Home > camping, family > Am I a bad father?

Am I a bad father?

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

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.

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Categories: camping, family
  1. February 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I’m first going to say that I am a child of divorce. I’m also going to inform you that I am not yet 22 years old and have never been married, but I was your children. My father planned everything we did as children, and it was my mother who never wanted to go with us. I will be honest and truthful with you. My parents divorced when I was seven, at which point my life dissolved and I have next to no positive memories of my elementary school life, however, being an extremely quickly developing child and having a very high I.Q. I do have an exceptional amount of memories from my early days, of my father. My father taking me to work, riding the bus with my father, going to iHOP with dad, buying a pet tadpole with dad, releasing said grown frog into nature with dad, everything with dad, and I lie to my mom and tell her I have memories with her, but she was not there. As a grown woman I am closer with mymother and love her dearly, she taught me so much about the world in her way, and I chose to live with her, not my father, in high school. I will never forget however, that my dad was the present parent, and my mother chose to stay home. My mother was a stay at home mom, and my dad is a stockbroker. I do not think it matters who is in what role, and honestly I didn’t love my parents differently, some people do better with little buggers and some relate better to adolescents, know yourself and embrace how you are, it is not bad, it is simply you. My mother regrets not being there, but she was the most beautiful example of a mother to me once I was more mature, and I don’t give two jots, I have damn fine parents, both have there pros and cons. If you can accept that you are a good dad, but that they may have more early memories with mom, that’s not a negative thing.

    • February 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Wow, thank you for your great insight into what could be going on behind the scene inside my kid’s thoughts, now and future. Everything you said is my wish, minus the divorce part. I wish they grow up and realize all the pros/cons and appreciate both parents equally. I only hope I can create enough positive memories for my little buggers to remain in their lives for a long time.

      • February 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        My mother recently left a comment on one of my blogs, Medication, about her perspective having not really been as present when I was a child, I truly think you will feel much better after having read it. It is not your situation by miles, but she has a beautiful viewpoint on the subject.

        • February 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

          Fela, you’ve been on a tear lately with all your “musings”. I’ll have to catch up with some of them over this weekend.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I think your “problem” is not that you have a problem. It’s that the people who are giving you a hard time who have the problem. I think it’s completely unfair to tell someone “you don’t do anything for your kids” when you’re working so hard to provide for the family. I come from a family where both of my parents worked since I was a month old because we were fairly poor that if only one of them worked we wouldn’t have food on the table. Fortunately my grandparents were there to take care of me during the day when they worked. But people have accused my parents of being irresponsible for both working so much instead of taking care of me. I think those people know nothing about life because sometimes in life people just have to make hard choices. I love both of my parents and I can’t begin to describe how much I appreciate both of them working such long hours for so many years. I don’t know your specific situation but I don’t think your wife should be giving you a hard time. I am a female who is not married or have kids but I work three jobs while in full time school in order to afford my university tuition and I know that at the end of the day I’m just so exhausted I don’t want to participate in any activity but sleep. So you shouldn’t feel bad about not wanting to participate in parties and things. I know it’s hard to find employment these days but I don’t know if perhaps when your kids go off to school your wife can get a part time job to take some weight off of your shoulders? And in that case you can also both balance the work/spending time with kids life. Anyway, I think for now you just shouldn’t let other people bother you too much with this.

    • February 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

      You actually touched on something that I was planning on blogging about. Lot of folks talk about the poor but I don’t know if they really know what being poor is, unless you actually experienced it. I grew up working in a rastaurant for half of my life and it was probably one of the toughest jobs I ever held in my life. Needless to say, I am a very generous tipper now :). Anyway, going back to the topic of fathering, thanks very much for your thoughful input into the situation many fathers face at home. I actually have no grudge against my wife for accidently saying some stuff during a heated feud, after all marriage isn’t a marriage without a feud..lol. Infact, I’ll go further and say she is the greatest friend/mother/wife in the universe! I want to believe its not my problem but I do carry a big burden of trying to keep order, logic, and understanding within my family. It will be too easy to just lash back and say its your problem, but I think response like that can create problem of its own. I don’t want to have a feud where its complete disregard and disrespect for each other, but rather have enough “olive branches” to diffuse it peacefully. I do try to see things from her perspective, too. Dealing with two destructive boys on a daily basis is probably stressful as well. I’m not sure where the happy medium is, but it needs to be something memorable, so kids remember them later on in life. Doesn’t all this talk about marriage and kids make you want to get married and have kids, tomorrow?..lol

  3. February 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Very good reminder for mothers. I wish I had read this post several years ago when I was in that position.

