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Are Men Just Children?

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A photo posted by Charlie Capen (@charliecapen) on

To the woman in the grocery store who came over to my wife while I was with my kids:

I would like to apologize.

You grinned, pointed at me and asked my wife, “Did you know you have three kids?” I stood there completely dumbfounded by the question and didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to your patronizing words.

I would like to take a minute and share my thoughts.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I love my kids but don’t consider myself one. I’m sorry you can’t tell the difference between having a good time with your kids and being immature. I’m sorry if you think men are irresponsible or babysitters but that’s an outdated way of thinking. More than anything, I’m sorry for the men in your life who’ve convinced you of this idea.

I’ve been writing about fatherhood for over five years now. I’ve made a living out of it, with articles on websites like Fast Company, Buzzfeed, Babble, Babycenter, Huff Post, but I couldn’t string the right words together to correct your antiquated thinking. I’ve spoken at the White House about how fathers strip away gender bias and are great partners in fighting systemic sexism. I’ve become friends with thousands of fathers who do an even better job at speaking about their lives or their work evolving the face of men caring for their children.

But all of this work hasn’t made my job as a dad any easier. If anything, it’s made it more complex. I’m examining my life, paying attention to doing it right. It’s a weekly exercise in being honest with myself and about the world that my children face.

So, I’m sorry if making my kids laugh in a public place warrants a snarky remark, but I need to teach them adults need some levity as the world faces some of its toughest battles ahead.

I plan to keep laughing with them for as long as I live.

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