June 10, 2013

A Dad is There Through it All. ~ Marla McMahon

Any man can father a child, but the superdad is the guy who sticks around and is there for his child through it all.

He is there for his child right at the start holding his new baby and telling him that he cannot wait for all the adventures that are to come.  He is there when his sweet baby wakes him in the middle of the night; he doesn’t roll over and fall back asleep, instead he rocks his new baby and does what he can to help with the nightly feedings. He is there to photograph those early footsteps and he takes delight in listening to the developing language skills that his child is learning. He is there at bedtime and many a night falls asleep on the toddler bed after being talked into reading Boynton board books again and again.

A superdad is there for all the new moments.

He is there for his child on the first days of preschool. He adjusts his work days so that he can be involved and help out in the classroom. He is there to teach his son how to ride a bike and spends all afternoon cheering him on until that incredible moment when his son gains confidence and takes off riding down the street. He is there with the rope tied to the pinata as he prevents a bunch of six-year-olds from getting their teeth knocked out with the bat. He is there to coach his kid in soccer and takes off work early twice a week trying to get a group of nine-year-old boys to settle down and stay focused, teaching them how to be a team on the field.

A superdad is there for the tough times.

He is there to drive his kid to the emergency room after yet another injury from a day of adventure. He is there for the broken bones, the stitches and the tonsillectomy. He is there providing for his family and does all he can to make ends meet. He is there to help his son who is struggling in school and he tutors him after long days at the office. He is there for him every night building confidence and mastery in his son’s school abilities so that eventually his son blossoms and makes the middle school honor roll.

A superdad is there for the good times.

He is there to cheer his child on during the sports games, the class plays, and the recitals. He is there teaching his child how to put up a tent and catch that first fish. He is right there next to his son as he runs his first 5K teaching him the importance of good health and exercise. He is there on the trip to Disneyland waiting in the hot sun all day long in line after line, even though he dreads amusement parks.

The superdad is committed to family.

Traditional or nontraditional, he comes in many shapes and forms. He supportive and respectful of his child’s mother even if he doesn’t agree with her all of the time. He offers to help when he can and regrets missed opportunities to spend time with his kids when pulled away by work or other obligations. Superdads may transcend biological ties to his child and “step” in to their child’s world.  Some are grandfathers, uncles, or godfathers who care for the children as they care for their own.

Superdads show courage in dealing with the complexities that come with blended families.  Superdads deal with the awkward moments and challenging times all families share.

A superdad is there through it all.

He is there for the good, the bad and the ugly. He doesn’t run away when things get tough. He is there to show his child that even when things get challenging and he loses his cool; he is able to calm down and work things out with others in his life. He is there through the thick and through the thin and teaches his child what it means to be committed, loving, patient and forgiving person.

Happy Father’s Day to all the unsung superdads out there who manage to save the day again and again.

Your being there makes a huge difference in your child’s life. Your being there makes you the biggest superhero that your kid will ever know.

Marla McMahon, PsyD, is a mom of two boys and a Clinical Psychologist. In her private practice in Sacramento, California, she works within a mind-body model with patients of all ages, in areas of depression, anxiety, weight management, and stress reduction using mindfulness-based integrative psychotherapy. In her spare time, Marla enjoys being outside as much as possible and drives the distance to be near the ocean. She also enjoys paddle boarding and hiking.  In addition to her work as a Clinical Psychologist, she teaches mindfulness meditation to her clients and is currently training to be a hatha yoga teacher.


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Ed: Wendy Keslick/Kate Bartolotta

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