It’s always fun to take the circus i affectionately call a family out into public. Behold! The tattooed punk and his freakish family! The identical boy twin wonders! The wife two inches too short; it is quite possible she is a dwarf! A grumpy new born; he oddly reminds us of Benjamin Button! And a ferociously adorable pitbull, the ferocity of her kisses! How can that mohawked man be a good father in those green pants?
I guess we don’t exactly have that nuclear family look.
When I first became a father I jokingly said it was time to trade in my flip flops for those dad sandals. You know, the embarrassing but also super comfortable sandals with straps that are only worn by small children and parents; they come with a free polo shirt and khakis. I felt, at the time, that being a father meant I had to trade in the band t shirts, green skinny jeans and my beloved Chucks for dockers, Birkenstocks and a burnt orange polo.
I haven’t picked up my father starter kit. I still rock my Five Finger Death Punch t-shirt at the park, with my Converses and dark blue jeans. I don’t know that you could identify me as a dad by my features or clothing. I know I don’t identify myself as a father because I now own two sweaters and wear them every chance I can.
Being a parent isn’t a clothing style. Wearing mom jeans or dad sandals doesn’t give you a plus ten parenting boost.
Haven’t picked up my pair of parent sandals yet. I haven’t shaved my mohawk off to grow in hair so I can part it at the side. The way someone looks doesn’t define who they are or how they parent. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out with the kids somewhere and been stared at. I know they are judging me by my tattoos, my hair, my overall appearance.
I am a father. I am a proud, doting and loving dad. How I dress or decorate my body shouldn’t be factored into my parenting. I’m not ready to give up my green skinny jeans yet!
As a society we have this perception problem. I wear parenthood in the form of being there for my kids. It’s not a pair of sandals. You can’t play the part by covering up the punk and parting your hair. My tattoos, my mohawk, my green skinny jeans don’t make me a bad parent. If anything, the choice not to trade in my converses has made me a better parent. I don’t hide who I am from my kids, I embrace my individuality. The same way I hope my kids grow up and embrace their own differences.
So, I’ll continue to rock my Johnny Cash T-Shirt at the grocery store. It has been covered in unidentifiable toddler stains, but I still love it. And my mohawk, usually adorned with a spaghetti halo graciously given to me by my kids at lunchtime, I won’t be cutting it anytime soon. Who could forget my green skinny jeans? Those ill wear until the dad weight bursts their buttons. I’ll continue to dress the way I do, and focus on parenting my own as best as I can, not on fitting in with other parents with the proper attire.
*update* I cut off my mohawk after writing this, to match my kid’s cool Buddhist monk look. Still rocking the green jeans and band shirts though. Fuck mandals.