What do dads need? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 28 Old 09-09-2006, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Spending time with other women is completely and totally necessary to me. After I spend a few hours with my best friend or my mom's group, I feel almost giddy, buoyant, rejuvenated from the laughter and stories and fellowship we share. I was driving home from an outing with friends, thinking about how I felt so renewed...and suddenly I felt a huge sadness well up inside me for my husband--does he need this? And if so, does he get it? He has friends at work, but his *best* friends live far away. I mean, of course dads need friends--but do they need dad friends?

Anyway, I know that women and men are different creatures, so my question is: do dads need this? And if so, if you're a dad: where do you get it?
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#2 of 28 Old 09-10-2006, 11:29 PM
 
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We actually aren't really that different. Only our society makes us that way. Dads need the same things. We don't always get them. There are fewer dad groups and support areas for men. That I squarely put onto our culture. Men aren't supposed to show emotion or at leaste not what is considered a "feminine" need to be with others and feel close. Men are supposed to go have a beer with the buds, punch each other on the shoulder and watch the game. That's it.

I say bunk to that. I would love to hang with friends and actually have human interaction with emotions. I find a few men here and there who share this perception. It's hard being a parent and being able to get away to ever just hang out with people.

So, I would say yes, men need the "same "things. But, I agree that your sweety most likely does not get the chance. Especially if he works. I hope he can find a way to get there, though.

"To lose the sense of sacredness of the world is a mortal loss. To injure our world by excesses of greed and ingenuity is to endanger our own sacredness."    Ursula K. Le Guin
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#3 of 28 Old 09-13-2006, 12:53 AM
 
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Interaction with friends is very important. I can't say I get that kind of friend time very often. My life revolves around work and family so there isn't much time to make friends. Like your dh my best friends live far away and the friends I meet have come exclusivley through dw's friend's husbands. It sadly ends up being kind of lonley but at least I have a lot of family interaction. I just figure I'll eventually have some friends.
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#4 of 28 Old 09-13-2006, 02:57 AM
 
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Men are often ridiculed for when they get this regroup time....They spend to much time fishing, hunting, messing with their car/bike, Play Station, et.
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#5 of 28 Old 09-13-2006, 08:56 AM
 
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That's so sad that society makes it this way. My dh plays guitar and sometimes nintendo. I don't do much, and all of our friends are across the country. But at least there's a moms group here if I get the chance. I wish there were more dad's groups to take their kids to. Unfortunately all of dh's work friends aren't anything like him. They are way into competitive sports and hunting, and are very right wing. Let's just say dh isn't.

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#6 of 28 Old 09-13-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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What an evocative question.
It causes me to reflect on the way dw and I interact with other people.
Ya see, we are both very... er... private people. Reserved, introverted, and a bit wary, if not just tired of most of society.

Essentially, we have no friends. That is kind of a sad thing to think about, because, as many of you have said, people need social interaction. But we've found that we both need a lot of alone time to recharge the batteries, and having other people around (even close family members) very quickly just causes us to get pissed off. And sometimes we do this to each other

Anyway, to respond to the initial question,
I'm a dad, and I need:
-time in the garden (planting, digging, pruning, arranging, propagating)
-frequent walks (I walk every day if I can, usually with ds in-tow)
-music (either listening or playing, as much as possible)

Those are my main recreational activities, which are markedly different from a number of men, whose lists would go more like:
-hunting/fishing
-beer
-football

But who am I to reinforce stereotypes? We all just get by as best we can. This dad needs some sleep
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#7 of 28 Old 09-14-2006, 10:21 PM
 
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I have a need to interact with others, but, I feel, in a different way than the OP talks about. Just good conversation is nice, mostly with like minded people but just friendly people are good enough. I love to spend time with DW and DS mostly and I try to stay in touch with friends and find that I chat frequently on the phone. Besides that, I'm pretty happy.

I travel a lot and mostly alone so maybe I'm used to it. I don't strike up conversations easily (unlike DW who could get a cow to talk ) But I enjoy meeting new people when I do end up talking to someone. I kinda wish there was a closer knit group of dads around, but most men just talk about football or golf and I have little interest.
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#8 of 28 Old 09-15-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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I enjoy meeting w/my brother and male friends once a month or so. This recharges my batteries. I would like to do this more frequently but it just never happens due to lifestyle, parenting, etc.

Last month we went to a movie Leonard Cohen. This month we hung out at a sidewalk cafe and talked. Then went to the park and headed home.

