Am I a bad father?
I’m going to take a little break from all the reviews and how-to-do’s and discuss something little more personal. I am a father of 2, happily married, and trying my best to be the best dad possible to my little boys(3 and 5). But here is something I get accused of time to time, “You don’t do anything for the kids!” I gotta believe there has to be handful of other dad’s that gets accused of this. Or I gotta believe there has to be handful of wives that’s accusing their husband of this. It’s a terrible accusation that hits the core of my spirit and I was wondering why that is, and I finally figured it out…because it’s the truth, and it hurts.
I have a traditional family where mom stays with kids and I work several jobs to make sure all the lights turn on in the house. I borrowed that line from Chris Rock when he said, “It is mother’s fault if kids do bad in school, but it’s the father’s fault when kids do bad in school because the light don’t turn on in the house”. That cracks me up but its right on target for how my family operates. Anyway, I been thinking lot about where things have gone wrong and where things are headed. If something does not change I will end up as the father that just works, sleeps, and sits on a sofa on weekends. I don’t want to be that guy.
I guess a mother always has that distinct advantage from the beginning, and its that beginning that puts a dad at a huge disadvantage. Mom will always grow with the child but Dad’s growth will pretty much end when all the vacation days are used up. This means a mom will always have that comfort level with the child. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m missing out on lot of stuff and getting left behind. Its beautiful to see my wife singing and dancing along to things like Wiggles, Thomas Train, Wonder pets, etc… But its kind of sad because I don’t feel included. My wife gives me every opportunity to participate and do these things, but I just simply don’t do it, I simply do not want to do it. She asks me to come out to birthday parties and other social kid activities but, again, I don’t want to participate in these activities either. All this sounds pretty sad and depressing, but I assure you, I am not on any anti-depressant, drugs, or undergoing therapy. I’m just logically trying to explain what I think is going on in my head. Its hard to do anything during weekdays because I am tired and burnt out from work. And its hard to do anything on weekend because my wife already has everything planned for the kids and its either I participate or I don’t. I would say 99% of the time I end up staying back on doing chores around the house, and missing out on the action.
I guess in any therapy, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I admit it, I have a problem. Now what? In an ideal world I can hit a button and I will instantly have the same personality as my wife, so I can feel natural and happy doing all the parties, sing-alongs, and other kiddie stuff. But realistically that is not going to happen. I pray to Jesus I don’t become a grumpy old man, because that is exactly where I am headed. Although this may sound little selfish, I need to do things with kids that makes me feel more natural and comfortable. I can’t put on a smile and put on conversation with other people, I feel disgusted every time I’m in a situation like that. For some strange reason I really enjoy being alone with my family, away from EVERYTHING. Based on my other postings, you would think I have gadgets, computers, & cars all over the place. While that part is true, I could totally do away with all that if I can be isolated with just my family. I wish I can pack everybody up and live out in some remote part of Alaska, but we know marriage is about compromise, so we are not moving anytime soon. I wish I can take my kids and go off fishing every weekend, or go mountain climbing, or go shoot a slingshot, and start a campfire. As all this was going through my head I started getting really excited, because there is hope!! Grumpy loving dads have different set of activities than some “mainstream” activities determined by bunch of mainstream moms. I started getting all teary eyed because of the thought of hanging out with my little rugrats in a setting where I’m comfortable, motivated, and looking forward to every weekend. Of course I would be devastated if kids would rather go to another stupid birthday party than to hang out with dad. I don’t have any other option at this point. I will need support of my wife to get this ball rolling.
For all you dads out there going through a similar situation, please find an activity that you feel highly motivated for and get your family involved in it, ASAP.
For all you moms out there taking your kids to countless birthday parties and kiddie activities, please cut your husband some slack and encourage him to get involved in activities HE want to do, not what YOU want to do. A dad is not going to be as versatile as a mom, we cannot just jump into an activity and be natural at it. You gotta support the father if there is an activity he wants to do with the kids.