Ask The Dad: Done With Fatherhood

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This question comes from Kristin in Los Angeles.

Hey Doyin, you are a fantastic asset to The Dad with your advice column and, hopefully, you’ll be a fantastic asset to my family. Here’s the quick story: My husband is a great guy and we have two beautiful daughters together (6yo and 3yo). Recently he stopped being as involved with the girls as he used to be. He often just sits on the couch, stares into space, finds little joy in anything, and complains when he has to do normal “dad stuff.” I’m not sure what’s going on with him, but my girls are noticing it, and we’re all miserable. You have a great way with words. How can I smack some sense into him and get him back to being the guy we all love?

Thanks for the kind words, Kristin. I also think I’m pretty good at this advice column, but there’s one factor I’m most proud of: I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t pretend to. Based on what you’re telling me, I can tell that your situation at home isn’t going to improve with me dishing out a few witty lines or by “smacking some sense into him.”

(Giphy)

Have you considered that your husband could be suffering from depression? To be clear, I’m not here to dish out medical advice, but coming from a person who suffers from depression (me), it certainly looks like he checks many of the boxes. Sadly, we still live in a world where men can’t openly talk about being depressed without being viewed as sissies who can’t “suck it up” and deal with it.

To emphasize how big of a deal this is, depression is currently the leading cause of disability worldwide with more than 300 million people affected by it. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that a solid percentage of those 300 million people are men who are suffering in silence. Could your husband be one of them?

In my personal situation, I kept my depression to myself and I became more irritable, disinterested, and hopeless around my children. No way in hell I was going to say anything because I thought people would punk me for being soft. This continued for years before I finally hit rock bottom and visited with a therapist — and without hyperbole, I can say that decision literally saved my life.

Now I’m able to enjoy the good, bad, and ugly things that fatherhood brings.

(Giphy)

If you want my advice on this, I would HIGHLY recommend that both of you visit with a licensed therapist as soon as possible. He/she can help to unpack whatever is wrong with your husband in a way that I can’t. If he enters the sessions with an open mind, I’m confident that things will improve.

Even in today’s “man up” culture, I wear my depression like a badge of honor because I understand that true strength doesn’t come from wearing a mask of fake toughness, but by being vulnerable and admitting you have a problem. I hope your husband will agree with me.

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

(Facebook/MessycowComics)

Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

(Facebook/MesscowComics)
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(Facebook/MesscowComics)

Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

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(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.