Why I Do Not Go on Dates with My Daughter
Plan dates with your daughter or son all you like. I will not be calling our trips for ice cream, dinners out, or afternoons at the movie the same thing. I do not date my daughter.
There's a more extended examination of the naming of all this that could really dive deep into issues of patriarchy or heteronormativity. I'm not qualified to jump into that end of the pool, and I bet you're not overly interested in my thoughts about that.
But what I will tell you is that when my daughter and I leave the house - just the two of us - it's never referred to as a "date". Not by me, not my her, and not by my wife.
I'm in complete support, mind you, if you want to date your son or daughter. I'm not waging a war against social outings with your offspring, and I won't be writing my elected representatives to put such an issue on the ballot. Just know that your date night hashtags and purity balls aren't common topics of discussion around here.
But even without the innuendos and gender stereotyping, there's a much larger reason I don't go on dates with my daughter: I want her to know that our relationship is on a level where she doesn't need an appointment to access me. Special events aren't needed for me to to show her she's special.
If she wants me all to herself, a trumped up occasion or trip is not required. She needs to send no calendar invite weeks in advance. She has me and my attention the moment she needs it.
To me, that's what parenting is. It's being available. Being honest. Being there.
Sure, some outings will be more expensive, take longer, or be a bit out of the ordinary. Some will require advanced planning, reservations, and time to be set aside. And when all that happens, we won't be on a date. We'll be on a journey as parent and child.
(We also don't call it "Daddy Day Care" at my house. Mainly because no one calls it "Mommy Day Care," but also because we just refer to it by its original name: parenting.)