Hi - my name is Kate; I am a gender expert, writer, and Advisor for the Gender Equality subgroup at Fathering Together. To celebrate Father’s Day and #MoreThanANecktie, I’m talking to 10 dads over 10 weeks about what it really means to be an engaged father. If you like this series, you can read more on gender (in)equality. Website. Twitter.
Location: Chicago, IL
Ages of Kids: 8 & 11
I asked every dad I interviewed what they thought about the term “caregiving” as it relates to being a father.
Victor agrees that if you break down the meaning behind caregiver, then yes, that is essentially what we parents are all doing. But he believes fatherhood is more; that the emotional bond he has with his kids is bigger than caregiving. He isn’t sure the term “caregiving” quite captures the relationship between a dad and his kids.
A lesson learned about kids with a disability.
Victor’s son has epilepsy, but he told me that he and his wife don’t see this as a weakness. Sure, it can be challenging, frustrating, and scary. But they don’t pity their son or themselves; having epilepsy is just part of who he is. They refuse to let him think that something is wrong with him, or that his disability is going to hold him back from accomplishing anything he sets his mind to.
Advice on saying I love you.
Victor did not hear the words “I love you” from his father growing up; we talked about how that was common from the Baby Boomer generation. I asked Victor – did it matter? Does it mean something to hear those words, if you are shown love? And Victor said, yes – words matter to him. As a kid, he remembers wondering – does he love me? Is he proud? Years later, as an adult, Victor did hear those words from his dad – and it was very meaningful. So, he decided to intentionally say those words to his own kids from the time they were born.
My favorite quote from Victor’s interview: “There’s no formula to be a father. We just have to trust our gut. And you can’t mimic that other dad that you think you should be. You have to be your own genuine self.”
If this quote resonated with you, you might be interested in this Dads with Daughters podcast episode with Joe and Mark Pellerito.
The next Dads Who Care article will be posted next Friday, July 16.