Honoring the unsung fathers who step up to the plate

Whether with parenting or caregiving, here's to all the fellas who get things done

Danita LaShelle Jones avatar

by Danita LaShelle Jones |

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“You actually trust him to babysit?” the woman asked me.

Although it wasn’t my first time hearing it, the question still took me off guard.

When our four children were younger, I was a stay-at-home mom. Even though our oldest children were in school, the twins had yet to reach kindergarten.

Because he worked during the day, when my husband, Paul, came home, he was an all-in dad. He would help with homework, engage in bath time, wrangle everyone to the table for dinner, and afterward, help get the kids in bed.

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Occasionally, he would try to convince me to get out of the house to get a break from all the hubbub. On the rare times that I would agree, I’d find a quiet coffee house, order my favorite beverage, read, catch up on emails, or do a little writing. I never thought twice about leaving him with our kids. Why would I?

So when the woman asked me if I trusted him to babysit, I wasn’t just caught off guard; I was offended.

“Fathers can’t babysit their own kids,” I retorted. “They’re his children. And why wouldn’t I trust him?”

The now flustered stranger muttered something about men not being moms and then trotted off to find a seat in the café.

Walk the talk

I am an unapologetic defender of great dads. There are many exceptional fathers out there. But a few years after this conversation, I became the ultimate hypocrite.

When our oldest daughter, whom we lovingly call Ladybug, was diagnosed with hereditary angioedema (HAE) in 2021, we had already faced the upset of balance in our home. Ladybug was in and out of the hospital, and I was right there with her. I would drive to all of the appointments and give all the medicine. I operated as if I was in the journey by myself.

In the meantime, Paul would still keep our home routines with our other children. He would still take them to practices, cook dinner, help with homework, and get them to bed. I never worried about what happened at our house because Paul was there.

That didn’t make what I had to do with Ladybug less exhausting.

“Why aren’t you letting your husband stay at the hospital sometimes?” my sister asked one day.

I didn’t have an answer. I had positioned myself to be the sole caregiver for our daughter. Not only was that not sustainable, but I had already begun to show signs of caregiver fatigue. Although I’d been a vicious defender in the past of how capable my husband was as a father, I was not practicing what I preached.

It took a little time to relinquish some of the caregiving responsibilities to him. Because I had become so accustomed to doing everything, letting go so that we could share the duties was more challenging than I thought it would be. But it was my best decision.

Recently, I took on a full-time position at a nonprofit organization that requires me to travel quite often. This means that Paul has to go to some of the appointments, make some of the hospital runs, and occasionally administer Ladybug’s preventive medication. He’s brilliant at all of these things.

Our methodology may differ, but because our daughter’s health is the goal, we’ve built a fantastic system that works for us.

I know there are more dads out there who share in the caregiving responsibilities or even shoulder all of them. This Sunday, on Father’s Day, we should take the time to celebrate those superhero fathers and father figures in a way that shows how appreciative we are for all that they do.

Note: Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angioedema News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.


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