    • February 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      I’m gonna make a link to your blog on “When you feel inadequate (as a mom)”.I’m starting to believe, maybe, its normal for loving parents to feel this way about their children/family, from time to time. Is it possible to carry this burden if you didn’t care about your child? I don’t think so. I think you put burden on yourself because you care. Dads can feel inadequate because they are at disadvantage from having very limited interaction time available to hang out with kids. Moms can feel inadequate because too much interaction time can create too many overwhelming situations. Makes me wonder what it’s like when both parents stay home to look after the kids 🙂

  4. March 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Wow! Love this post. It’s very real and honest and I don’t see that very much, especially from men. I know you posted this a while ago and I hope things have improved but I agree with the person who said you don’t have a problem. Everyone is different. You are not your wife, nor she you. I’m sure you have wonderful qualities to bring to the table just as your wife does but…they are different. I say, do the things that make you happy and get your kids to join in with you or even just go for a walk with them. I am also the child of divorce and what I can say above all else is that children respond and resonate with honesty and love. No matter what else happens and how crazy they get in their teens, these two things will set them right and you seem to have those qualities in spades!

    • March 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Oh, one more thing. You briefly mentioned two comment’ers above, they are very talented bloggers and you should definitely check them out at,

      Yibei’s “movie” here

      Fela2fela’s “medication” **You have to read her mummy’s comment to get the FULL affect.***

  5. March 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Glad I can wow a new “customer” every now and then 🙂
    Things are just moving along at a steady rate. I can’t really say there was anything significant since this post, else I would have posted it here. Come to think of it, I did a follow up on this posting with another one called, “I love my wife…”. I gotta do the Ying and the Yang thing when I’m talking about my wife…lol. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Donna Amis Davis
    April 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Chris, we just attended a huge expensive wedding here in Manila between two very high-powered families. Both dad very successful business men, but also Christians who put priority on family, somehow, despite very intense work worlds. The bride and groom both read tributes to each of their parents. Both moms were stay-at-home moms, but busy. What really struck me was how both the bride and the groom lit up when giving their tributes to their dads. They talked about how their dads spent time with them, did things with them. Now I know that their moms spent many, many more hours with those kids than their dads were able to, but time with dad means so much more somehow. I think a key is like you said, finding something to do with your kids that you enjoy doing, whatever that may be.

    • April 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Thank you again for such uplifting advice and comment. That would be my dream come true, to see my boys respect me in a similar way you just described. To think my journey, as a father, just started…*sigh*
      Everytime I see all these terrible incidents at schools and playgrounds, I just get this dreaded feeling that I have about 15 more years to go 😦
      How did all your children turn out? One thing for sure, they had a mother with some great tips and advice 🙂

      • Donna Amis Davis
        April 19, 2012 at 12:08 am

        It’s all about the long-haul! You and your boys will enjoy each other more and more as they get older, and can do more things, and become more independent. But these next 10 years are so key, while they are still so impressionable. It’s funny you asked about our girls. They have become fine young women, and we have a good relationship. I’m very proud of them. BUT they haven’t made every choice or decision they way I wished they had, so I had lots of tears along the way. Now we are in the phase of investing in our relationship with our little grandbabies. It starts all over again, but without all the pressure and guilt. We just want to have fun with them!

