Adam McIntyre, co-owner of Intown Doula, wanted to weigh in as we near Father's Day on what Dads actually want--and how they should go about getting it. Father to two sons and one angel baby, Adam is also a musician and record producer. In his spare time, he enjoys biographies, cooking, and rescuing animals.
I used to feel sick while shopping for Father’s Day; our dad was very different from anyone portrayed in the Father’s Day greeting cards and he neither golfed nor did he wear ties. We didn’t know what he expected to get from us, unless it was a bunch of gifts that were almost too horrible to look at more than once. Sorry, Dad.
Now when I wake up on Father’s Day, I feel that sick feeling for just a moment. Then I realize that because I am no longer a Hallmark-fearing man, I can make my own rules about a day that applies solely to me.
Gentlemen, inform your families now that you have made your choices and your clan will celebrate the way in which you see fit.
First, ask yourself, “What do I want on Father’s Day?” Notice I didn’t ask what you want for Father’s Day. I watched a group of dads answer that question, and the first and by far most popular answer was, “sexual favors from my partner” and the distant second was something to do with having a cookout or a fire in the back yard. That, perhaps, is something that reminds us that we want to feel validated (some nod or indication that we have become a “better” or equivalent version of our own dads/father figures) and be left alone to start fires, and perhaps that the card companies and list-makers are overthinking their distant-second-and-third-place gift suggestions.
No, I’m talking about what sort of day you want your Father’s Day to be. Do you want to spend it specifically with kids, or totally without them? Big party, or solitary nature walk? What would make you feel more honored--silence or applause? Is there going to be some sort of dinner you expect? And do you want gifts or not? Because no gifts is an option.
Next, communicate what you figure out clearly and kindly. You may have noticed by now that leading your family is part of the Dad job description. Let Father’s Day be no different by being honest and direct if you are asked what you would like to do, which you probably were or will be*. And if your spouse doesn’t ask, toss it out there.
Last--and this is the big one--let go of the outcome. Buddha says that attachment causes sorrow, and attachment to outcomes is really hard to dismiss. But, try. Because in the end Father’s Day is really just fourteen hours of daylight where the people you love best of all try their hardest to love on you. Let them, and enjoy your day, however you see fit.
Happy Father’s Day to all Dad-identifying people out there from me and Intown Doula