I should note that I go out around 10pm after my DS is tucked away in bed.
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#9 of 28 Old 09-21-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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For me, "recharging my batteries" comes from what I'd call "down time". I am at work for eight hours a day, constantly interacting with people and working on projects. I enjoy my work, but it depletes my mental and physical energy. After work, I spend time doing chores around the apartment, spending time with my wife and baby, working on personal projects, communicating with friends, or going out and doing something fun. All of that is also enjoyable, but just like work, it depletes my mental and physical energy. Obviously, going to bed at night helps as much as it is supposed to, but I need more than just going to sleep. What I really need is time to just sit back, relax, and chill out while listening to music, reading a book, or just sitting and thinking. If I don't get that kind of time, I get stressed out, and it starts to show.

This is all of course just for my personal situation. If I didn't have any friends, didn't enjoy my work, and didn't have any enjoyable activities outside of work, I think I'd want that stuff, too.
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#10 of 28 Old 09-22-2006, 02:38 AM
 
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Wouldn't it be great if society was different?

"To lose the sense of sacredness of the world is a mortal loss. To injure our world by excesses of greed and ingenuity is to endanger our own sacredness."    Ursula K. Le Guin
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#11 of 28 Old 09-23-2006, 12:37 AM
 
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Wouldn't it be great if society was different?
If it were, I would have no idea where I was. In some ways, I define myself by contrast with society at large. Then I think again and realize how absurd that is

...All the social-networking technology in the world at our fingertips, and yet many of us are still islands...

I tell you one thing I need, or at least, one thing that helps: hearing from other dads like you all, and remembering that other people are doing the same sorts of things, and that "society" as I tend to perceive it, is really just a bunch of individuals all trying to live life.
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#12 of 28 Old 09-23-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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Ah, but what if we didn't have the same societal preasures placed on our shoulders as "dads". What if we weren't "supposed" to be the provider? What if we weren't "supposed" to only be interested in sports, cars, beer and huntin'? YOu see where I'm going. What if all the stereotipical male preasures to conform to weren't there? Then who would we all be? I know that I've kicked the stereotype habit and I'm a much better person for it. I still have a lot of ground to cover, but I'm home more for my kids. And, isn't parenting about the kids, anyway? I work as best I can to make small changes. One person at a time, so to speak. In that way I feel I contribute to the change in our society that it sorely needs. I agree it is hard to be so isolated when all around are doing, believing and living something else. But, I cope. Sometimes not easily. But, I do know there are more dads out there who feel the same way.

"To lose the sense of sacredness of the world is a mortal loss. To injure our world by excesses of greed and ingenuity is to endanger our own sacredness."    Ursula K. Le Guin
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#13 of 28 Old 09-24-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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I think time with friends is very important for everyone in the family. My DW and DD need their friends as much as I do. There is a balancing act that has to be done but it is definately worth it. I went hiking this past weekend and came back with my batteries recharged. Not only from spending time outdoors with my friends but also the fact that my DW was shoving me out the door to do it. Support is key.
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#14 of 28 Old 09-25-2006, 11:50 AM
 
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Some time with friends. Generally speaking when mean get together they are "doing something". Sometimes that means watching sports/hunting/fishing/whatever. For my friends and I it's playing table-top role-playing games
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#15 of 28 Old 09-25-2006, 02:41 PM
 
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My husband and I have lots of friends, but few peers really. We're young, married, and have a child. Most of out friends are 15+ years older than us or are their kids, 4+ years younger. My husband gets most of his guy social interaction talking with older men, some dads, about sports, history, and politics, and teaching boys a little younger than us. Also we're in a medieval reenactment group and he spends a lot of time with this knight and others in his fighting company learning to swordfight, working on armor, and trading war stories.
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#16 of 28 Old 09-25-2006, 08:30 PM
 
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Ya see, we are both very... er... private people. Reserved, introverted, and a bit wary, if not just tired of most of society.

Essentially, we have no friends. That is kind of a sad thing to think about, because, as many of you have said, people need social interaction. But we've found that we both need a lot of alone time to recharge the batteries, and having other people around (even close family members) very quickly just causes us to get pissed off. And sometimes we do this to each other
My DH and I are the same way. Probably I am a teeny bit more social than DH (by urge not by action - I don't actually go anywhere) but we're talking about me being a 1 on a scale of 0 to 10 and DH being a 0.5.

DH likes to recharge by watching movies with me and DD, and by surfing the net and reading about all sorts of stuff (Gandhi, euthanasia, the history of peanut butter, you name it).

Yesterday he mentioned he might want to buy a "football for dummies" book since he doesn't know squat about it (no, he doesn't watch any sports). I thought it was a great idea; I told him if he bought it, I'd read it too. Then we tried to figure out exactly WHY we'd read it... basically we figured we should know about something so important to our culture, I guess.

He doesn't exactly hunt, either, being a vegetarian and all....

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#17 of 28 Old 09-25-2006, 10:31 PM
 
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laohaire,

Skip the "football for dummies". Please, whatever you do... It's not worth it. The problem is (flagrant opinion begins now) football doesn't get any smarter than dummy-level. It's a fine recreation, but doesn't deserve the cultural status it has. Of course, I'd say the same of any American/televised/multi-billion-dollar sport.
Anyway, it is good to know there are others like us. We may be relative hermits, but one of the running jokes when DS was a newborn was that "who cares if we have no friends out there...we just made one!!"

