12 Things Jim From 'The Office' Got Right About Fatherhood, Because #DadGoals
Full disclosure: I am obsessed with The Office. Like, I can recite every single scene of every single episode of every single season and if they ever end up re-booting the series, I will be there to play Pam (or Meredith) no questions asked. My love for the show doubled when I found out I was going to be a mother and, in turn, my partner was going to be a father. There were so many things Jim from The Office got right about fatherhood and when I looked at my own soon-to-be dad of a partner, I could see so many of Jim's choices and decisions and, well, excitement for fatherhood, in the man I was going to be parenting with.
Say what you will about wanting to mirror your own parenting after some fictional characters from a show that has since ended, but I think if you're going to try and parent like anyone, it might as well be Jim and Pam. Jim was an engaged father who didn't see his role as simply the "provider," but was quick to learn how to diaper anything and look up routes to the hospital and find out which daycare was the best for his daughter and help Pam through labor and delivery and even her initial breastfeeding complications. He was the quintessential partner, in that he was there to share the responsibilities that come along with parenting. He didn't care about gender roles or sexist ideologies that have shaped how society views motherhood and fatherhood. He was, well, a pretty damn awesome dad.
Sure, soon-to-be-fathers, you can start reading parenting books and look things up on the internet, or you could just watch The Office and do everything Jim did (sans some of his pranks, though). Here's a great place to start (but, you know, still read the baby books, too).
Fatherhood Isn't Always Planned
My favorite story line (when it comes to Jim and Pam) is the fact that their first pregnancy wasn't planned. Very few pregnancies actually are, and to see such a quintessential "perfect couple" have an "unconventional" family start was, well, awesome (and indicitive of how my family was started, so I definitely appreciate the representation).
A Father Can Be Just As Excited About A Baby As A Mother
In the scene when Pam and Jim learn that they're pregnant, it's honestly difficult to say who is more excited. Jim can't seem to contain himself and, as he calls Dwight to tell them they can't return to the volleyball game, he seems beside himself. It's pretty freakin' adorable and pretty awesome to see a man so excited, when they're usually portrayed as nonchalant participants in a life-change that has them shrugging and saying, "meh."
Fatherhood Can Be Scary...
There's a moment right before Jim and Pam go to the hospital to have their first baby, where Jim confesses that he is scared. It's a wonderful scene in which Jim is consoling Pam, who doesn't think she can handle labor and delivery. His willingness to be honest and show some vulnerability, leads Pam to feel more empowered. Hey, parenthood is scary, regardless of if you're a dad or a mom.
...But There Are Ways That You Can Prepare
Jim prepared for parenthood the way every grown-ass man does: by diapering cats (apparently). In all honesty, Jim was so excited and ready to be an active participant and parenting partner, that he was researching routes to the hospital and practicing his diapering skills and reading up on how long between contractions before you should head for the hospital. That's how every parent should be, regardless of their role or title.
Research Is Key
I mean, just read. Read and look stuff up on the internet (with caution) and ask questions and take advantage of all the information new parents have available to them. Jim definitely did, which is why he knew that Pam needed to get to the hospital way before her contractions were two minutes apart.
Fatherhood Can Get You Out Of Work
OK, well, maybe this isn't necessarily accurate, but it sure didn't keep Jim (and Pam) from trying. Whether it was faking labor and delivery to try and get out of another pointless meeting, or Jim having Pam and the kids come to the office, only to prove that having two kids is difficult and maybe Jim taking a few days off work (under the guise of jury duty) is so very necessary.
Fatherhood Means Being Part Of A Team...
This is, arguably, why we all love Jim and Pam the most: they're the best damn team on television. They work well together and they communicate and they share the responsibilities that go along with adulthood and being in a relationship and being parents. Jim doesn't assume Pam should stop working just because she's a mom. In fact, he supports her goals and encourages her to work on her painting. He is all about "teamwork" and, well, it's the best.
...And Sometimes That Team Has To Help One Another At Different Times
Even though Jim was scared, he calmed down his laboring, pregnant wife when she felt she couldn't go through labor and delivery. When Jim was freaking out, Pam calmed him down and told him not to worry, they had plenty of time to get to the hospital. A relationship (and especially a co-parenting relationship) is rarely 50/50, and more often than not one partner is going to need a little bit more than the other.
Fathers Aren't Incapable Fools
Not once during the entire show is Jim portrayed as a bumbling dad who doesn't know what he is doing and needs constant assistance and guidance. All too often that is how the collective "we" talks about dads; like they're incapable of parenting and need help from the mothers who just instinctively know what to do. No. That's not a real thing and fathers know what can do and can do it well and there's no reason to talk about them in any other way that, in the end, puts the majority of the parenting responsibility on a mom.
Fathers Have Just As Much Responsibility As Mothers...
Jim is all about pulling his weight and doing what is necessary, not as a dad but as a parent. I mean, aging, sexist gender stereotypes be damned.
...Which Means You Can Help With Breastfeeding
Jim was all about helping Pam breastfeeding, even if it was because he was mildly uncomfortable with a male lactation consultant being the one to assist Pam when when was having problems (and come on The Office writers, you could have done better than sexualizing breastfeeding). Jim is supportive and he offers words of encouragement and, when Pam eventually gets CeCe to latch, he congratulates her and tells her that, yep, she is doing a wonderful job.
Fatherhood Can Be The Best Thing In The World
Sometimes I think fatherhood is talked about as another box on the list of things someone should accomplish; something that needs to be "checked off" but not necessarily enjoyed. It's very clear that one of Jim's absolute favorite things, is fatherhood. In fact, when everyone finds a list that Robert California makes, diving the office into who he likes and who he doesn't, Jim makes one of his own. There's Pam, CeCe and the new baby, and then there's everyone else. Jim's family means so very much to him, and it shows.