Ode to Invisible Dad

I am in the kitchen, prepping breakfast. Melissa is in the bedroom, applying makeup. My 6 year old was in the kitchen with me 10 seconds ago, but now she’s standing in the doorway of the bathroom, asking Melissa if she can have a snack. Let me repeat that. I am in the kitchen. Autumn is in the same kitchen. Melissa is in the bathroom. Yet when my darling child decides she’s hungry and needs to ask for a snack, she doesn’t ask me even though I am standing right there in the room where we keep all the food. No, she goes to find mommy because apparently I’m invisible. In the mind of my children, Mommy is the only one capable of doing certain things. No, seriously. Melissa could be working on her laptop and helping Ella get her shoes on at the same time, while I sit in the same room doing nothing, and my other child will walk right past me to ask her a question. Don’t get me wrong. I’m present and involved and readily available in every way and every bit as capable of spreading peanut butter as Mommy. They just don’t see it. When their little brain synapses fire with “need,” an image of Mommy pops in their little heads. Sometimes I’ll ask one of my children what they need, and they’ll say, “I need to ask Mom a question.” When they finally decided to ask me a question (most likely because Mom is not there) they’ll address me as “Mommy, I mean Daddy?” I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve had many a discussion with other parents about the Invisible Father syndrome, so apparently it’s universal. This is why moms complain about never getting to sit down to read a book, pee alone, or take a bath without kids next to them. In fact, I’m convinced that kids’ needs are actually triggered by a mother’s sense of peace. The moment moms have a little relaxation time or a few minutes to themselves, the kids’ brains start flashing need-need-need, which of course brings up the Mom picture, and it’s all downhill from there. Perhaps this Invisible Dad syndrome is the same reason we seek to have our needs met by the world, rather than by God. Instead of walking right past Abba Father, we should hear the words, “Ask your dad, he’s right there.”

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