The Dad Life in 2019
June 1, 2019 | by rebecca stewart
photo by Kristin Hartzler
Through generations, the roles of moms and dads have evolved. Once upon a time – not all that long ago - dads weren’t even allowed in the delivery room, they were seen as the breadwinners and the disciplinarians, “Just wait until your father gets home, young lady!”. We speak a great deal about moms and their many hats – and toot their horns, we should – but dads should be no less lauded for what they bring to the familial table; indeed, the differences we each bring to the parenting partnership are equally valuable.
Often when we talk about dads in society, they are essentially the butt of the joke. They are viewed as less than. Less than capable of tackling the hands-on side of parenting. They are Daddy Fun Times who is an adorable hot mess when tasked with getting baby ready for the day. And maybe some of them are as they’re finding their footing in fatherhood. That’s the thing about parenting, though, there might be oodles of books on the topic, but there is certainly no hard and fast manual; we are all of us just figuring this out as we go along – dads and moms alike. It’s all too easy, isn’t it, in the day-to-day grind, to put blinders on to all the ways our parenting partner is contributing? We’re all too aware of what we’re doing, after all, so maybe we overlook the balance that they bring to the equation.
To give us a behind-the-scenes look at what at least one dad’s role looks like in 2019, we talked with Jeremy Vogel, dad to 9-year-old Jace, 11-year-old Aliyah, and currently three foster children. When he talks of the parenting balance that he and his wife Tracie, of 14 years, have created, he asserts that "Just like a marriage, parenting isn't 50/50. It is 100/100. We both give a 100%, and when my wife and I aren't able to give 100%, the other is there to lift the other up, always making sure the kids' needs are met."
When we asked Jeremy to give us a rundown of his typical day, he explains that there is no typical day in the life of Jeremy, as his schedule is different each week, working two 24 hour shifts as a Registered Nurse. With Tracie working from home and Jeremy's schedule allowing him to be home more than he is away, they've managed to create a balance where Tracie has full duty of the kids while Jeremy is at work. When he's off, he's able to come in and take over the primary parenting role to give her the time needed to keep her business moving forward. Though there are days when one or the other is shouldering the load, it’s more often than not all about dividing and conquering, explains Jeremy.
The roles that each parent plays in their children’s lives have indeed evolved over the decades, though those aforementioned differences that ultimately create an important balance for our offspring are still very much in play. Although Mom might be frustrated with the rough and tumble play that dads often bring, it’s actually an essential component to our children's development. In their own family, Jeremy notes that while Tracie tends to be more nurturing and affectionate, paying attention to the details, he lacks attention to those details and is more silly in his caring; “function over fashion.” It’s those differences, he says, that “bring our family into balance and create a home of love.”
When looking more deeply at dads’ changing role through the years, Jeremy would argue that a dad’s overriding role hasn’t necessarily changed. However, it could be said about this generation of fathers, they aren’t afraid to live their love for their kids out loud, taking a more hands-on, visible approach in day-to-day parenting. To Jeremy’s point, however, he reflects that a dad’s role has stayed remarkably steady, “A dad is there to help their children find out who they are, to encourage their children to take responsibility, and to teach them how to get up and try again.” Meanwhile, if you were to go on Twitter and search #fatherhood, you would discover a multitude of heartfelt Tweets, running the gamut from excitement over becoming a dad to heartfelt proclamations of “…my love my joy my everything,” @Karlton_NoBanks. Not to mention the all too relatable, “Day 4 of parenthood. The concept of time no longer exists,” @peachtree76. A marked difference from four years ago when that same search elicited far fewer results.
So, the next time you find yourself frustrated that your parenting partner doesn’t do things just like you do, remember, there is method at the root of our differences with immeasurable value to each of our roles.
Since every day brings something different for the Vogel family, Jeremy offered us a peek into a Typical Tuesday. And, with the 100/100 philosophy in play, he gave us the full picture.
(J) = Jeremy, (T) = Tracie*
- 6 ish - Baby wakes. feed
- 6:45am - If the other four kids aren't awake already it is "Rise and Shine" time for them
- 7:45am - Bus picks up three oldest
- 8am - Do the run to preschool (J)
- 8:30am - Grocery shopping or back home (J)
- 9:45am - Baby nap time = Time to get to work! (clean, laundry, prep for activities/food for the night, take Roscoe (Golden Retriever) for a walk)
- 11 ish - Baby awake
- 2-4pm - Foster family visit
- 2:40pm - Jace home from school. Snack, homework, piano practice, play time
- 3:25pm - Aliyah home from school (snack, homework)
- 4:10pm - Take Aliyah to Volleyball practice. On the way pick up two of the kids from family visit. (T)
- 4:25pm - Third foster child dropped off at home
- 4:30pm - Bath for middle. Get ready for an evening at soccer. Early dinner.
- 4:45pm - Aliyah dropped off at Volleyball (T)
- 5pm - Occupational Therapy appointment. Work out of the car while feeding the baby. (T)
- 5:15pm - Leave for Soccer with Jace and middle foster child (J)
- 6pm - Pick up Aliyah from Volleyball. Dinner (made at home earlier) in the car, following OT appointment. (T)
- 5:45-7:15pm - Soccer (J)
- 6:30pm – Bring the rest of the family to the soccer field for the remaining of the games. (T)
- 7:45pm - Baths for the remaining kids, snack, reading, unfinished homework.
- 8:15-8:30pm - Lights out!
- 9pm - Clean up, laundry, dishes, put the pieces back together for the next day.
- 10-11pm - Mom and Dad lights out!
*During the Day Tracie manages to squeeze in her work as time allows. Each day is different with different activities.
Time spent with dad is vital to our children, and dads knowing their kids is enriching and life-giving. He plays, teaches, and corrects in his own style. We are each uniquely suited to be our children’s parents, and those precious moments with dad are shaping each of them into their own unique selves.