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When You're Mom and Dad

Lexi came home with a flyer advertising the first annual father-daughter dance at her school last week. She showed me the paper and asked, “Should I just throw it away?”

My throat closed up. What do I say?

Of course, her dad isn’t going to take her to the dance. Stuff like this breaks my heart. I can juggle and juggle and work myself into the ground trying to care for everyone, but this just brings it home that I can’t do everything no matter how hard I try. I will always fall short. And the super-hero in me hates that.

I told Lexi I would bring her to the dance if she liked. A second later, Austin stepped up and offered to take her. Lexi glanced between us and hesitantly pointed to me.

“You want me to take you? I’d be happy to go with you. I will probably be the only mom there. I don’t care. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but if you think that might make you feel uncomfortable and weird, you don’t have to go at all. We could stay home and do something fun here.”

Austin said, “You might be the only mom there, but I’d be the youngest ‘father’ for sure!”

Lexi admitted that she’d feel weird going with either one of us. I encouraged her to think about it, but if she really didn’t want to go, it was no big deal. I told her we could stay home, watch movies, paint our nails, and she could eat chocolate while I eat a heaping pile of failure stew.

But how do you teach your kids how to fix stuff when you don’t even know how to hold a screwdriver? How do you teach your sons to open the door for a lady? How do you play catch with them when you throw like a girl? How do you discuss cars when the only thing you know about cars is what color they are. And more importantly, how do you teach your son to grow up with good moral character? How do you teach him to be a man of his word? Yeah, yeah, I do the best I can with what I have, but I still feel like they’re missing out by not having a positive male role model in their lives. I worry about that. But still, I think no male role model is better than a poor one.

And on the subject of poor role models, although I think I may be ready to date, I am in no way, shape, or form ready to even consider introducing someone to my kids. The first time around, I married the first guy who came along even though he was completely wrong for me. I will not make that mistake again. I will only consider men of strong faith who are addiction-free, depression-free, can fix stuff, don’t chew with their mouths open, have hulking big muscly arms, have a decent moral compass, and who walk on water so that one day, in the far-away future, they’ll make good, positive role models for my kids.

In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to be both mom and dad. I’ll keep teaching my sons and daughters what I believe is right and wrong. I’ll keep dropping balls. I’ll keep picking them back up and juggling again. I’ll keep trying to surround my kids, especially my boys, with positive male role models. I’ll keep letting my sons make fun of me for not knowing the difference between a Challenger and a Camaro. And I’ll keep trying to understand what’s so funny about farts. Actually, on the second thought, scratch that last one. I’m done trying to understand the inner workings of the male brain.

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my Facebook, so join me, maybe?

Here are more favorites from Dawn:

Boys and Girls are Almost Exactly the Same

You Might Be a Blogger If . . .

When Zombies Attack

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