I've been thinking about how (almost) a whole generation of boys ended up with a Peter Pan complex.

   TV tells me (since I was not there to see it myself) that my grandfather's generation of men were a bunch of hardasses. Everything from The Wonder Years to one of my new favorites, Parenthood, depict the fathers from that time as tough guys who expected their sons to be men, even when they were still only boys. I think that those boys grew into men who wanted to be nicer to their sons, make life better and easier for their little buddies than it was for them. The female counterparts to those little-boys-who-grew-to-be-men wanted the same thing. They didn't want to stand to the side and let their little boys be growled at by a father figure determined to harden their babies into something else the way many of their mothers had done. I believe this was all done with love and the best of intentions.

   I also think my parents' generation - at least most of them - over corrected, a lot.

   I look at my dad and think that I may be the luckiest daughter ever. My mom got knocked up unexpectedly by a guy she didn't know very well (apparently, it's a family trait), and then walked her sixteen year-old self down the aisle and promised to love him forever. My mom got really, really lucky. She had no way of knowing that her wild child, 19 year old, pot smoking, immature babydaddy was going to turn out to be a strong, moral, loving husband and father. They stuck out the hard times and are still very much in love despite the way their marriage began. They are the exception that proves the rule.

   Now I look around at guys of my generation, and I have to say I think we were gypped. Instead of resembling those warm, affectionate, well-meaning parents that raised most of them, the vast majority of them are selfish, entitled, perpetual adolescents that don't have any clue what it means to 'step up,' much less how they would go about accomplishing that. This is not meant to be a man-bashing thing, it's just something I've been thinking A LOT about lately. So many moms of my generation are dealing with the fathers of their children acting like spoiled toddlers that I think it is begging to be addressed. So, here is my open letter to the little-boys-who-refuse-to-grow-into-men:

   Dear Husbands, Boyfriends, Babydaddies, and Not-Much-More-Than-A-Sperm-Donors,

   Asking someone to grow the eff up is not the same as asking someone to change who they fundamentally are. Your poker game/hunting trip/video game/whatever does not deserve a spot on your priority list that even approaches your kid. Yes, it would be wonderful if we all got to do what we want when we want, but the responsiblilities of adult life don't always allow for that. So stop crying about it, and man up. It's no longer all about what you want. Being in the same room as your offspring does not equal quality parenting. And if you couldn't manage to keep it together with the mother of your child, that doesn't mean you don't have a kid to take care of. Also, a check every month or money in the bank does not mean that your job as dad is done. Engage yourself in your child's life or step away and stop messing it up more. If you are desperately trying to hold on to who you were before your kid was born, then you are a moron. Things are different now, accept it.

P.S. To the daddies of my generation to whom this does not apply, thank you - a great big heartfelt thank you!

Sincerely, A mother who changed into the best version of herself when she got knocked up because that's what children deserve...

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