  7. purpleowltree1234
    May 10, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Absolutely embrace doing stuff you enjoy, together with your boys. They’ll remember that, no matter what it is and even no matter what else happens. My father was not an ideal role model by any means, and the only two things I ever vaguely admired about him were his passion for gardening occasionally, and his passion for collecting stamps. When I got old and gentle enough he would let me help him soak off stamps from letters, and we’d sit for hours soaking them off and laying them out up-side-down, then turning them over when they dried and sorting them all out into countries and collections. No matter what it is you’re passionate about, introduce more and more of that into your interactions with your boys. They will remember your sense of fun and achievement and they’ll remember seeing you happy. It’s so important to model passion and happiness to your children.
    And yah, kids usually love birthday parties, after all, they’re a CURRENCY for kids (“If you won’t be my friend I won’t invite you to my birthday party”). But they sure as hell need quality time with their dad. It’s quality time if you’re engaged and passionate and present. So do whatever makes you feel like that, with them, as they’re old enough.
    You’re awesome to have worked this out yourself. 🙂
    Love from Rach

    • May 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Gosh, it just hit me. After getting to know you in these past several days, I’m little worried all my talk about being a father might trigger something bad. I know it has to be pretty difficult to bring “him” up, even as a comment. I never saw birthday parties as a currency, that was an excellent point.

      • purpleowltree1234
        May 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

        NOt at all!! I’ve always adopted a “dad” wherever I’ve been and however old I’ve been. 🙂 There have always been men in my life who were like good dads. I’ve been so lucky! I can’t see God as a father- that’s just BS to me- but I can understand there are some truly great dads out there. I admire dads who genuinely seem to care about their kids and wives- and ANYone, really! 🙂 You are a breath of fresh air.
        Rach.

        • May 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

          wow, I’m so glad you had such positive experience with other “dads”. I guess thats a very effective way of combating memories of a bad dad, you beat it back with overwhelming positive memories of good dads 🙂 I’m just trying to do my little share 🙂
          Yeah, its pretty tough trying to picture your God as a dad, and the whole 3 in one concept. My little brain isn’t big enough to understand that yet, nor am I actively trying to. I see him/them as my creator and I act accordingly.

          • purpleowltree1234
            May 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

            Maybe they’re multiples? DID? hahahha\
            Rach.

            • May 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

              LOL, I’m not even gonna touch that one with a 10′ pole. Maybe there is some sprinkle of DID in all of us 🙂

  8. May 17, 2012 at 7:38 am
    • May 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

      omg, that was really difficult to hold back my tears. Thank you, that was tremendous.

      • May 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

        You’re welcome. I showed it to my ex hubby but he refused to watch “something so stupid”. 😦

        • May 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

          Are you sure he wasn’t just having a bad day? lol

          • May 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

            Every day was a bad day when it came to spending time with his “family”. We only saw him a few times a month. Some people seek status and money, others seek relationships and love. I sought the latter, he didn’t. He’s a good guy, just not my kind of guy. I’m a good woman, just not his kind of woman. After 23 yrs and several attempts, I finally found the courage (with therapy) to leave. He’s still not happy. I’m now on my path of happiness …and I’ll never stray from it again.

            • May 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

              oh man, I can almost relate to that. I think men have tendency to just clam up and be in isolation when dealing with family related stress. He probably knew his marriage was rocky and the added pressure of trying to be a good father probably made him even more distant. He is probably feeling a lot of guilt and I gotta think he is thinking of a way to make it better somehow…thats what good guys do. You ever think about giving it another try? I’m sure both of you have changed a lot over the years, version2.0 anybody? 🙂

  9. May 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Guilt? My ex? Ummmmm…….no. Let’s just say he was raised in an abusive environment where women were below men and were merely trophys. Also, there was a lot of condescending behaviour and abuse in our marriage. Version 2.0 will never be.
    He had cancer a few years before I did. It made him more of an angry person. It’s not fun living with someone who is angry at the world and wants to dominate everyone in it. 😦

    • May 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      wow, kudos for trying to make it work for 20+ years with all that negative energy. And its nice of you to say he is a good person, just not a good person for you. I suppose you can have a case where a couple can bring out the worst in each other and it just isn’t worth it anymore. I hope both of you can pick up the pieces and recover 🙂

      • May 18, 2012 at 6:45 am

        It’s been a long road for sure. He still wants me back (even though he’s with someone else).

