Moms often become household and child-rearing experts by default, even when we don’t mean to. We dive into our roles with complete abandon, sometimes even abandoning ourselves. And when Dad tries to step in and help, sometimes it can be hard for us to relinquish control. Dads are gonna dad, and that almost always means “not like Mom does it.” (If you’re a mom who’s ever reloaded the dishwasher after Dad did it “wrong,” you know what we’re talking about.)
But the truth is, everyone comes into parenthood with an incomplete set of skills. We’re all just winging it here. Netflix’s new movie, “Fatherhood” (PG-13), starring Kevin Hart, demonstrates this perfectly. Inspired by a true story, Hart’s character loses his wife after she gives birth to their baby daughter, leaving Hart to figure out parenthood all on his own. We see Hart’s comedic genius on full display, obviously, but the dramatic element will have you grabbing the tissues because you really feel the intense drive Hart’s character has as a father to love his kid as hard as he can. (Yes, this movie will make you laugh, cry, and hug the nearest dad.)
At the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can at this parenthood thing. And sure, dads can be a little, um, creative when it comes to their parenting choices. But we love them for it. So here are a few things only a dad would do — and why we wouldn’t want it any other way.
1. Volunteer To Be A Human Trampoline
If you’ve ever absorbed the blow of a toddler crashing into your torso at full speed, you know the meaning of the phrase “small but mighty.” And yet dads will somehow fully VOLUNTEER to let kids jump all over them! They’ll let the kids jump on their backs. Laugh as they hang from their legs. Laugh it off when they leap square in the middle of their sleeping faces. Somehow they take it all in stride in that way only a dad can.
2. Let The Kids Take “Interesting” Fashion Risks
Where a mom will put at least a minimal effort into sending kids out into the world in a way that assures teachers and administrators that there are, in fact, parents at home, a dad will laugh and wonder why we’re wasting all that effort. While we’re over here trying to figure out the nicest way to suggest a different ensemble, dads will just say, “It’s a look. Go for it, champ.”
3. Loosely Define Both Meals And Meal Times
Dads think any and all foods are appropriate for any and all times of the day. Cold leftovers for breakfast? Why not? “Dinner” that’s a hot dog, some stale popcorn and sour candy on a paper plate? Perfect. Is this loose approach to feeding kids rooted purely in laziness? A commitment to reducing food waste? We may never know. In the meantime, kids will just keep doing the happy dance when Dad’s running the kitchen.
4. Read Bedtime Stories With His Whole Chest
Bedtime is for quiet voices and soft, soothing stories, right? Welp, not if you’re a dad. Because when it’s Dad’s turn to read stories, there will be action. There could be impromptu costumes. There may be loud — very loud — voices. And sure, the kids will be a little (or a lot) more wound up than when Mom tucks them in. But the memories they’re making are totally worth it.
5. Sleep Through Literally Anything
Dads will push a kid’s bedtime past any reasonable hour in order to let them see the fireworks/watch the end of the game/go on a treasure hunt. But their own bedtimes are wherever and whenever they feel like snoozing. Which is basically everywhere and always.
6. Freely Admit He Has No Idea What He’s Doing
Moms would sometimes rather struggle than ask for help with something it seems all the other moms have figured out. But a dad will walk into a room with a kid wrapped every kind of wrong way in a sling and just say, “Yeah, I have no idea what is happening here. Help?”
What makes a great parent isn’t matching outfits. It’s the willingness to go all in and stay with it, even when the wheels fall off. As Kevin Hart’s character shows us in “Fatherhood,” nothing can really prepare you for parenthood — and yet here we are, doing it anyway, even when it’s so unbelievably hard and messy that we can’t help but laugh through our tears. Dads may leave for the day without snacks or sunscreen, but they love their kids with their whole entire selves, and that is more than good enough for us.
Netflix’s new movie “Fatherhood” (PG-13), is the perfect movie to watch with your favorite dad on Father’s Day. Kevin Hart is a father bringing up his baby girl as a single dad after the unexpected death of his wife a day after their daughter’s birth. With the help of close friends and family, he grows his capacity for love and learns what it truly means to be a father. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh while crying.
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