Opinion: Dads just want a day free of guilt

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All right, girls, admit it. We’ve all done it.

That little sigh before you say, “OK …” The tightened lip, the silent look that says, “That’s not what I hoped you’d choose.”

In a word, guilt. It’s probably an aspect of maternal instinct in overdrive, but we females are experts at making our men (and our kids) feel bad about — whatever.

Let me share something with you for the sake of happy fathers this Sunday.

A few years ago I asked two dozen dads aged 30 to 70 what they really want for Father’s Day. No limits, conditions, or wrong answers, I said. Practical or fantasy. Total anonymity.

I got a few answers you’d expect — a big screen TV, golf with the guys, sports gear, a riding mower, fantasy vacations — and one Mustang.

But by far the most common theme was much simpler: No guilt.

So ladies, as you think about his special day, skip the tool set and join me in a self-evaluative little think.

A whole day to do whatever he wants, freely given. As one devoted dad put it:

“You know, without someone making a face or comment and then me changing my mind so everyone else will be happy.”

Don’t moms want the same on Mother’s Day? Truly unconditional love.

What was touching is that most dads said they wanted family time, at least for part of the day (and no chores). Some hoped for a family hike; others, just to read the paper, lie in a hammock, or take his whims as they come with no plan. (We can do this, girls. No plan!)

Sounds like heaven to me. Not that my opinion matters on Father’s Day.

Good dads deserve a break. Let’s give it to them, minus the look.

•••

Weird word of the day: Paterfamilias — father (Latin).

•••

Sholeh Patrick is a lucky wife and columnist for the Hagadone News Network who’s ready with a smile and supply of unhealthy (scratch that; no guilt!) chips and chili dogs for a full day of max volume ESPN. You sure deserve it. Just grant me the earplugs.

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