One day I hope to regain my man card, but for now it’s gone.
Yup, I have concluded I have lost my man card and I think it’s due in part to parenting little ones.
However, for the time being, I have come to terms with it.
A recent situation drove home this realization for me. While I was hanging with some friends away from kids, I made a comment about having to use the men’s room. The only problem was I didn’t word it in a manly way and instead used the term “potty” when I described where I had to go. Oops.
Since it’s so commonly used at home these days, I didn’t think about it at all until some ridiculing came my way.
“Bring your man card when you come out if you can find it,” one friend said.
Another offered, “Remember it’s the small urinal for you.”
As I continued to walk away, shaking my head over how ridiculous I am, the shots at me continued, and I couldn’t blame them.
Indeed, being a parent to young kids can change the way you approach life in general ways, especially how you talk
But it’s not always about how you communicate. Sometimes it just makes you absent minded about the most routine of things. During Beckett’s swimming camp this week, I had a strange moment when I mistakenly guided Beckett into the ladies changing room. What’s worse was, for some reason, I said, “whoopsie, oh my goodness.”
In all his 6-year-old wisdom, Beckett turned to me and said, “Daddy, who talks like that? I mean really.” I had no worthwhile response because I had no explanation and was confused as well. It was just a reaction and a disturbing one at that.
Beckett offered up a similar response the other day while we were in the ocean. I apparently screamed “like a little baby girl” (in his words) when a crab bit my foot. Rather than have him worry about a crab getting him as well, I played it off and stammered some sort of nonsense to change the subject. That attempt received a “weird” comment in return.
Another one of those moments of late that had me wondering what’s become of me was when Carson grabbed a dress out of his Mommy’s closet the other morning and brought it to me. When I told him that’s funny and now put it back where he got it, he insisted and tried undoing my belt and pulling my shirt out. He wanted me to change and for the next couple days every time we walked by her closet he stopped and pointed at it to see if perhaps now was the appropriate time. That only made the whole man card thing all the more concerning.
It’s amazing what kids pick up along the way. They are incredibly intuitive and follow much more than we give them credit for at times.
For instance, while getting out of the pool the other day, Carson stubbed his toe on a rough patch of the concrete, leading Beckett to advise him to go tell Mommy so she can fix it. I was standing right there next to him in the pool. He didn’t mean it as a dig but it was an unintentional one.
It’s no secret my wife is the handy one around the house and usually takes care of the little repairs. If it’s something out of her scope, it’s certainly not in my skillset. She decides then on whether to call “the guy” to carry out whatever is needed. Beckett was merely telling the truth.
In today’s world, the typical roles of mothers and fathers are not the same as they were a generation ago. It’s different and there really are no set roles in our house. For instance, when a nail needed to be banged into a loose piece of decking, the kids told their mother because she knew where the hammer was and does those sorts of things.
On the flip side, when it comes time for the fingernails or toenails to be trimmed, they come to me because I have better eyes than their mother. The same goes for baths, which are in my realm.
Is it emasculating? Sure it is to a degree, but I don’t choose to look at it that. For one thing, I’m too busy to worry about something like that. Additionally, I think this is the way it is in most young family households these days. The roles are not nearly defined as they once were. We live in a lot of grayness. It’s not just the mothers who run the kids to sports practices and doctor’s appointments as it was when I was growing up. I do just as much of that as my wife does. It’s not just the mothers who prepare the meals and give the kids their baths. I do just as much of that as my wife does. A host of other points go the opposite way. It’s just how it is.
Generally, parents — whether it’s men or women — do what they have to do the course of the daily grind. The difference may be now that men are willing to do whatever needs to be done and some of us are blessed enough to have the professional flexibility to be the mothering figure at times as well as the fathering figure. My wife would say the same thing. It just doesn’t matter.
Whatever needs to be done gets done. The consequence in my case is my man card seems to have gotten lost along the way, probably during one of the three runs to the grocery store I made this week for a total of six items. I’m hoping at some point it will be returned to me, but in the meantime I will just parent and try to do it in a more masculine way.