Go, Daddy, Go!

Gay Guy,

A local group has started a father/infant running group, baby-on-board jogging strollers required. From today's Washington Post website:
The group we formed -- DC Dads on the Run -- meets every Sunday... Our goal is 3 plus miles of Daddy time. Time to discuss sports, work, marriage, child milestones, funny stories or anything else that comes to mind.... And finally... to add a little daddy bonding time to our lives as we share in the Dad journey.

It sounds so good-natured, healthy, and responsible that I'm reluctant to share my gripe, especially because I'll never have my act together like these guys do. But here goes.

I'm a father, but I have no idea what "daddy bonding time" is all about. "Daddy time" I get. Quality time with my kids is important. But bonding with other dads over developmental milestones? Meh, not so much. And don't get me started with the capital-D "Dad journey." Ugh. Are we really that reflective now?

Anyone on these jogs drift off the road while gazing down at their own navel?

Isn't there any nobility in struggling in silence with our responsibilities as men, even if we are stretching and growing to share more and more of the parenting with our wives?

Gay Guy, I don't know about your dad, but mine worked hard, parented, volunteered, and had a social life. If he was introspective about the transitions of his life, he kept pretty quiet about it. He was just a good dad. He didn't go on the capital-D "Dad journey," because it wasn't all about him. I'd like to stick to that selfless model as much as I can. But it's hard. Really hard. So who am I to judge? I'm certainly no expert on fitness or parenting. If these guys can recharge their parenting batteries by sharing their stories with each other, more power to them. They're more proactive than I am, for sure.

Well, here I am blogging about it, so major points off my stoic score as well. Mea Culpa.

Another confession: As those runners were warming up last Sunday, I was enjoying some Count Chocula and cartoons with my kids. And as they were sprinting for the finish, I had my kids out for lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl for hot dogs and chili half smokes. Before anyone calls an abuse hotline -- or Mrs. Straight Guy -- know that we had fruit (and Pepto) and exercise (and Pepto) for the rest of the afternoon.

Look, I celebrate the concept, Dads on the Run. Get out there. Enjoy your friends and make new ones. Tune your bodies. Model that behavior for your kids. All good stuff. But maybe, just a marketing suggestion here, we could substitute some healthy "bullshitting" for all that therapeutic "bonding." Hey, maybe this is just semantics and by "funny stories" you really meant "filthy jokes." If so, I'm in. Especially if this route circles by Ben's (and then an EMT station).

--Straight Guy


Straight in Upstate said...

On the one hand we have "parenting" magazines written for mommies, full of griping about crappy men and their crappy non-existent skills; on the other we have the Dad Journey (maybe with a theme song by Journey??). Yet again, no middle ground in America. My bonding moments with other dads (small d) are usually in 10-second insights that remind us we're not alone, then it's back to business.

And BTW, if you're going to strap your child in a $300 contraption (I'm guessing at the price) and ignore him/her for 3 miles while you Journey with Dads - leave the kid at home. He/she doesn't give a crap about your journey and he/she ain't getting anything out of it.

Kathryn said...

Straight in Upstate stole my gripe: As a mom, the big joke was always that if the baby isn't facing YOU, they're just hearing this disconnected voice and seeing a lot of...what? Color and shapes whizzing by, depending on how fast you're moving. I totally agree that jogging with your baby/small chld and talking to other dads is NOT a bonding experience...at least, not with the child. Although they may pick up some new words to bring home to Mommy. Yes, dads bitch and moms bitch...it happens everywhere. I'd leave the kids out of it.

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