As I sit here staring at my computer and contemplating how to write this Father’s Day post, I find myself struggling with what to say. It’s amazing how hard it can be to articulate a ‘feeling’ when feelings are more than just the written word. They are emotions, they are raw, and they are profound.
In honor of all of the fathers out there, the BVTMB team wanted to highlight the awesome different kinds of dads in our community.
What’s amazing is that while we all recognized the simple fact that our families and lifestyles are unique, we were brought together by the commonality that we are all doing our best to raise kids in this wild and crazy world. And we are thankful to do this with a partner our kids can call dad.
So, without further ado, I present several different kinds of Burlington, Vermont fathers. We appreciate their differences, their similarities, and mostly their unique story and what kind of dad they identify as. These men are our heroes, and we love them all.
The ‘Stay at Home’ Dad
To say he is busy is an understatement. My husband recently took on the role of stay at home dad and takes care of all the doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, vet appointments, school paperwork, and house chores. He is learning to cook, learning to braid our older kid’s hair, reads to the kids every day, plays with them outside, and manages a no screen time schedule during the day. He also does the dishes, gives baths, and puts the kids to bed often by himself. I travel a good deal for work and he never questions staying home with the kids, sometimes for weeks at a time. He does this while also working on building his own business in his spare time (what little he has).
Even though being a stay at home dad isn’t working in a traditional sense, there is no question about how hard he works every day. Being a caretaker can be exhausting, and this man steps up to the plate to provide for his family in an unconventional yet powerful way. He’s strong, he is handy, and he’s the best dad I could have ever asked for my kids.
Our kids are lucky to spend time with him every day and his openness to staying home has given us the ability to get ahead of the daily grind and truly spend more time together as a family. My husband supports my career, my children, and never blinks an eye at the decision he made to put us all first. I couldn’t imagine life now any other way and am so thankful for having the stay at home dad as my husband. We’re unconventional, and I love us for that. And truly, my husband is my hero.
The ‘Dedicated’ Dad
I could call him ‘the insanely busy dad.’ However, that doesn’t capture my appreciation and admiration for him at all. Instead, I think the word ‘dedicated’ describes my husband the best. As long as we’ve been together, he has gone above and beyond for his family and friends, while also pouring his heart and soul into his jobs. After our second child was born, I asked him if I could become a stay-at-home mother. He didn’t hesitate to start figuring out how to make it work. These days, he works a full-time job, a part-time job, and takes on odd jobs here and there. On top of that, he’s finishing his Master’s Degree. As exhausted as he is when he is home, he still manages to do so much for us.
He is an awesome cook and has taught the inept cook I am to be functional in a kitchen. He is extremely handy and fixes whatever is broken and works on home renovations. During the week and on the weekends, he manages to carve out time to spend with our kids. From bringing our son to T-ball, to building train tracks and Lego structures, to tucking them in at night, he finds a way to cram it all in. Even though he’s so busy, he also makes sure I have nights ‘off’ so I can recharge. This season of our life together is pretty crazy. I know he feels like he doesn’t spend enough time with our kids, but it is obvious to me that he makes every minute he has with them count. In the end, none of us can ask for a greater gift than that. –
The ‘First Time’ Dad
This is my husband’s first Father’s Day, and I want to thank him for the wonderful job he is doing taking care of our son. When I went back to teaching, he switched to working second shift so that our son doesn’t have to go to daycare until I start my next school year. I know it has been a hard transition for him, but it has been so meaningful for our son. They spend the day together, take walks together, nap together, snack together, and play with the dogs together. I very much appreciate all the time and love that he gives to our son. It has been wonderful to see their bond grow and watch my husband turn into an amazing father.
The ‘Night Shift’ Dad
Jason has been working nights for about a year and a half. Because of this, we haven’t had the girls in daycare since last summer, which has saved us so much money. He works three twelve-hour shifts a week, and many weeks does at least one or two nights extra. When he gets home from work around 6:15 on weekday mornings, we usually have about 15 to 20 minutes together as a family. Not that it’s quality time — most of that time is usually spent reminding the girls over and over to get ready for school and making sure any activities or appointments are on our radar.
