If you’re looking for a babysitter in the New York metropolitan area, you might want to cross Mike Francesa off your list.
He’s the sports talk radio show host who completely freaked out this week because Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed a couple games to spend some paternity leave with his wife and newborn baby.
Francesa clearly couldn’t fathom why any man would need to take time off from work simply because he became a father, saying stuff like “Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days,” “You can hire a nurse,” and “Why would you get ten days off when your wife has a baby? You didn’t have the baby.”
Oh, he’s also said all this other stupid stuff too.
We get that this guy is a sports media “personality,” so spewing mindless incendiary vitriol is actually his primary occupational duty. So job well done on that front, Mike.
Our job, on the other hand, is to give parents information that is actually useful in their lives. So here are some thoughts about paternity leave, fatherhood and sports from The Doctor and The Dad:
From the Doctor:
The idea that men should take time off from work to spend with their families might sound like a useless, crazy, unproductive waste-of-time to the older (or older minded) set. But these days men have become way more involved in day-to-day family affairs like childcare. Thank goodness, because having a more involved dad is better for the whole family.
Moms Love It
As a mom, it makes me incredibly happy to have a partner who is competent and comfortable taking care of our kids. It lightens the load immensely and it allows me much-needed breaks to space out and peruse the internet or even to occasionally take a long, warm shower. (Very occasionally.) No wonder research studies have found that wives are happier when their husbands are more involved.
But more importantly than that, seeing the kids play and smile and cuddle with their daddy is almost as satisfying as getting those precious moments with the kids myself.
It warms my heart to see the special bond that they share. And that bond only grows stronger with each hour that they spend together.
Kids Love It
Are you kidding? What’s better than having a dad that is available and eager to spend time with you? Especially when he’s a total expert at beat-boxing and pancake-making. And having such a present, nurturing dad will benefit the kids’ social, cognitive and emotional development throughout their entire lives.
Dads Love It Too
Spending more time with kids is great for dads too. Research shows that dads who are more involved have better relationships with their children and happier marriages. All that time and investment pays off in a fuller, richer, more rewarding connections with the entire family.
So congratulations to all those dads who take time to spend with their kids – both immediately after birth and during any of the (way too few) years that we get to raise them afterward. Considering the immense rewards that you and your entire families get from your presence, I’d say it’s worth catching some flak from a disc jockey over.
From the Dad:
Here’s one of the most underrated things about becoming a father that no one ever seems to talk about: it allows you to care less about sports.
If you’re a young dude with no kids, that sentence surely made no sense to you. I know it wouldn’t have made sense to me back when I was in your shoes (and replica jersey) either. For most of my life, I would spend countless hours poring over drafts, trades, games, highlights and analysis for all my favorite teams pretty much year round.
When they’d win, I’d be happy.
When they’d lose, I’d throw something at the cat.
And because I’m a Cleveland sports fan, I would throw something at the cat all the time.
But when you have a kid, you get the opportunity to change all that. (Not the Cleveland teams losing thing. Nothing could ever change that, of course.) But what you can change is the way you react to it.
And it really isn’t even that hard.
When you create a tiny person whose entire sense of happiness and wellbeing you’re responsible for, it really shifts your priorities. I don’t know how it can’t. Taking care of and hanging out with your kids automatically becomes more important than everything else in your life, including work, music, personal hygiene, getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, and yes, even sports.
These days, I still watch the games (most of them anyway), except now I am much more skilled at separating my own personal happiness from the inevitably pitiful performance my teams put on display each game day.
It’s really the healthiest thing for a Cleveland – or Mets – fan anyway.
And as for new dad Daniel Murphy, it looks like he’s got his priorities in order too. His most important job isn’t making Mike Francesa, his coaches and teammates, or a whole bunch of depressed Mets fans happy. It’s making his growing family, and newborn baby, happy.
And it looks like he’s off to a great start.