Playing Dress Up – A Dad’s Survival Guide

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Playing Dress Up – The New Standard

We’ve all seen the viral photos. The dad dressed like a super hero pushing a grocery cart with his little boy. The uncle who took his niece to see Cinderella and both were dressed as princesses. The dad having make-up put on by his daughter. The list goes on and on. I’m sure when you guys see them, you have the same reaction I did. “His wife made him do it.” “Is that even real? Probably staged.”  “How drunk was he?”  “There is just no way any man in his right mind would embarrass himself like that.”

Now, do you want to know what women think? “Awwwww, that’s soooo cute.”  “He must be such a caring and wonderful father to do something so special.”  “I wish my husband would be more like that.”

And guess what kids are thinking when they see those pics. “Wow! That’s awesome!”  “He must be the coolest dad ever.”  “I wish my dad was like him.”

Like it or not, these photos have set the new standard for what it takes to be a cool dad.  Gone are the days where taking them to the park and buying them ice cream are enough (although, if you’re in a bind, this classic move still helps). Like it or not, it’s now time to dress up and join in the fun.

How To Get Started

Now I’m not saying you need to run out and buy a Spider-Man costume, wear it to the store with your kids, and start posting selfies all over the internet. You can if you want to, but you don’t need to start there. Start small. Just try it in your own home and just with your own kids. Let me give you an example.

A few months ago, Viktoria (my daughter who was 3 at the time) threw a tea party and my six year old son and I were invited. Viktoria decided we should all dress up for this party (probably because she saw one of those super dads on the internet). My son, being so easy going about these things, pulled a princess dress on over his clothes and sat down. I, on the other hand, started with some excuse about not having a dress in my size. About halfway into my seemingly logical explanation, I looked at my daughter’s face and saw the disappointment. I thought about those internet heroes and realized that they had it figured out. Instead of finishing up with my lame excuse, I said, “Let me see what you’ve got.”

I ended up wearing a green tutu on one leg and a pink one on the other… I also wore a tiara…and a cape… and little princess shoes dangling off my big toes. When all was said and done, I looked pretty ridiculous. I’m sure a picture would rival anything you’ve seen in the social media realm. However, there are no pictures. The only people that got to witness my incredibly fabulous outfit were my two kids. Even my wife was out of the house at the time. I got all of the coolness credit with my kids, and there’s no photographic evidence! And to top it off, the kids couldn’t wait to tell their mom all about it when she got home, so I earned bonus points with her, too!

In addition to dressing up for tea parties, I have been super heroes, construction workers, a doctor, and even Buzz Lightyear.  All without pictures.

See, you can do the dress up thing in the privacy of your own home and get all of the accolades from the only people that matter. You don’t have to be some internet sensation. Just put on the tutu and enjoy the tea. Your kids will love you for it. And who knows? Maybe some day you’ll feel comfortable with someone snapping a photo and posting it online. Maybe…


Do you have a dress up story you’re willing to share ? We’d love to hear from you! (pictures not required, we’ll take you at your word) 

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