OK, shifting gears....


Tata,

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What if all the stereotypical male pressures to conform to weren't there? Then who would we all be?.......And, isn't parenting about the kids, anyway?
I agree that there is a distinct need in many societies to throw these identities into question, for men as well as women. To readdress the thread's original query: "what do dads need?", I will sum up some answers and say, "whatever that individual dad needs." To say that women are chatty and clingy have an innate need for a social network is wrong. Conversely, to say that men are game-watchin', beer-drinkin' loners who seek fulfillment only under the hood of their car, is wrong. The pervasiveness of stereotypes in our culture is astonishing. It really should go something like: Each man and each woman does what each man and each woman needs.

Because of course! Parenting is about the kids anyway! It is so awful how no one seems to understand this! I find myself saying this phrase very often... it's beginning to becomes something of a mantra: "We all just get by as best we can." It's a very simple, pragmatic statement. In this life, we've all got a million problems, and all sorts of past horrors to deal with. We're saddled with a ridiculous society of mostly hypocrites and charlatans. Yet we persevere, and continue to live our lives, raise our families, and somehow remember to be happy. However it works... there is no universal mold for humanity.


It's a fantastic illusion, after all...
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#18 of 28 Old 09-26-2006, 12:28 PM
 
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Skip the "football for dummies". Please, whatever you do... It's not worth it. The problem is (flagrant opinion begins now) football doesn't get any smarter than dummy-level. It's a fine recreation, but doesn't deserve the cultural status it has. Of course, I'd say the same of any American/televised/multi-billion-dollar sport.
Well, I have my opinions on "commercialized" sport, and they probably jibe with yours. But, I still think we'll be better off spending a couple hours learning about it and moving on - I hate ignorance, and here I am living it

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I agree that there is a distinct need in many societies to throw these identities into question, for men as well as women. To readdress the thread's original query: "what do dads need?", I will sum up some answers and say, "whatever that individual dad needs." To say that women are chatty and clingy have an innate need for a social network is wrong. Conversely, to say that men are game-watchin', beer-drinkin' loners who seek fulfillment only under the hood of their car, is wrong. The pervasiveness of stereotypes in our culture is astonishing. It really should go something like: [I]Each man and each woman does what each man and each woman needs.
Been reading Richard Bach much?

It's true. In my rush to describe my DH's experience (this is, after all, the Dad's forum I'm intruding upon) I forgot to mention that I don't have girlfriends that I call every day and rehash every miniscule he-said-she-said detail with. My only "girlfriends" are 3 or 4 friends who live in other states (one in another country) who I might call or email ever 2 YEARS.

The thing about stereotypes, though, is that more often than not they have some truth to them. I can name several guys who don't fit the beer-drinkin', football-rousin' stereotype - but I can name a lot more guys who think that pulling a beer and watching the Packers is just this side of heaven. Also, while I may not enjoy gabbing on the phone with my 216 girlfriends, I also know that quite a few of us gals do (in fact, it's been a bone of contention between me and MIL, who thinks that I'm a terrible DIL because I have zero desire to call her and shoot the breeze).

But of course stereotypes are just that, and to get back on topic, I think you're absolutely right, Dads and Moms need to do whatever "they" do to unwind.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#19 of 28 Old 09-27-2006, 12:07 AM
 
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from musicman...

"Because of course! Parenting is about the kids anyway! It is so awful how no one seems to understand this! I find myself saying this phrase very often... it's beginning to becomes something of a mantra: "We all just get by as best we can." It's a very simple, pragmatic statement. In this life, we've all got a million problems, and all sorts of past horrors to deal with. We're saddled with a ridiculous society of mostly hypocrites and charlatans. Yet we persevere, and continue to live our lives, raise our families, and somehow remember to be happy. However it works... there is no universal mold for humanity.


It's a fantastic illusion, after all..."


Right on and well said!

Stereotypes do have a grain of truth in them, much like legends and myths. They are usually based on some obscure thing that happened a long time ago and then became, "the story". But, in this context, the stereotypes are based on what our society expects. Not that beer and football aren't actually going to be enjoyed by folks. But, that society says all men are to enjoy these things. Which, all men do not. So, there's a wished for reality in conformity by society. And, there is the reality of real people who do not conform to a cookie cutter stereotype. Shake off the stereotype preasure and there's a whole world of posibilities out there.

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#20 of 28 Old 09-28-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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Been reading Richard Bach much?
No, actually. I'd never heard of Richard Bach until I read your post and was prompted to find this. I can definitely identify with some elements of what he was saying.

