People used to say that "Father knows best." Well, maybe he still does... but fathers sure DO a lot more than they used to. From changing diapers and cleaning up baby spit-up to helping with homework and having emotional conversations with teenagers, dads today are all-in.
On the TODAY Parenting Team, we're asking dads and moms to tell us about what dads do best. Here, in pictures and words, are some reflections on modern fatherhood. The TODAY Parenting Team is open to everyone, and if you care enough to read this story, we'd love you to be part of it. Join us!
What dads do...
1. He takes one for the team for family theme costumes. “My children live for these 'us' moments. Robert knows he looks ridiculous but he also knows life is too short to care.” (Angie Goff)
2. He sacrifices himself for art. And he can multitask. "He’s just more fun than I am in so many ways.” (Jill Morgenstern)
3. He teaches them to drive (and so much more). “He still tells stories about my reaction to his swerving in the parking lot. That was when we knew this had to be a dad-thing.” (The Cheerio Trail)
4. He prays. “I remember him sitting on the front porch when the sun came up morning after morning after we lost our second baby to another miscarriage. I never understood why he wanted to be up at the break of dawn to just sit alone. I later learned he was begging God for a baby… every morning… one that we could keep.” (Lauren Casper)
5. He tells the best stories (even though he says he's not creative). “Dinosaurs in space, fighting Darth Vader with a double-sided light saber, because he was contracted by Elsa and Anna in their space-castle to save the prisoner Olaf? Yep, he told that story. My kids think he's a genius. And so do I.” (MrsMuffinTop)
6. He treats his daughters like the women he wants them to become. "He teaches the girls how to 'fix' things, to be independent. He defies stereotypes by not limiting their capabilities to their gender. He believes the girls are capable of anything and treats them as such. Sometimes too much so for this nervous mama!" (Thriller Mom)
7. He builds epic forts. "I have walked into a living room that rivals the catacombs of Paris." (That's Inappropriate)
8. He shows his children that it's OK to cry. “Masculinity isn’t bottling up emotions and pushing stuff down deep where it can’t hurt." (Justin Ricklefs)
9. He carries them. “No one carries you like your daddy can. No one will ever have such strong arms, such a broad back, such a warm touch. I hope our sons remember that. I know they will.” (Manic Pixie Dream Mama)
10. He parents like a rock star. "He’s the kind of dad who can turn a boring afternoon into an acoustic silly songwriting session and knows how to talk his nine-year-old daughter off the latest fashion emergency ledge." (Susan Fishman)
11. He is the father he never had. "The only expectations he had of fatherhood were low ones. But you would never know that. I see his determination in the way he caresses our daughter at night. The way he has always cradled her: lovingly, protectively, warmly." (Jessa Hillmann)
12. He never calls himself a babysitter. "The look in our little girl's eyes when she sees him says it all. She. Adores. Him. And trusts him. And knows that he's just as much of a caretaker as I am." (The OK Momma)
13. He spends time, not money — because he knows what really matters to kids. "The time we spend with our kids will one day become precious keepsakes they will save in their memory treasure chests." (Joe Franklin)
14. And when there is nothing else left, he still loves — and he keeps his child’s memory alive. "Although Mollie can’t physically know her Angel Mom, she truly does know Jess’s love and her joyful spirit largely due to 'Pa.'" (Susan Brower)
To all the fathers out there: Thank you for all you do. Read more on the TODAY Parenting Team.