With Father’s Day right around the corner, I’d like to pay homage to my dad and an important lesson he taught me years ago.

Back when I was in college at Boston University, during the summer of my junior year, I had an internship at a public relations firm (I majored in Communications, with a minor in Public Relations). It was a hip, fun agency with cosmetic and skincare clients; and I’m not ashamed to admit it, I had a huge crush on the handsome son of the owner, which made going to work every day a lot of fun.

What was extra special about this internship was that it was a paid internship; and I relished the $150 a week I made, and felt very rewarded for my hard work, which entailed phone calls, direct mail assembly, curating media materials, assembling press kits, composing thank you notes, collecting and filing clips, and even brainstorming sessions (which I found really exciting).

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I felt I was in my element, and in my customary way of totally immersing myself in an experience, I lived and breathed for this internship.

Then they asked me to attend a baseball game client event. Why this happened, I have no idea… not any more, but I do know it was over 90 degrees that day; and I was out in the hot sun.

If you know me, you know that I can’t tolerate the hot sun for more than a few hours. So what happened? Instead  of getting soft drinks and water for the client, and acting as a gopher, I found myself in the midst of heat stroke, feeling nauseous with my head between my legs. My employer quickly moved me out of the sun, and gave me ice to suck on, but were visibly annoyed that I was useless for the rest of the day. I was annoyed at myself, too; but I was also quite ill.

READ MORE: Let’s Give Dads Some Credit

The next week, I noticed a bit of a chill in the air. Then, I went to the copy room and found a piece of paper lying around that had just been copied. It welcomed the newest intern starting the following week, and clearly stated that it was an internship for credit, not for pay. I felt like I had just been punched in the stomach, and knew that I was looking at my replacement. I folded up the announcement, placed it in my purse, and went on with my day with a feeling of dread.

The next day, the Vice President I reported to, called me into her office and told me that they were unable to continue paying me for the internship, so they were very sorry but they were no longer going to be able to continue my employment there.

She saw how upset I was, and said if I needed a moment to collect my thoughts, that would be fine. I went into a conference room and called my dad.

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“Daddy, they are letting me go. I know it’s because they are getting another intern that they don’t have to pay, but they don’t know I know that.”

This is the advice he gave to me:

“Estelle, calm down. Listen to me. Don’t tell them that you know that they are getting another intern. Go back in and tell her that you are upset, but you understand and would like her to give you a reference so you can get another job. Make sure she gives it to you now. Then go around and tell everyone goodbye, and say that you are leaving because of financial reasons. Let them wonder what that means. We’ll talk more about it when you get home tonight.”

READ MORE: The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

I followed his advice, and secured a glowing reference from the Vice President, who undoubtedly felt guilt stricken by the decision to replace me. Then I went home and fell apart. I was inconsolable at the loss of this job, that I was so dedicated toward, that had meant everything to me. Plus it was mid-July, and I had about six weeks left before I’d be heading back to school; what would I do with myself? How would I get another job I loved, like the one I had lost?

I threw myself on my bed, sobbing in agony. My dad quietly entered my room and told me this:

“Estelle, stop crying honey. Stop crying. Don’t worry. We’re going to sue them. We’re going to take them to small claims court for the $900 they owed you to finish out the summer.”

READ MORE: My Father’s Daughter

With those words, my dad gave me hope. Hope that I would be vindicated. That this experience wouldn’t be for naught.

When we got to the court a few weeks later, the Vice President and her husband, a high-powered attorney, looked thoroughly annoyed that they had to sacrifice their time and energy to deal with me.

I didn’t have a lawyer representing me, I had my dad. He told me to tell the judge my story, and I did. I emphasized how much I loved the job and how devastated I was when I lost it. How I had turned down another paying internship to take that one (I had a letter to that effect).

READ MORE: 5 Inexpensive Gift Ideas For Father’s Day

When it was their turn to speak, they overplayed their hand; saying my work was poor (my dad countered with the signed glowing reference), they said they weren’t using interns anymore (my dad countered with the letter I had introducing the new intern, who wasn’t being paid). They said that they never agreed to the whole summer (my dad countered with a letter that I had saved when I was first introduced, welcoming me and saying that I would be there the whole summer).

Finally, they said that I was shirking my responsibilities that Saturday when I was at the client baseball game, and my dad had a letter from my doctor saying that I had suffered from heat stroke. They looked shocked; confused; and totally blown away by our well-thought-out and well-supported case. The judge asked all parties one final question. If he rules in favor of one or the other, would we be willing to split the money in half? They immediately said No. I wanted to say no, but my dad said, “Estelle, say yes; show that you’re fair,” so I did, no questions asked. That sealed it for the judge.

