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Daddy Swagger

2 Years Ago - Times Flies!

After a recent visit to BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com I commented on the blog post, Does Parenthood Make You Lame? The following was my answer:

I believe this is something my wife suffers from more than I, although you’d never be able to tell it by looking at her. And maybe because of archetypal, outmoded roles, women feel this more or internalize it more than men. I’m not exactly sure.

But being at the club has nothing to do with swagger or cool. In fact although going out to dance is cool every once in a while, but the regulars at the club (specifically one club they always go to) looking for the same old same week after week is beyond lame. But chillin’ at a lounge or a swank restaurant is something I truly enjoy.

I believe swagger begins internally - it is a state of mind - it has to be otherwise it is nothing but an act that fades over time and real swagger is not an act. A few years ago when I knew I was going to be a dad (my biological first, I have a teenage stepson) I was quite panicked about the whole thing. I happened to read an article in GQ magazine that put fathers into about 6 categories. The one that resonated with me the most was Prada Dad, the father everyone wants to know and be. In fact the Prada Dad is so cool, he makes childless men want to be fathers, and women — well I don’t need to go into that here.

President Obama (currently the king of swagger) has swagger for days and talks about his kids. Brad Pitt can’t seem to have kids fast enough and he’s got swagger, shouting them out every chance he gets. Will Smith has swagger and he’s an outspoken family man. And the modern day father of swagger, Denzel - well do I need to say more? I don’t even have to say his last name and you know who I’m talking about. Now all of these men are celebrities and they have plenty of money and help, but unlike plenty of other men who are celebrities and acting a fool and keeping their kids secret, you know these men are parents and they are proud about it. It actually adds to their cool.

But to answer the question do I feel I’m as cool as I was before I had kids? No. Because it’s a different cool. I’m not stupid cool anymore. I’m really cool — that grown man cool that will last over the years, like a classic muscle car. And why do I maintain my cool? For my kids. I want my kids to know I’m cool so that they know they can always come to me for anything. I want to be their superhero, their supercool dad that they’re not horrified to see when I pick them up from school. And I don’t want that to change as they grow older and wiser.

In my travels and at work when it come out that I’m a father and even I’m the age that I am, people look at me almost bewildered. “But how?” “What are you doing…?” “You don’t look like a…?” And because I am a parent of a baby I barely get any sleep and I feel like I’m being run ragged on many days. But that doesn’t mean I have to wear that for the world to see. This is my badge of courage and I wear it proudly (well). The problem is that being a parent or married person over time has come to be associated with looking like behind on a stick. And that’s the real problem.

Swagger is a state of mind. It begins with you and it is determined by you. Parenthood can’t mess with that. It should in fact enhance it.

Does being a father/parent mean you're not supposed to have swagger?

Does being a father/parent prevent you from having swagger?

And if you've got it (swagger) how do you maintain it?

Happy Monday!

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