Growing up, my friends would always talk about the strange things their parents did. It seemed everyone had similar experiences with what their parents told them or how they acted. Of course, I could never relate to anything that they were saying. My parents were born and raised in Mexico, and when they came to this country they brought their culture with them. Which means my dad brought his Mexican-style parenting.
So for Father's Day, in honor of knowing my own father for almost 20 exciting years, here are 20 things Mexican dads say and do.
1. "Preguntale a tu Mamá."
In other words, "Ask your mom." Mexican dads' favorite method of parenting is making sure the whole family has permission from Mamá.
2. He tells you so many "When I was your age" stories...
"When I was your age I already had a job! I walked 10 blocks to school!"
3. ...that always seem a bit exaggerated.
Did you really know how to use a machete when you were 11, Papá? Did you really walk through the snow to get to school? In Mexico? Really?
4. He is always right...even when he's not.
Arguing with a Mexican dad is just not allowed. It defies the laws of Heaven and Earth (according to him, at least!).
5. "Don't worry, I'll fix it."
Similar to arguments being against the rules, do not question a Mexican dad's ability to fix literally anything. From phones to furniture, he will fix it even if he has to teach himself how to do it. If a Mexican dad can't fix it, no one can.
6. You do not have a boyfriend. You have "un amiguito."
The word "boyfriend" does not exist in the Mexican dad's vocabulary. Their daughters have "little friends" only. When my dad started calling my boyfriend "the boy," I knew we were getting somewhere.
7. "When I came to this country... !"
"... I had nothing!" Of course, there was struggle immigrating to a new country, and Mexican dads will never let you forget it. My dad's personal favorite? "When I came to this country I walked through the rivers and deserts on my own two feet!" (Spoiler: He did not. He got here on a plane.)
8. So. Many. Hats.
I think it is drilled into young Mexican boys that they will never truly be a father until they own at least 10 hats. Hats in any and every style. That's it. The only requirement.
9. "When are you getting a job?"
"Allowance? Are you an American kid? Allowance ni que nada. Get a job, then you'll have money!"
10. You have no name. You are either chamaca or chamaco.
Mexican dads don't actually refer to their kids by their names. Chamaca and chamaco (meaning brat or kid) are words my siblings and I are often addressed as. My dad also calls me and my sisters "Juanita" and my brother gets "Juan de la Barrera!" None of us are names Juan or Juanita.
11. "Que pagas renta, o que?"
Literal translation: "Do you pay rent here or what?"
What Mexican dads actually mean: "Show some respect around here."
12. "Make memories, not babies!"
One of the most confusing aspects of Mexican culture is that girls are raised to be mothers but "NOT YET, ES MI HIJA! No dating until you're 30!"
13. "Vamos! We're going to be late for Misa!"
On Sundays, only two things matter to the Mexican dad, and those are Jesus and conchas (Sweet bread. Way better than donuts.)
14. "Oooh! Tienen Puerquitos!"
Puerquitos are a sweet bread similar to gingerbread (but way better) and are shaped to look like pigs. While they matter the most on Sundays, Mexican dads can appreciate puerquitos any day of the week.
15. "Do you want me to get el cinturón?"
My dad never tried to use a belt on any of us. He only told us stories of his childhood, and we'd just back away slowly.
16. "Where is the remote?!"
Mexican dads seem to constantly lose the television remote, but they always have a foolproof system to find it: make everyone else look for it.
17. Similarly, "Pasame el remoto."
Mexican dads only ask you to hand them something well within their reach. Then they sit silently while they wait for you to pass them the remote.
18. "When you have kids, you'll understand!"
Mexican dads will often tell you they hope your kids will be as nasty as you were (or are) so that you will finally understand everything they do for you.
19. Mexican dads will always love you more than anyone else.
They're your biggest fans, and they will love you no matter what. They'll love you even when you're being an idiot, and they'll love you so much they will tell you when you're being an idiot. Mexican dads are always there for you.
20. "But did you really ask your mom?"
Mexican dads will do anything for you, but they know who's really in charge.
So here's to all the Mexican dads. Here's to my Mexican dad who has worked harder than anyone else I know to get us where we are today. I owe everything to him and his decision to start our family in America.
So gracias, Papí, for being the best Mexican dad a girl could ask for.
Feliz Día del Padre!