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I won the case; and a few weeks later (while at my extremely tedious, and never-to-be-repeated again job in shipping at a local warehouse) a check from the public relations company in the amount of $900 came in the mail. Justice had been served. And more importantly, I had learned a valuable lesson about standing up for myself. Even when faced with a bigger opponent. Especially when faced with a bigger opponent.

Thanks Daddy, and happy Father’s Day. I love you.

This post was originally featured on Estelle’s blog, Musings On Motherhood And Midlife. Photo via.

Teenagers. They are full of Anguish, Hormones and Attitude. AHA. Except it ain’t so satisfying.

“Empty the dishwasher,” says me.

“Okay mommmmmm, I will!!! You like already told me like 12 times!”

Exactly.

“Hey, there must be a nice place in your room to put your shoes,” says him.

“Hee-hee. Dad, you’re so funny!”

It’s 10pm on a school night. I really want her to go to bed because it was getting late. “Are you done with your homework yet?” I ask.

“Geez, mom. NO! I’m trying, all right?? I have to finish THISSSSS!!!!” I think I actually saw her head spin on her shoulders.

“Umm, love bug? Maybe you should go take a shower and get ready for bed now?” says him.

“Okay, dad. I think I may not wash my hair tonight so I can get to sleep early.” Hmm. Why didn’t I think of that? And I swear I actually heard her eyelashes flutter.

What’s up with that?

Who spent…okay so I wasn’t in labor for an eternity like some women. But still. She passed through my lady parts and ripped all kinds of shit. And it hurt. But who gave her life? Okay, so I couldn’t have done it without the sperm part. But I nourished her and carried her and got fat for her.

Who feeds her chicken soup when she has a cold and holds her hair when she’s puking? Who helped her bathe after her accident when she could hardly move? Who does she go to for girl advice? Or when she needs a shoulder to cry on?

Me. That’s who. So, she’s a little snappish. So what. She’s just like me. Full of hormones and attitude. I’ll take her like this. She may be daddy’s girl, but she’s my girl too. And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less of the head spinning…

This post was originally featured on Maureen’s blog, Momfeld. Photo via.

Last Mother’s Day, this video went viral. A fake job posting was created for a position with 24/7 hours, no vacation time, limited breaks, a demanding boss, etc. Candidates (yes, people applied for it) were involved in video interviews and at the end of the interview it was revealed that this “toughest job” was that of a mom.

Awwwww.

Tears were shed, people said they missed their mom, loved their mom, were going to call their mom, etc.

This video irritated me. Why?

Because I felt it totally discounted the roles that fathers play in their children’s lives. It’s all about mom. A mom’s kiss heals boo boos. A mom always knows what to say. Moms are superheroes and… dads? Well, they’re just the other parent.

Yes, I know the video was dedicated to moms for Mother’s Day so of course the point was to appreciate them, but I feel like dads get a bad rap in the parenting world all too often. When people post pictures about moms we get stuff like this:

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When people post pictures about dads we see this

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Yes it’s funny and, okay, it’s also true, but dads get the short end of the stick when it comes to the love and appreciation the internet has for parents. Moms are inspirational, doting, cookie-baking angels, and dads are neanderthals who don’t know toothpaste from diaper rash cream.

Guess what? Dads are equal parents. My Dad loved on me through my teenage depression episode just as much as my Mom did. My Dad stayed up late talking with me about life and love and boys just as much as my Mom did. My Dad taught me about humor, politics, and why it’s important to be well read on current events. He taught me how to bowl a strike and cultivated in me a love for great music. My Dad is awesome.

My husband, the father of my children, is also pretty incredible. He cuddles with our kids more than I do. He allows our two-year old to help crack eggs for breakfast. Even at their young ages, he is already instilling in both of our children the importance of problem solving and decision making. He’s already the favorite parent in the house. Just last week when he was sleeping, Lillian was mad at me and what did she do? She ran to our bedroom door and yelled, “Daddy!” Luke is an incredible father.

I don’t want to take away from the amazing job that moms do. I’m a mom and I know how hard this job is. But it’s just as hard for dads. I think it’s even more difficult because they’re fighting this caricature that’s been created portraying dads as drooling buffoons. Dads aren’t inept or incapable or bumbling idiots. They’re parents who love their kids just as much as moms do.

