The next time somebody calls me an “involved dad,” I think I might just scream.
Not that the term is inaccurate. I mean, I sure am involved in my son’s life – we’re more or less joined at the hip. But if you see a mother wearing her baby around the supermarket, do you praise her for her “involvement” in her child’s upbringing? Or do you just compliment her on her ability to juggle her groceries and infant into (and then back out of) the car?
When it’s a father carrying a child, though, the world seems to stop and take notice. The attention that we get isn’t exactly bad for my ego – nor does Micah really seem to mind it so much. (He’s already a bigger flirt than I ever was.) But there’s just something about that word that irks me. As far as I’m concerned, I’m just doing my best to be a good dad. Maybe there are other guys out there who are particularly uninvolved?
Perhaps I take my adjectives a bit too seriously; after all, I do spend much of my time playing around with words. I understand that the family role I’ve taken on is outside of the status quo, and that by many standards I’m fortunate to have the leisure to take my son shopping for food in the middle of the day. But you know what? Using words like involved for fathers like me only serves to perpetrate the perception that my lifestyle is (and by implication should remain) abnormal.
For what it’s worth, it means a lot to me that people seem to dig my parenting style. But I hope that it’s because of the ways in which I care for my son, and not simply because I’m a man doing it.