Have you heard the one about a new dad being criticized for taking two days off to be with his wife and newborn child?
The wife of New York Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, went into labor in Florida late last Sunday night. Murphy immediately hopped on a plane to be by her side and stayed there through Thursday, just long enough to miss the first two games of the 2014 baseball season. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the MLB and players’ association, Murphy is allowed a three day absence once placed on paternity leave.
His choice of fatherhood over career has come under fire from some of those in the media industry. Sports radio host Mike Francesca had this to say, “You’re a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse. What are you gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”
No, Mike. He is setting the standard of being a good husband and father, something that all too often does not happen in the world of the notable. A father, no matter his career, should make time to be there for the ones he loves. A father should be overjoyed at the birth of his new son. A father should choose family first and not want to have to hire a nurse instead of be there himself. A father should care.
A father should not be a father if his parental duties can be so easily dismissed.
Another radio personality and former NFL player, Boomer Esiason, made a statement that Murphy’s wife should have scheduled her c-section prior to opening day, but later retracted that comment. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that a c-section wasn’t part of the original plan if Murphy had to catch a flight after finding out his wife was going into labor at 11:30pm. It’s just a hunch.
Why are we even discussing this? Daniel Murphy chose to be a father to his son and experience the first few days of parenthood alongside his wife. The Mets should have been able to carry on without him for a couple games, and the mention of paternity leave should not have blown up in the media- at all, like, ever!
It takes humility, decency, and courage to be a good father. Not everyone is cut out for the job. Think of all those illegitimate children of actors, politicians, and sports stars who never know their father but see the fruits of his “hush money”. Think of all the actors, politicians, and sports stars who choose their careers over the children they bore with their wives and girlfriends. We don’t feverishly debate their lack of better judgement to not be involved in their childrens’ lives, do we? A man who chooses the path of a good father should never be scorned.
I was blessed to have been born to parents who value the meaning of family. They spent their hard earned weekends at my gymnastics meets and soccer games. They never missed a holiday or birthday. They let me rest on their laps when I tried to sleep away the nervousness at a doctors appointment. They skipped work to be at the hospital with me during my multiple surgeries often times sleeping (or laying uncomfortably awake) in the chair next to my hospital bed for up to a week straight. They were actively involved in their roles as parents and it didn’t seem like a chore or burden. They viewed parenthood as a priority and not a choice.
Daniel Murphy made his choice to begin his career as father in the right direction. He may not have the opportunity to be there for every birthday (given that his son was born on opening day) or light sparklers with his son every Fourth of July, but he showed that his role as a parent should be a no brainer. He would be there for his child right from the very beginning even if that meant missing two whole baseball games!
Yes, Murphy could have afforded a nurse for his wife, but, believe it or not, being a father trumps all in the eyes of some people. And Lord knows this child is lucky to have been born to a father like Murphy than a sperm donor like Mike Francesca.
Daniel Murphy played 317 games in the last two seasons even through nagging discomfort and pain. Why don’t we thank the man for being an integral part of the Mets franchise and let him miss his two measly games drama free? I’m not a Mets fan, but I am certainly now a Daniel Murphy fan.
I would like to point out that it’s still only opening week and two other MLB players have also exercised their rights to paternity leave yet no nationwide backlash has surfaced for them. Congratulations to Daniel Murphy, Sean Rodriguez (Tampa Bay Rays) and Brian Duensing (Minnesota Twins) for becoming new parents this week.
47. Daddy, Daddy wasn’t there… – “Daddy Wasn’t There” as sung by Austin Powers