Out-of-Town Dads

by Idaho Dad on October 22, 2012

I put my foot in my mouth again.

This time I was at a homeschool event and found myself chatting with a nearby mom I’d never met before.

At some point she said to me, “It’s very nice to see a dad doing all the teaching. So many fathers don’t have the patience to do that.”

I answered back with the obvious, “Very true. I know way too many dads who don’t have the patience to spend any time with their kids.”

And then I just kept droning on and on, which inevitably leads to me saying something unintentionally stupid.

“In fact, a lot of dads I know see their kids quite infrequently. It’s so sad. I just don’t understand why a father would allow himself to slowly become a stranger to his children. It’s tragic, these ‘stranger dads’ who spend maybe one day a week around their kids, if that. Work can’t be more important than family.”

Blah freakin’ blah, that’s me.

The mom suddenly had a sad look on her face and looked away, and that conversation ended as most do, with me thinking I just talk too much.

Later in the day, a friend told me about the woman I was talking to. Her husband works in another state, thousands of miles away, and gets home only a few times each year. Apparently it’s been very hard on the kids, but for some reason they can’t leave this area to join him.

I think I’ll start carrying a sandwich with me wherever I go. That way, when I find myself sitting next to someone I don’t know, I can shove enough food into my mouth so all I can do is smile and nod.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina October 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

As someone who has her foot in her mouth so often that she’s learned to hop around on just one, I feel for you. Sometimes, if I spew out a real humdinger that has me crawling in shame for days afterward, I will try to track down the person I said it to and apologize. They almost always are very gracious about it, especially when I point out that my mouth frequently just keeps jabbering along while my brain is downshifted into neutral. ;)

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2 Sisyphus October 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hmmm. Seems you called me out for something very similar.

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3 Adam October 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

It’s easy to see the immediate negatives of your comment. It’s almost impossible to see the long term positives that it may evoke. Maybe it provided a kick-start to a conversation about seeing each other more often. Maybe she will thumb through options for bringing them together that she had previously overlooked. Maybe a follower of yours who was contemplating taking a job out-of-state just made the choice to stay with their family and make ends meet in an alternative way.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/lessons-in-discomfort.html

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4 Marcia Bohn October 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

I have never ever bought the fact of “we HAD to move to keep/get a job. We COULD NOT find work right here.” BULL!! My cousin and her husband moved all the way from Michigan to Texas. She did NOt want to move. Her whole freakin’ family is here. He refused to look for a job here. he said he couldn’t find one. That was about 5 years ago and they are still there and she hates it. There are always ways to stay together ALWAYS!!!! Life isn’t about money. I don’t know if that is what the dad in this case is thinking or not but FAMILY should be most important and the highest priority on him should be getting his family back together where it belongs. Maybe your comments made the mom take a look at her situation and talk to the dad about it which is a GOOD thing. I wouldn’t feel too bad about it. You didn’t know. Have a good day with your kids.

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