Can we start treating the fathers of this world with the same love and reverence we give to moms? They’ve earned it and they deserve it. This video is right on the money. Happy Father’s Day.

This post was originally featured on Toni’s blog.

From 2005 to 2006, the first year of my daughter’s life, I was warned repeatedly that being a formula-fed child would diminish my gal’s entire future, making her fat, slothlike, dim, equipped with an immune system that practically summoned infection, and unattached emotionally to her parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization were both on a crusade to boost breastfeeding rates, and it was impossible to ignore the implied threat: formula babies are screwed.

The headlines of that era — “Breast-feed or Else!” “Formula Doubles Infant Deaths!” — felt a little like Donald Rumsfeld’s post-9/11 color codes, a kind of terrorism in themselves, with dire outcomes predicated on sources I couldn’t examine firsthand.

Though our pediatrician wasn’t worried a bit about my daughter, it seemed like everyone else was: parent magazines crowed about the need to breastfeed (despite running ads for formula); online parent forums held open season on the selfishness of people who wouldn’t breastfeed; and I knew formula moms who had been blatantly harassed by some of La Leche League’s less well-trained members.

I tried to shake off the formula-shaming, even as it added layers of worry to my already tired parent-of-newborn mind. It’s not like there was anything else I could do about it: I had no breasts, and neither did my husband.

Gay dads like me, straight dads parenting alone, women with a physical inability to nurse, grandparents acting as caregivers, foster parents, parents of infants who cannot suckle, and more — there are thousands of people every year tasked with the care of newborns for whom formula is a must. Whatever the cause, it’s no picnic to defy the accepted wisdom of your time, especially when you are surrounded by a population being trained to rattle off all the “facts” about how much your child will suffer as a result.

The only consolation I could take at the time was that as my daughter outgrew formula, there was no hint yet of the most commonly-cited expected outcomes; in fact, she was fit and active, the first to walk of all the kids in the moms’ group I’d joined, and she pretty much managed to skip all the ear infections and stomach bugs felling her playmates. The only kid in the group who could keep up with her at the time was a boy named Kaelen — and he was a formula baby, too.

Flash forward to the present and the breastfeeding-versus-formula smackdowns are more tempered. Today, the parlance is less harsh and tends to allow that formula doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, though it is still less desirable. As one pediatrician puts it, “There is a world of difference between ‘best’ and ‘the only choice of right-thinking people.'” But the same old claims still get trotted out, despite the increasing number of studies that suggest that the “facts” don’t show a marked difference in most areas, and the differences that do appear may be based on other factors entirely. Give it a few years and yet newer studies may rewrite the wisdom again.

Since questionable science seems to be the lingua franca of those debating this topic, I will give you the results of my own very small study, with a sample of two. I’ll start with breast milk-deprived Kaelen, now 9. His mom reports her healthy son is social and creative, adept at soccer and swimming, fluent in two languages, and academically on target for his grade. As for my daughter, she plays soccer, does martial arts, and can bicycle for miles; she reads 500-page books and makes journal entries about marine biology, her favorite subject; and, frankly, I envy her immune system.

So for caregivers like me, who cannot breastfeed (or who choose not to), I am happy to report that my girl is bright, active, and bonded with her parents, not because formula was magic but because it kept her well-nourished through that year when there was no one to breastfeed her. Whether our path was “best” or “second best” is a moot point; the one truly provable long-lasting outcome of formula for my daughter is this: her life.

This post was originally featured on the Huffington Post. Photo via

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To celebrate Father’s Day, we asked our contributors to share their favorite memory of their dad.

Danielle Herzog
My favorite memory of my dad is him making us quizzes to test us on things we were learning at school. And he would even make you write your name on top as if it were the real deal!

Rachel Schinderman
At my wedding, my step-father (who legally adopted me when I was 19), gave a speech for my father who died when I was four years old. What he said was lovely and moving, but how he said it was truly selfless. By sharing the stage with my deceased father, it was the the perfect merging of these two important men in my life on one of the most important days.

Jennifer Sando
My Dad makes the BEST biscuits and gravy! When I was younger, he would make my friends and I breakfast while dancing in the kitchen. He also gave the most fun “bucking bronco” rides when I was a kid and now my boys get to ride the bronco, too!

Julia Arnold
Running together early in the morning in the Outer Banks during summer vacations.

