When I broke my hand being a good father…
I have a gnarly scar on my hand that I will proudly wear as a badge of honour.
A scar acquired in the greatest line of duty – being an involved parent.
It comes as no surprise that today’s dads endure a lot of physical injury. We are around our children more than ever before and are therefore playing more often with our children. We “play hard” and tend to get hurt – look no further than “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. From dads getting run over by runaway quads to the always popular shot to the family jewels, dads take a lot of abuse in this line of work/play.
Why do dads suffer more bodily abuse in the parenting role? Well, for starters, moms tend to be a little smarter than the average bear and tend to not put themselves into dangerous situations. Is that fair to say? Females aren’t the gender more likely to read a “Thin Ice” or “Wet Paint” sign and then test to see if sign is really accurate.
For me, my mistake was running with silly inappropriate footwear – death trap flip-flops. My cringe worthy injury evolved out of an innocent Sunday afternoon. We were all horsing around on a giant school playground structure. Suddenly my “castle” was being stormed by varmints, trying to steal my gold. They were attacking me from all angles and I had to defend my castle and protect my gold.
Essentially, I needed to run from one end of bridge-like structure to the other, screaming like a moron just to keep the bandits at bay. Well, they won the battle. As I laid flat on my back clutching my suddenly broken hand, my only victory was not cursing like a maniac.
While there are always exceptions to every stereotype, there are many commonly agreed upon differences between moms and dads and how we play.
• Time with dad tends to be less structured and more play oriented than mom. Yahooooooo!
• A father’s style of play tends to be less predictable and more rough and tumble.
• Fathers stimulate risk taking and independence. When mom might say “Watch out! Be careful”, dad might pipe in “Go for it! You can do it!”
• Mom calms, dad challenges.
• When it comes to playing with toys, mom is more likely show their child the proper or “expected” way to play with a toy, where dads will often try to invent new things to do the toy or he will use his body as the play apparatus.
• Dads can often be a wonderful source of new and different sounds as they play with their children.
• Oh, FYI, and a little off topic, but dads are WAY more creative at dressing our children too. PERIOD.
Again, to be clear, I am not saying one style is better than the other – children benefit greatly from the beautiful mix of both gender’s parenting styles.
The bottom-line is that dads tend to be more physical with their children and there are bound to be some injuries. Myself, I love rolling around on the floor, launching kids onto the bed, or playing on the trampoline with my kids jumping on my head, neck, and back. We all love it! We will play BOB the BLOB for hours – a variation on every Dad’s favourite game “I’m GONNA GET YOU”.
Does mom jump on trampoline with the kids? You bet, they just play differently… is my way better? Well, probably… But no, but it’s just my way to play! Her way works for her and the kids too!
Back in the emergency room awaiting my hand X-Ray, I met Dave, another dad in for a similar, but less severe parenting injury – the classic-touch-football-twisted ankle. We talked about our kids, laughed a lot, and decided that these type of injuries ‘come with the territory”.
But unlike sweaty hung-over people that swear they will never do THAT again, Dave and I joked that we will likely be injured often in the dad role as we will never change the way we play with our kids, EVER. It’s what we do, how we are wired, and we are proud of it. Go Hard and Go home (sore).
I waved goodbye to Dave with my full cast. We joked about hoping to see each other again, perhaps at a park or playground, but just not in the ER.
Now…. I need your HELP! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my blog www.thedadvibe.com – free gifts are on their way to those that do.
But I’m also killer interested in your “DAD INJURIES”. For the “research” for my book, I want to compile the “TOP 10 Dad injuries”…. I need your war stories.
Was it a bleeding nose? Broken bones? Torn muscles? Burns?
General garden variety genital abuse?
Please add your story in the comments section or email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much!
Until next time…
Very funny article Jeff. I have nothing major to contribute just the usual getting woken up every morning with an elbow to the groin or Adams apple. Jane is always impressed when she is collateral damage.
Good work. Keep it up.
I had to laugh when you commented on the fact that Dads are way more creative when dressing the kids. This is so Jason:) LOL
OK, so we don’t have kids. But we are new ‘parents’ to a loveable puppy and this is still so SPOT ON!! My hubby is the one who has ‘crazy time’ / wrestling with her / winds her up and wears her out (and I just do the sensible walks and buy her ‘proper’ dog toys!!) – It’s just like your article suggests – see it’s the same for Furry Dads too!! Haha!
Thanks for your thoughts — its true and thanks for pointing out the pets angle to me… I do wrestle our Labradoodle puppy daily… pets DO become part of the family too!!