Ask The Dad: Done With Fatherhood

(Getty/tommaso79)

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.

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

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

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?

Man Struggles to Fit Small Carry-On Bag in Overhead Bin

Dad Works Around the Clock to Pay for Infant Son’s Medical Bills

(Just Giving/Roger Kerrison)

When it comes to the health and wellbeing of our kids, there’s nothing parents won’t do. If we could reverse the rotation of the earth to turn back time, a la Superman at the end of the first Christopher Reeve movie, we would.

Unfortunately, we can’t control time. But one dad is doing the next best thing to help his son: maximizing all of his.

Roger Kerrison, of Plymouth, England, is a delivery driver. And he works hard. But he’s never worked harder than he has the past few weeks, since his son Nicholas has been in the hospital. Nicholas is four months old and lives in the Philippines with his mother. The boy, who weights a mere 3.4kg, is being treated for leukemia and a heart condition.

Roger was not present for his birth and therefore the Filipino authorities will not put his name on the birth certificate, making dual citizenship impossible and therefore making him ineligible for treatment via England’s National Health Service. So Nicholas is being treated in his mother’s country, and because the public hospitals aren’t up to par, they needed to find private treatment.

“The hospital was disgusting, we had five patients in a small room and two family carers per patient so in total 15 people in the room. It was overrun by cats and the whole hospital smelt of cat wee, they told us they needed the cat to keep the rats down. It was so hot in the hospital and you just could not breathe,” Kerrison told Plymouth Live.

So he is paying for care at a private hospital, on the island of Cebu City. And it costs about 300 pounds a week.

To cover the bills, Roger has upped his hours as a delivery driver for Deliveroo, and he’s upped them about as up as they’ll go. He’s been driving 11-hour days, 7 days a week. Those 77 hours a week are nearly double the typical hours for a full-time job. But such is the sacrifice he has to make to care for his son.

The doctors think Nicholas may have a rare genetic disorder called Noonan Syndrome, but without the proper facilities, they cannot test him to confirm. The parents are hoping to get Roger’s name on the birth certificate so the boy can get dual nationality and then be flown to England for better care. But until then, Dad is doing everything he can to cover the cost.

“I am working seven days a week, 11-hours a day, to try to keep up but it’s costing around £600 every 14 days. It seems like every time we take him to hospital they find another problem and Elena and I are exhausted and very stressed and worried. The financial worries jut add to the problem because in the Philippines they will not treat you until you prove you can pay and have to pay for every small detail.”

So far, the couple have raised £2,116 of their £10,000 goal on Nicholas’ Just Giving page. On the page, Roger states, “If you met my son I know you would fall in love with him, he is so cute and he is my life. I just want to make it all go away for him.”

And he’s doing whatever he can to make that happen.