Dynamic between dads and moms is always interesting
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:17AM
Coming up is our annual ode to Dad, the guy who often stands behind the scenes but still packs a powerful influence, much as a film director would. No on-screen time for directors, but they are integral in turning out a well-finished product. The same could be said about dads.
In our family, we are big on nicknames, catchphrases and quips. We have a favored saying, one you’ve probably heard before, when we don’t want interference: “Sit down, shut up and wear beige”. Originally used, according to lore, as a directive to a mother of the groom during wedding preparations, we use it jokingly, with apology for the shut-up part, as a way to send a signal that we really don’t want input on a developing situation.
Oh how many times I’ve used, or wanted to use, that catchphrase on the Boss, not to threaten his masculinity or stature as man of the house, but to save him from himself. I think I’m no different from mothers in many households when I say this, but dads can often get themselves in tight corners and it’s us, the mothers, that have to turn into translator and straighten out the mess.
Example: If I had a dollar for every time our son during his youth was told by his father that, due to some indiscretion, he would never ever in his lifetime go to one more Bears game, even though we have season tickets, I could buy that new Louis Vuitton bag I covet. So, once the edict would come down and the next Bears game came up, while everybody is happily planning the day’s tailgate menu, I am left to figure out the appropriate consequence for said indiscretion, or accept that there will be no punishment at all. Good guy? Dad. Bad guy? Me. Why oh why didn’t I simply say “Sit down...” to him at the time of the incident?
Or, when either of our daughters asked to go on excursions into the city, or out with friends we were not familiar with? Dad easily said no. Flat out, unequivocal ‘No’. No explanations, no reasoning, no compromises. Just N-O. I, on the other hand, suffered great angst about the verdict, arguing behind the scenes why they should be able to go, and why there was no reason for concern. Dad breaks the news, it’s OK to go after all. Good guy? Dad. Useless non-ally? Me. Had I used the “Sit down” quip before the original “No” was given, maybe I could have gotten some credit for a satisfactory resolution to the request.
I’ll bet in each household, similar stories can be shared about the dynamic between dads and moms. Plenty of successful comedy shows explore that concept and provide belly laughs to audiences that can relate. That’s one of the many beauties of Dad’s influence, and just one of the many reasons he deserves his day.
As long as he agrees to sit down, shut……oh you know the rest. Happy Father’s Day!
Send email to Pat Lenhoff at: email@example.com.