SI.com writer Jeff Pearlman has a really tough job. He’s a writer for Sports Illustrated, a contributor for CNN, a work-at-home-dad, and he’s the only, that’s right, ONLY father that’s taking care of children.
At least, according to his piece on CNN: “A Father’s Day Wish: Dads, Wake the Hell Up!”
Everything from this guy’s holier-than-thou tone to his smirky picture sings man-hate.
I mean, really – this guy actually starts one of his paragraphs out with “I envy you, but I sort of pity you.” Oh, well thank you, I think!
Look, we love our wives. We love our kids. A lot. Some of us work from home, some of us work away from home. Some of us, believe it or not, in this economy, work both from-and-away from home. We’ve got jobs, wives, kids, apartments, houses, cars, businesses, dreams, and probably a couple of other things somewhere in there too. A couple of us also have PlayStation 3s. And we make it happen. That’s all, we just. make. it. happen.
Some of us even have books, just like Jeff. Ain’t that somethin’.
I initially started to write “Pearlman’s got a couple of good—” and then I couldn’t finish the line; I re-read the list at the end of his article, and now all I want to do is use all that “machismo” he thinks I’ve got and kick his dick in. I mean, if he presented the things he was saying with any other tone, that’d be a different story. But Pearlmann’s whole attitude is “I’m giving my children wonderful memories while your wives come crying to me.”
I’m guessing that this is the guy whose yearbook quote was “for those of you that knew me, you’re welcome and for those that didn’t, I’m sorry.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s tons of dads out there like the ones Pearlman describes – ones that view parenting as the “wife’s job,” and just want to kick their feet up when they’re home from work. But there’s a whole lot of us that don’t – there’s a growing (and I mean by leaps and bounds) number of fathers that can’t wait to get home from work to see their kids, and have given up a whole lot to give our kids the best lives. We don’t deserve medals (like Pearlman), it’s just the right thing to do to care about your family. And being married is an act of teamwork – if your teammate isn’t pulling their weight, you’ve got to wonder why you drafted them in the first place.
Really, I think he problem with the article is that Pearlman is talking to all fathers – never giving credit to those that have indeed made the sacrifices and tough decisions to be a part of their kids’ lives.
Pearlman gives us a great list of talking points, which I’d like to misrepresent by giving you the more incendiary bits. And as Pearlman says, “pay close attention, because, behind your back, people are pitying your wife.”
First, he tackles golf: none on the weekends. Okay, you know, this is actually fine with me – maybe because I’m not a golf fanatic anyway. If I do play, it’s a video game, and when my kid’s old enough to play with me, I’d love to share it with him.
Next, waking up: “I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard.” Problematically for Pearlman’s point, there’s a lot of fathers that wake up before their kids, present company included. I’d love to get that extra two hours my kid takes in while I’m already in traffic or at a desk, talkin’ numbers. So on weekends, I get to sleep in and wake up with my kid. And a lot of the time, I’ll get up and let my wife sleep in, since she’s up all week. A lot of dads I talk to do this. Again, we’re not looking for early-riser medals – it’s just what we do cause we’re good.
Changing diapers: Pearlman says you’re pathetic if you don’t know how to change them. And yeah, I can see that. But I think, again, more dads do this than he knows.
Play with dolls and paint your toenails: I don’t have a daughter, but definitely play with “dolls,” if you count stuffed animals. Pearlman is correct *shhh, don’t tell him I said that* when he says it’ll make a friend for life if you paint your toenails with your daughter.
Back in the hatred saddle, Pearlman has talked to another one of our wives, and she said that her husband has never been alone with their 9 year old daughter for more than 2 hours. First off, I don’t know how all of our wives are finding Pearlman, but we’ve got to find a way to shut them up. Maybe we should rough them up, or threaten them – in front of the kid! That’ll teach ’em. And Pearlman already thinks we’re lazy, beer-drinking sports-obsessed guys that want nothing to do with our kids, so he expects it from us anyway. What’s funny is that the point he was making was valid – he was just saying we should spend solo-time with our kids. I’m 100% on-board with that, but not how Pearlman puts it out there.
His next suggestion – surprise your kid by picking him up from school or camp early and taking him to the park or movies. I agree with taking the kid out for a surprise outing, but maybe not picking your kid up from school early. I don’t know if this is really what Pearlman meant – to literally rip the kid out of biology class to go play in the park, but where I come from, that’s called “playin’ hookie.”
Pearlman’s #8 is best left un-edited: “Dishes Don’t Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It’s amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.” I’ll let my work-at-home-dads handle this one.
As well, #10 is better left in Pearlman’s words: “For God’s sake, tell your kids you love them: They never see you, and they’d probably like to know.” Well, he did say “probably.”
I wasn’t alone in disliking Pearlman’s throw-down. In closing, I’d like to quote a couple of fathers from Reddit’s father forum, “Daddit,” where I originally found this article.
Rex9 says: “Sure, there are Dads who can’t cut it with the kids. Guess what? There are Moms that cannot cut it too. They are the ones who commit the most child abuse (not that they get punished for it to the degree the men do).
This article and its like are what our society is doing to men to alienate and push them farther from their families. It stigmatizes men like most of TV shows and advertising now that paints men either as buffoons or child molesters.
I don’t know any of my friends who aren’t dedicated fathers who spend tons of time with their kids. Once again they sensationalize the minority for page views.”
Ultramegakungfu says: “So, if I do all of these things already and work full time does that make me some sort of super dad?”
Garndtz says: “Not sure if it was the style that he wrote it in or the content, but this article turned me off. I am fortunate enough to be home a lot and very involved with my child, but do not think this is the only way to be a good dad. I think there are dads who never change diapers, work 60 hours a week and are still great dads.”
BTSavage replied to the above with: “He just seems to be giving himself a huge pat on the back. He has a good message, but he’s too pretentious in its delivery.”
Actually, no, I’d like to close with Pearlman’s closer – because as always, Pearlman trumps all: “Bud, as you read this your wife is expecting little — and your kids are expecting even less. Pull one out of the blue. Make Father’s Day less about you, and all about them.”
Maybe we’re not the macho bullies with our noses constantly in sports. Maybe it’s him. He seems to know so much about it, after all.