unrehearsed family time, Jack unfolded his scrappy coloring book and pulled out his pathetically worn-out crayons.
He likes to assign crayons to Jill and I as he colors the destined-to-be-a-scribbled-mess pages.
“Dada?” He held up the yellow crayon like a good friend offering a premium beer.
For times like these when my life feels like a clusterfog, I especially want to go where everybody knows my name, where they’re always glad I came, and where I can see troubles are all the same.
Where, as a family, we know whatever happens, we’re in this thing together.