After I leave for work, he gets them breakfast and gets them on their respective buses before he can even think of getting any sleep. Most days, he gets only about 4 hours of sleep, then gets up early enough to run errands before our youngest gets off the bus at 2:15. He’s also the one that picks up the girls if they get sick at school and drives them to doctor’s visits and playdates. Then, when I get home at 5:00 pm, we have about half an hour as a family for dinner before he’s off to his next shift. Jason has made sure that his life can revolve around his daughters as much as possible, regardless of how busy he is.
The ‘Caretaker’ Dad
The Caretaker Dad is flexible. When his partner in parenting is recovering from chemotherapy he takes the lead and manages the entire household. He puts dinner on the table and loads the dishwasher and makes sure that the kids stay quiet so that Sick Mom can rest. This dad supports the kids when they want to “take care of mom” by getting her drinks of water or rubbing her bald head.
The Caretaker Dad wakes the kids up in the morning before school, makes them breakfast and brings his wife coffee in bed to help her ease into her day and feel like she is contributing to getting her children out the door in the morning. Even though she can barely manage to help them get their shoes on and out the door to the bus on time. The Caretaker Dad understands that Sick Mom still needs to maintain her identity as a mom, so he finds ways to show the kids that mom is still mom.
This husband is a role model who shows the kids that it’s okay to be scared and sad and worried about this cancer, while still reassuring them that we will get through this. He takes time off of work to attend doctor’s appointments. Has flowers delivered every time she has chemo. Loves her and his heart shatters when he thinks that this cancer may kill her, so he tries not to think about that and he hugs her tight, but not so tight that he presses on her port. Rubs her shoulders or her legs when they feel sore and tight. Supports her when she plans celebration days to help her have something to look forward to. He only cries when he is alone.
When Sick Mom feels better, Caretaker Dad takes a backseat and allows her to resume her position as CEO of the family without complaint and when she gets tired, he seamlessly fills in the gaps, once again.
The ‘Traveling’ Dad
The traveling dad frequently travels for his work which requires him to be away from his children for long stretches of time. Well-meaning people will often say, “You must feel like a single parent.” I understand why they say this, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. My husband is an excellent father. A wise friend once said to me, “Your proximity to your children has nothing to do with how well you parent.” For my husband, being a great father starts before he leaves for work. Each time before he leaves, he carefully makes sure that the groceries are stocked up, the car is filled with gas, and all the bills are paid.
While my husband isn’t in the home every day, he always makes a conscious effort to connect with his both of his children. Technology is frequently used for Facetime conversations which include silly face competitions. He sends text messages to check in on both my day and the kids’ days. Finally, when cell phone service isn’t available, he sends pre-recorded messages to the kids for them to listen to.
When my husband is home from work, he makes an effort to be engaged with both of his children. He packs their lunches, makes me a cup of coffee before work. He gets the kids dressed for school during the workweek. During the day, while the kids are at school, he gets the daily chores completed so when everyone reconnects at the end of the day, we can spend quality family time together.
While this isn’t a traditional arrangement, I am constantly amazed by his love and dedication to his children and our family. Yes, my husband travels frequently for work, but he is wonderful father wherever he happens to be.
– Sarah Fabrizio
The Military Dad
We know our community here in Vermont is filled with Dads who serve in the military. For those who are active duty, this means lots of moving and readjusting over and over again for the family. For those serving in the Vermont National Guard, it means giving up one weekend a month (and so much more!) often missing the kids’ sports and recitals. For all of them, it means sacrificing months at a time when called out for deployment. And yet, they do it happily. They do it for the love of their country, the love of their family, and the love of freedom. These Dads are true heroes and, if I do say so myself, my husband is among the best of them.
The ‘Role’ of Dad
It should go without saying that the team at BVTMB also highly appreciates and recognizes all of the single parents who go it alone. We see you, we love you, and we admire what you do every day. You may not have a traditional dad in the household. But, you have taken on the role of both mom AND dad. This is amazing. We can’t even begin to imagine how difficult these “Days” may be, but know that we are all thinking of you and celebrate what you do. It’s simply amazing. YOU are amazing. So Happy Every Day to you. Let’s take a moment to all say thank you for those of you that need it most. Today is also about you.