Of all my pet peevesâ€”and there are manyâ€”No. 1 goes like this:
“Can I speak with Mrs. Pearlman, please?”
“She’s not here. This is her husband. Can I help you?
“I’m calling from your daughter’s elementary school. We wanted to talk to her about [FILL IN THE BLANK WITH ANY SCHOLASTIC ISSUE]. Can you have her give us a call?”
“Well, I’m the father. You can talk … to me.”
Seriously, this happens all the time. All. The. Time. It’s 2009, and yet peopleâ€”mostly womenâ€”still seem to think husbands have little, if anything, to do with their kids. I’ve had a woman ask if I need her help in changing my kid’s diaper. Throughout most of this school year, my daughter’s teacher began all notes home with, “Dear Mrs. Pearlman …”â€”as if I don’t exist (to her credit, when I brought up my objections, she changed her ways). People see my with my kids and say, “Wow, it’s so nice you’re making time for them.” Blah, blah, blah.
Drives me crazy. Drives other fathers I know crazy, too. A big reason I write books for a living is because it allows me to be there for for two children. I was raised in a house when my dad left in the morning and came back at night. He was a wonderful fatherâ€”truly, an all-time legendâ€”but it was understood that diapers, Little League games, etc were mostly Mom’s turf.
I didn’t want that. I’ve been a “class mother” for my daughter’s class; have accompanied her on field trips and attend 99.9 percent of her school concerts, plays, parties, etc. Mostly, it’s out of love and a desire to be involved. But a small part of it is the chipâ€”wanting people to know that, when it comes to their children, dads can have the same instincts and desires as mothers.
Anyhow, I’m babbling. Give fathers respectâ€”it ain’t easy out there.