From my earliest TV memories of Tim Allen and Al Bundy, mainstream media has made husbands and fathers look like dim-witted men who worked tireless jobs to provide for their family. Outside of the paycheck, they didn’t contribute much outside of a sideways sarcastic remark or a forced man-to-man talk with their on-screen sons.
This isn’t my real life. In fact, in all of my friends—even those who chose to separate from their husbands or fathers of their children—most fathers and spouses contribute much more than the minimum and I think it is time we recognize their efforts.
I know our little family turns the tables on tradition, but other families who follow suit with society also have incredible dads and husbands. My husband helps around the house, implements our son’s “roadschool” lessons while I teach outside the home, works nights at a factory to earn extra cash, makes my kids’ breakfast and lunch, and makes sure our little girl’s ponytails are on point.
Sure, he cracks funny jokes, watches action movies, and likes to joke with his friends about cars, MMA fighting, and hunting over craft beers whose smell alone make my lips curl up. He also carries our kids to bed if they’ve had a nightmare, lifts heavy things for me, does things without being asked (usually), and reads to our little ones.
There are still deadbeats out there. Trust me. I teach most of their kids at my inner city school and it is a sad existence to not really know where you came from or to grow up feeling abandoned. However, there are real men with good intentions, soft hearts, and whose motives are pure. There are still guys who want their wives to feel special and to raise their children with integrity.
So, mainstream media, back off. Represent the under-parented where it is relevant, but lay off of those story lines where it becomes inaccurate. Give families more illustrations of husbands and dads like Jack and Randall from This Is Us. It doesn’t mean life isn’t still hard, marriage becomes easy, or parenting doesn’t still get messy, but having my husband by my side and watching his everyday efforts with our children is nothing short of inspiring and people should have the opportunity to see the magic in that.