Manhood to Fatherhood: Advice on How to Keep Your Man-Card Intact : Intracoastal Outfitters
Every father has felt it at some point—that feeling like, at any moment, someone from whatever agency it is that handles this kind of thing would demand to see your man-card. And you, unable to reach it because of the diaper bag (Vera Bradley at that) draped over your right shoulder and the child held in your left, are forced to admit that you left it at home, or perhaps at the daycare. It doesn’t matter, the agent informs you, because no matter how hard you look you won’t be able to find it. That’s because it’s been revoked. And just in case you were wondering, he looks just like Tyler Durden (take your pick on which one).
If you’ve never had this feeling, well, congratulations. You’ve probably dodged most of your fatherly responsibilities and are still trying to live like you’re single or at least newly married and semi-free. But for the good guys out there—the ones trying to balance still feeling manly while being married and raising children, well, this article is for you.
You see it’s not easy for us men. We still want to be MEN. We want to do manly things. And yet, and this has been happening for a good while now, more and more guys want to be good dads too. We don’t want to go play golf every weekend, or fish, or hunt (okay, I’m getting carried away here, but you get my drift).
So how can you, as a dad, have it all? After all, what good is cake if you can’t eat it? Here are a few tips to consider along the way, and they cover a wide range of ages because believe me, it starts when they’re little and it doesn’t really go away. As the saying goes, little kids, little problems. Bigger kids? You guessed it.
Infants and Toddlers. Have your own gear. Look, this is no different than showing up for a fishing trip and asking your buddy to rig your rod for you. If your wife tries to make you carry a diaper bag with paisleys on it (I most certainly DO NOT speak from experience here), tell her thanks but no thanks, you have your own. You, instead, will carry a backpack (like you used to use when were a hiker, back when you were a MAN). Or perhaps a duffel bag that looks like it was made for mountaineering. Patagonia and North Face both make a duffel bag series that will make you look like you’re about to hop on the Appalachian Trail when you’re really about to change a dirty diaper at a 3 year old’s birthday party at the Funplex on a beautiful Saturday, wishing all the while you were at a tailgate party.
Kids. Speaking of tailgate parties. When you’re toddlers get a little older, it is perfectly acceptable to organize family-friendly tailgate parties. Find like-minded fans who can enjoy watching football while also maintaining a level of adultiness (yes, that’s a word). If you get enough families involved, the kids will have more fun because they’re with their friends too. Everybody wins. Bring along easy, portable outdoor toys like hammocks (Grand Trunk sells the perfect kid-friendly one for roughly $30) that will keep kids entertained for hours. If it’s a late game, hand each kid a Luci Lantern ($20 bad to the bone inflatable, solar-powered lantern) and let them go to town.
Older Kids & Pre-Teens. This is the perfect age to get kids camping, as camping provides the ideal environment where families can enjoy true quality time together, while also allowing kids to have a level of freedom they not only love, but need. Find cool, lightweight gear they can assemble and use themselves (see Grand Trunk hammocks above, Helinox chairs, or WindPouch inflatable hammocks—all great toys to enhance their fun and independence). And hey, the next time Tyler Durden slams into you in the parking lot of whatever boutique grocery you shop at, begging for a fight, you can tell him that your kid built his or her own fire when you went camping. He’ll not only give you your man-card back, he’ll put miles on it (to be redeemed on lazy football Sundays when you really feel like parenting at all).