Beka Shane Denter

My favorite memory of my father is of him sitting at the foot of my bed singing “Midnight Train to Georgia” while playing guitar.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka? - Father's Day Memories

Florence Escravage
My father’s morale had really taken a hit. He came to my house for lunch and I greeted a man who had finally opened himself up. There was no façade, no pride or reserve. It was the best exchange I ever had with my father. He’s since returned to his posture of a solid and invincible man of 74 years of age, and our conversations are much less rich…

Beth Markley

Dad was superb at giving compliments. He’d never say something like “oh, what a nice drawing of a horse,” and leave it at that. He’d follow it up with “I like the way you caught the play of light on his coat, and the detail on the muscles, it’s almost like I can feel him running.” His thoughtful and specific comments made me feel like I was truly the center of his universe for that moment.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka? - Father's Day Memories

Erin Moffat

All of my memories of my Dad are my favorite because I think that he’s the best. If I had to recall just one. My Grandparents owned an old fashioned soda shop. My Dad walked down every morning for coffee and to get the newspaper. On Saturday’s he’d take us with him. My grandfather always behind the counter. It’s where my parents first met. I would get a strawberry milk or once in a while the special treat of a strawberry soda before breakfast. We’d get a little something like a candy, and walk home.

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I will give you my last dollar. (It’s also my first dollar). You can borrow my car and even use my phone.
But share my pizza? That takes a special kind of special.
It’s almost Father’s Day, and I have a steady relationship going with Netflix. So here’s a list of five movie dads who’ve earned the right to sup with me. Why these guys? Each has a trait I’d be proud to share. Or that I aspire to share. Maybe if I split a pie with them, I can gain it by osmosis.

1. Bill Borgens, Stuck on Love (played by Greg Kinnear)


He’s married to Erica (played by my teenage crush Jennifer Connelly. Remember “Rocketeer”? I do.) He gets booty calls from all-get-down-to-business neighbor Tricia. (She’s played by my grownup crush Kristen Bell. Remember “Frozen”? I try not to).

What a life, right?

But the wife’s estranged, and the neighbor is out for one thing. Maybe two. That’s enough complexity. But then add in his kids … They’re writers. His daughter is about to become a published author, but not of the book he edited for her.

Bill Borgens is awkward and brilliant. Confident and weak. He won’t run from harsh realities of his plight, or from staying involved in his kids’ lives. And protecting them. To any extent necessary. I can respect t0068at. He’s humor and he’s sadness. And loyal. I can relate to that, too.

Our pizza: Thin crust, black olives, green peppers, onions. Bacon, on my half.

2. Grug, The Croods (played by Nicholas Cage)

Body hair and barbaric eating habits aside (or maybe included), this prehistoric dad is a lot like me. He’s head of a tough-to-contain family. In a world where the constant threat is becoming some creature’s lunch, Grug must play it safe.

When you’re in a family under that protection, it can grow thin. When his cave is destroyed, Grug finds his play-it-safe MO won’t fly in a wild, wild world.

So much of Grug’s existence I associate with; bearing the brunt of family welfare, with little or no fanfare. A hint of disregard. More than a few underestimations of what he’s capable of. Until he does. In the hugest way.

Our pizza: Meat lovers. All the way. Deep dish. And by meat lovers, I mean real meat lovers – stegosaurus, mastodon …

3. John Clasky, Spanglish (played by Adam Sandler)


He’s a caring father and acclaimed chef with a dysfunctional family. This movie is about his housekeeper and her daughter. But I love the back story of a dad and his daughter, who will stand tall for each other, no matter what happens.

John Clasky as a dad overshadows John Clasky as a man. That man falls into this soulful connection with an incredible, and, yes, gorgeous) housekeeper. And the John Clasky whose marriage falls apart.
I love how he loves his daughter. Effortless. Genuine. Not because she needs extra love, but because of who she is. And Adam Sandler didn’t even have to use his baby voice or signature tirade to deliver. Although I would mirror that if called upon.

Our pizza: Does it matter? He won’t eat much. We’d keep the pitchers of beer rolling in.

So, let’s recap: I admire the devotion, fierce love and loyalty displayed by a caveman, cook and writer. I love who they are, not only as dads, but as men.

I’d love them even more if they picked up the tab. I have this habit of losing my bottom dollar …


Pacheco_Eli-1GUEST BLOGGER:
 Eli Pacheco

When he’s not fighting trees for golf discs or protecting his paycheck from his kids, Eli Pacheco writes the blog Coach Daddy. Follow him on Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of ABC news.