Anyway, I agree with what you and Tata say about stereotypes. Of course there's some truth in there... it's why they exist. Human brains always categorizing and classifying, trying to compartmentalize everything....

Back to needs again, If anyone has heard of Maslow's Theory on the Heirarchy of Needs, I infrequently find it helpful to think of things this way and figure out what all I've been neglecting.
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#21 of 28 Old 10-17-2006, 02:41 AM
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We actually aren't really that different. Only our society makes us that way. Dads need the same things. We don't always get them. There are fewer dad groups and support areas for men. That I squarely put onto our culture. Men aren't supposed to show emotion or at leaste not what is considered a "feminine" need to be with others and feel close. Men are supposed to go have a beer with the buds, punch each other on the shoulder and watch the game. That's it.

I say bunk to that. I would love to hang with friends and actually have human interaction with emotions. I find a few men here and there who share this perception. It's hard being a parent and being able to get away to ever just hang out with people.

So, I would say yes, men need the "same "things. But, I agree that your sweety most likely does not get the chance. Especially if he works. I hope he can find a way to get there, though.
agree, i myself am a person who doesnt really go by gender. sure i dont have the feelings as much when it comes to things that women have (ie pregnancy etc.) BUT for the other parts im pretty much girly /manly.

ie HUMAN!
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#22 of 28 Old 10-27-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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I can't speak for the other dads, but yeah, dads do need some social time. I catch a movie about once a month with my friend Rob, and sometimes me and some old friends go to the Fox & Hounds to watch a UFC match.... but that's about it.

My friends usually don't like to hang out with me, because... I have kids. They are all childless, probably half of them are single, and as such they can go out, get plastered, pick up girls, and generally act like they did ten years ago. I usually get a call from them every few months when they remember I exist.

All my friends WITH kids are about ten years older than me, and they don't hang out with people like me, because to them, I am ALSO a kid. The only friend I hang out with regularly would be my buddy Rob, and since he's somewhat insane, he doesn't mind the fact I have kids, he's just happy to have someone to hang out with.

I've replaced "the need to hang out with friends" with "the need to be alone", and I get that maybe once a month, too, so I'd say about once a week, I get to relax in the way you've outlined up there. It's a mental thing.
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#23 of 28 Old 10-30-2006, 12:42 AM
 
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My hubby is a truck driver. I inneract mostly with the parents at our daughters school. He is not home often , on the road he inneracts with other drivers ( like if he see'd them in the same truck stop) thet'll have dinner together) Or if he see's them where ever they are delivering they'll go into the drivers rooms and watch tv.
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#24 of 28 Old 11-04-2006, 08:23 PM
 
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I usually just find a corner to unwind in, turn on some music, grab some popcorn or crackers or chips a soda and read read read. That's how I recharge. It doesn't even need to be alone. I love to unwind and recharge by reading to DS!

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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#25 of 28 Old 11-04-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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I am a social Butterlfy.. I need time to be with my freinds.. there are parts of my personality that i can not, and will not show in front of the kids.. (i.e. my sense of humor, and things I like.. certain types of moives, etc..)

Plus, it is nice to get something that I need to talk to people about (that are not part of the situation) so that i can get some unbiased advice.
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#26 of 28 Old 11-12-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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laohaire,
Skip the "football for dummies". Please, whatever you do... It's not worth it. The problem is (flagrant opinion begins now) football doesn't get any smarter than dummy-level. It's a fine recreation, but doesn't deserve the cultural status it has. Of course, I'd say the same of any American/televised/multi-billion-dollar sport.

DP is a football coach. I cannot offer any opinion on this, as it may cost me quite a few footrubs.

But
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#27 of 28 Old 11-15-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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I would appreciate more TIME TO MYSELF! or Time to SLEEP !

Enough whinning

I am different than most though, I don't work outside the home, I am disabled and in pain constantly ( but Medicated for relief ) .
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#28 of 28 Old 11-20-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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Spending time with other women is completely and totally necessary to me. After I spend a few hours with my best friend or my mom's group, I feel almost giddy, buoyant, rejuvenated from the laughter and stories and fellowship we share. I was driving home from an outing with friends, thinking about how I felt so renewed...and suddenly I felt a huge sadness well up inside me for my husband--does he need this? And if so, does he get it? He has friends at work, but his *best* friends live far away. I mean, of course dads need friends--but do they need dad friends?

Anyway, I know that women and men are different creatures, so my question is: do dads need this? And if so, if you're a dad: where do you get it?
What people need in the ways of communication, connection, emotional contact and socialization are different along lines other than gender.

Basic personality profiling (usually based upon efforts by Jung) point to as many as 16 (+/-) different "styles" of communication. While it can be somewhat striated by gender, it is by no means determined by it.

Rather than look at it in terms of what do men need versus what women need, perhaps a few online tests to determine what your personality types are and what styles of communication/connection best suit you would be in order.
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