Why Daddy doesn't refer to himself in the third person

What's with the Mommies and Daddies who refer to themselves in the third person? This Daddy – 10 weeks into his first child – doesn't think parenting is so unusually tough that it justifies flouting social norms.

Courtesy of Becca Dilley
Daddy takes a stroll with his 10-week-old.

Keeping within the spirit of this post over on Disney's Babble site that exhaustively justifies why Mommy refers to herself in the third person, (this particular) Daddy takes a crack at why he doesn't feel quite as comfortable following suit. Daddy further addresses why the annoyance of non-parents is actually something he still relates to, at least for the time being.

The gist of Allana Harkin's post goes a little something like this: You non-parents have no idea how difficult it is to have your regular routines and, therefore, personalities eviscerated by the all-consuming ordeal of parenting, and therefore if we constantly refer to ourselves in the third person and speak only of our children, our children's friends, our children's future prospects, and parenting topics in general, it should be excused by the fact that being a parent is the most important and challenging thing anyone could possibly contemplate, and the only reason you don't get that is because you don't have kids.

Daddy's take on that: nuts. From Daddy's point of view, legitimately difficult things that allow you to flout social norms (i.e., using the third person when talking to friends, talking only about yourself and/or your family, getting defensive about other people taking offense at either of those first two points) include the following: working in an emergency room; being a homicide detective or beat cop; serving just about any role in an overseas warzone; fighting forest fires. That's not an exhaustive list, but you get it – if you want to talk about challenging, crazy, rules-changing things to do, pick a career with life-and-death stakes that exposes you to constant stress.

Daddy doesn't think that being a daddy has any practical or moral equivalency to that. Daddy's opinion is that being a mom or dad is absolutely grueling and tough at times, and some allowances should be made: for example, the yard has gone unmowed for three months (whoops, sorry about that, we had a rainy spring and a baby), or Daddy often screws up the buttons on his shirt (something, we should probably note, Daddy sometimes screwed up before the birth of his beloved son).

But, (generally speaking), being a mom or a dad is a voluntary lifestyle change that is chock-a-block with really great little moments that come from welcoming a new human being into your family, moments that compensate richly for the disrupted sleep, difficulty of having a regular breakfast, and the general nuttiness of the experience. And therefore, Daddy will continue using the first person when talking to friends, as will Mommy, and we will both strive to talk about things including current events, books, pop culture, our careers, and – most critically – the lives and opinions of the people to whom we happen to be talking.

At least that's the plan. Daddy realizes that he's only 10 weeks in to his first child, and, four or five years from now, he might have devolved into some sort of grunting semi-feral proto-human. But that's not the plan. The plan is to keep it together, hang tough, and proudly be as non-irritating to fellow parents and non-parents as possible. Let's see how Daddy does with that.

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