Fathers are full-time parents, who deserve so much more than socks one Sunday a year. I can never understand why folk ask my husband if he is babysitting when he is out with our gang… “Is he babysitting?” I don’t think so. Babysitting just sounds like “not quite parenting.” Sort of a stand-in for the real thing. No, my husband is not babysitting at all, he is parenting. He is just as able to make a pile of sandwiches for lunch as I am, and far better than I am at teaching kids life-skills…
After nearly sixteen years of parenting and not a day of his life spent babysitting our father person has pretty clear ideas of the sort of gifts he wouldn’t like for Father’s Day
- Breakfast in Bed: While he can handle sharing his bed with countless tousled heads, associated piles of picture books, matchbox cars, lego pieces… and dare I say a few nature finds from the beach… Breakfast crumbs would be crossing the line!!!
- Kids Cooking Breakfast for Him: On a Sunday morning, the one day a week we have to be up and out the door by 8:30, is not the day that the our father person wants anyone to cook breakfast. Grab breakfast on the way out the door – for sure. Not to mention it would help if we got to church with quiet little hearts ready to sit in the pew in church, without a scuffle over who gets to sit on the coveted end seats.
- Socks, Ties and the like: He didn’t consider these to be gifts when he was six and he still doesn’t – his children know better!!!
- Recycled Crafty Picture Frames: The father person in our house has had 15+14+12+10+8+6+5+3=73 collective years of Father’s Days and not to be ungrateful, but there is a limit to how many recycled craft frames a man can own… how many squashed toilet rolls a man can keep on his desk at the office… I think the overwhelm factor is pretty high, we don’t give him picture frames!!!
- A T-Shirt with a Photo of all of his kids on it: Umm no… he doesn’t actually have “casual days” at work… he is just never ever going to wear it!! Not to mention have you any idea how hard it is to get eight kids into a photograph – all looking in vaguely the same direction and all basically smiling… don’t even ask!!!
- Absolutely Nothing That Breaks the Budget: This is a man raising eight kids, the last thing on earth he wants is a heap of cash shelled out for a gadget, or an outdoor handbook… just no. Any budget breaker is more likely to give him a heart failure than demonstrate our love for him!!!
- Toiletries: Ummm… he doesn’t want a razor he has one… or deodorant… he has some of that too… and well just no.
- Time Alone: You would think so, but no!!! This man gave up solitude fifteen years ago. He would rather spend time with his kids than anything. Even his Sunday nap would not be complete without short folk clambering over him!!!
And the se7en + 1th gift:
So how on earth are we to show the man, who doesn’t want to be spoilt in any of the conventional ways… he doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal any day of the year, let alone Father’s Day. Well we are kind of sneaky over here, we don’t save our love for just one day… we make sure he never leaves the house for the city, in the morning, without a stream of hugs. We make sure that there is a parade of joy as he turns the last corner for home every evening. We make sure that when he collapses on the couch that everyone wants to be right next to him. And when he dashes out on an errand… there are always dozens of potential companions. We make sure that the supply of fine coffee never stops flowing… and when he occasionally wants a cup of tea – well almost everyone is trained to provide that too!!!
The best thing about all the smothering, that he has to survive during his daily routine… is not that he doesn’t seem to mind it, but that he actually loves it!!! And so between our kids and their Father Person, the feeling is entirely mutual!!!