• Jonathan Shuerger

Dads Don't Get Stockholm Syndrome

Anyone ever noticed that your mom is one of the most forgetful people alive?

My mom's like, "Oh, you guys were great. We had such a good time when you guys were growing up."

And I'm like, "Really, Mom? I remember death threats that sounded like they came from an ascetic Muslim scholar."

Moms go through nine months of insane hormones, weird cravings, emotional swings and back aches to grow a human being like a barnacle in their wombs. The cherry on top is the wonderful ritual of giving birth, which can last 48 hours and registers a 6 on the Richter scale. That's if they don't get their bellies slit open and the child pulled out like a tamale from an oven.

Somehow, moms forget about this and do it again, sometimes multiple times.

Dads don't do this.

Dads remember it all.

We dads know well the terrorism these incompetent midgets inflict upon us. For millennia, these brats have expertly manipulated our wives, using twinned guilt and compassion in a single blade like little whiny Darth Mauls.

Kids don't fear their mothers, on the whole. Moms spend too much time trying not to feel guilty about being hard on their offspring.

Dads don't do this.

Dads remember when the two-year-old eats a $30 headset, or spills Mott's applesauce on a $120 keyboard. We know well the pitter-patter of little feet and the tinkling of shattering glass as they, again, ignore our bellowed commands to stop running in the house.

Moms want to rule by love. Dads will rule by fear.

Everyone of us remembers when we pushed it just a bit too far and Dad broke the sound barrier with a bellow from the deeps. We turned around and there he was, stalking toward us, Hell rising in his wake.

Childhood is a balance of trying to get away with enough that Dad will want to stay in his chair, but not so much that we awake the Beast.

In fact, the only reason we put up with the little boogers is that it's super fun to hurl them into a couch and pelt them with pillows. And also dominate them in Mario Kart.

But the sheer expense incurred by the fact they exist is obscene. And you're an absolute monster if you start cutting back on their "necessities" in the budget.

"Really? You bought a $60 video game and your daughter can't have $2 for ice cream at school?"


When she's working 12 hours a day, this comparison can be made. I can't even play the dumb game until the kids are in bed, because then bad dreams might result. I can't teach my daughter essential survival skills like headshotting zombies until she's 14, apparently. In the meantime, I'm bargaining away precious hours of sleep to dome the undead menace with the boys.

This makes me a bad person.

So no. I don't have this weird derangement that makes me forget everything these miserable muskrats have done. They turned my wife against me already. My wife and I used to be tight. Now I'm lazy and an unwholesome influence.

I am trying to live a peaceful life in an environment rendered hostile to me by these miscreants. I'm either tuning out the noise or laying down the law. I'm judge, jury and executioner and trying to stay in my butt groove on the couch.

I'm not your friend. I'm not your buddy. I'm your dad.

Now get me the remote.