        “Never settle…..but never allow your partner to settle either” ~ Lee Stormlover 🙂

        • May 18, 2012 at 10:06 am

          awe…I think the fact both of you are/were dating someone else is a moot point, because he cannot forget about his true love 🙂 that is freakin romantic. Mz.lover, Mz.lover, Mz.lover. Please please consider giving this man another try. Here are my reasons why I think you should consider:
          1. At one point you loved him enough to get married and have your wonderful kids with.
          2. He is a hardworking man, NOT LAZY.
          3. You INVESTED well over 175,200 hours with him, that was with version 1.0 Is there any harm in putting in another 15-20minutes to check out the version 2.0, just to hear him out? He will defintiely go in as a heavy underdog because you have already decided v2.0 isn’t gonna be much different than 1.0..lol. But come on, people are hit with miracles all over the world. Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, We put a man on the moon…list goes on and on. Just 20minutes worth of gamble. Its no worse than sitting through a bad TV show 🙂

          4. I’m assuming your kids will be very happy
          5. He is willing to drop everything to see you again
          6. YOU will be in the driver’s seat this time, and he will have to listen to everything you have to say.
          7. Show him that youtube video and see what his reaction is
          8. Every man struggles keeping work stress separate from family stress. Construction business is one of those ultra high stressful jobs and he obviously struggles keeping it out of his system. But thats only TEMPORARY, a man doesn’t just stay in a high stress shitty job for no reason. What is his retirement plan? I bet you are big part of that retirement plan, why don’t you ask him about that? Once the ugly influence of his job is gone, you might like what you see :).
          9. even if v2.0 isn’t to your liking, see if he is willing to go to v3.0, 4.0, 5.0 if needed.
          10. You are single 🙂

          It would be really easy for me to come out and say, “yeah, I’m proud of your for ditching that a-hole, you are brave, he needs to go to hell, etc…” but thats not how I roll…lol. Either way I am intrigued by your journey!

          • cdnstormlover
            May 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm

            Hey Chris. I’m at work today. using my phone rigjt now. Thanks for all you wrote in your response. I will send a personal email though …..there are certain things I’m not comfortable talking about on my blog. 😦 if you know what I mean.
            Sent from my Galaxy Note. Pls excuse typos.

            • May 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

              yeah, you bet! On a very happy note, its TGIF 🙂

  10. December 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I know this post is very old, but has anything changed? Why doesn’t your wife want you to take the kids on weekends so she can have down time? Why can’t you take them hiking? I take my boys hiking all the time. It’s good for them. I can’t stand people so when there aren’t any parties we go into the woods. What have you been doing with the boys? And are you in NY?

    • December 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      BPD,
      You threw me off, I thought you were commenting on the hippo Christmas song post.lol.
      Oh man, doen’t this post sound really familiar to your post about doing all the kiddie dancing with rest of the moms? lol. You crack me up on that one. I bet I can pick out the grumpiest looking mom in that dance circle.lol
      A lot has changed since the post. We openly talked about the issue and she has agreed to put camping ahead of any b-day parties for any given weekend. My wife is a very social person while I have the complete opposite personality. She actually loves mingling with other moms and putting up non stop activitis for kids. She does have her moments where I relieve her by taking kids out till she catches her breath. In fact, she recently got back from her all-girls-trip to puerto rico 🙂
      Here is default getaway when mrs.9911 takes her break:
      https://chris9911.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/stonewall-resort-review/

      Its a hiking/biking/camping/fishing smorgasburg of a resort.

      lol @ “i can’t stand people”…oh my goodness, I can relate to that. Did you read my idea of moving to some remote part of Alaska to live in isolation? lol.
      Since its winter now, I’ve been trying to get my boys involved in working on cars&trucks. The older one seems interested but the little one “just aint right”.
      I was just in NYC, I have family up there. I can’t STAND that place. I’m currently in Maryland, and planning family escape to Alaska.lol.
      All this talk of camping and hiking is really cheering me up for some reason 🙂 Maybe I’ll do some camping related blog 🙂

      • December 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

        Dear Chris 9911, please start a survivalist/camping blog. Thanks. And by the way, its all an act. I love rainbows and unicorns. Glad you’ve been hiking and avoiding people. Good work. Merry Christmas, Chris 9911

        • December 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

          Gosh, are you always this formal? lol. I’m cool with being on a first name basis with you 🙂

          • December 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

            So your first name is Chris or 9911? I can’t reveal my true identity. Please call me Randi.

            • December 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

              nice to meet you Randi.

              chris

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