Mom’s protect the heart, father’s protect the heads: A Lecture


A father’s job is so poorly defined in modern western society. I don’t want to romanticize the past, but it seems like once upon a time, a father’s job was to go to work and bring home a paycheck, teach the child how to play a sport and maybe how to fight, and if he covered those things, he could think of himself as a success. It should be said that a lot of social roles used to have clearly accepted boundaries that now don’t exist. For example, women had some pretty restricted expectations placed on them too, but it is certain that their release from these boundaries is a great thing . . . but the release of the men from their role boundaries seems to me to be a horrible thing.

what does daddy do

I’m not saying that men should be given a book on parenting (but I think that would be something I would have devoured as I was prepping to be a parent), rather I think that there should be a benchmark that is socially recognized as a good father and a bad father – some definition with very clear lines. I don’t think I could find all of these lines alone, but I know that I am finding them all the time as a father. For example, there are times when I’ve decided to keep playing a game on the computer when I know that my son wants me to play toy soldiers with him; the guilt that followed was enough for me to recognize the line there that defined a father over being any other man in my child’s life. A father is supposed to be exceptional for their child in the sense that their father must be better than all the other men around for the first 5 years at least. A child wants their dad to be superman, so be superman – all it takes is a smile, a hug, and time . . . perhaps the last one is the most important.


Mothers have the most important relationship with a child, there is no doubt, but that fact doesn’t let the father off the hook for having a great responsibility in the child’s life. Our society accepts ‘baby daddies’. The term offends me – this might not be a popular opinion but this is how I feel. Can it not go without saying that the first step in being a good dad is being a good partner to the child’s mother?! I was raised by a single mom, and that separation from my dad changed a great deal for me – the constant uncertainty, lack of security, living incredibly poor, etc. I saw my friends and cousins with men in their lives and I was constantly confused, and felt like there was something wrong with me since I didn’t have a man around to teach me things, hug me, protect me, or even punish/correct me.


The guidance given to a child from a mother is different than the guidance given by a father. Robert Frost said “You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s.”., and it was this impetus for acceptance that was lacking for me. I knew my mother would always love me, no matter what, and that let me feel like I didn’t have to do much to get what I needed, and so I was a lazy child who achieved little. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until I was married that I started feeling like I had to live up to any greater standard than paying the rent.


(Dad destroys daughter’s laptop over Facebook post)

Men need to be ‘Men’. I think everyone knows what I mean by that. Strive to be a better man, a better father. Sigmund Freud said “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”, and while I don’t prescribe all the things Freud said, I do think he was close to the mark on this one. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, security and safety comes first, and this is definitely what is given by the mom primarily for the first year, but after that first year, this responsibility becomes more and more a father’s job. And it should be. Don’t get me wrong, my mom did an amazing job and I have the greatest respect for single moms since they have to take on everything at the expense of their own needs, but I feel like a father’s job is to pick up this thread of protection. Mom’s protect the heart, father’s protect the heads.


So Man Up!


We need to hold men to a higher standard. We need to support single moms more since they are truly superheroes. Only men can change this – make this better by striving to be better. Try to be a better father than you had.


It is all about the children. It’s all about family. It’s worth it.


P.S. Some advice I got about how to be a good husband and father: Change a diaper once in a while 🙂

One Response to “Mom’s protect the heart, father’s protect the heads: A Lecture”

  1. some good advice here .. I tend to look back and beat myself up for my shortcomings as a parent. in my defense I was not diagnosed or medicated at the time, but I wish I could have found a way to be a better parent (and person) during those lost years. I believe I see behaviors in my kids that they would not have today if I were well at the time; I tend to blame myself personally rather than identify the untreated bipolar as the cause. It seems like such a feeble excuse to say “the bipolar made me a bad parent”. I have tried hard to make up for this since becoming more stable, and I am thankful for the relationship I have with the kids, but it could have been so much better for all of us.

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