I send a shot to all dads today. I want to be honest. I hope to speak about what we all feel. Being a father is one of the greatest weights I have ever carried.
Chad and I have spoken in past encouragements about the challenge of fatherhood. I am no Sherlock Holmes, I am not going to be saying anything you don’t already know. You all are living it and feel the same level of stress and challenge that we do.
Chad had a dream to make this site, to create a space specifically for fathers. A resource that gives advice, commiseration, ideas, and overall support for fathers to be the best version of themselves in dedication to their children. I think he has done a fantastic job. His hard work, intelligence, sacrifice, and vision have made a fluid ode to what a father is meant to be. I know I have been bettered by it.
The site is rich with excellent fatherdom knowledge in various forms.
I truly hope we have been able to reach out into the world wide web void and give you something meaningful.
In this vein I write today with an honest statement more than encouragement.
I am not going to complain.
This is not a Facebook rant.
I am not going to cry in my lemonade or hop based beverage.
I AM going to publicly state, being a father kicks my butt.
I may have stated some of this prior, so forgive me.
I have had some challenging past months.
The making of children is relatively easy for us. Gad bless our wonderful female counterparts and all they go through. I tip my cap to all wonderful mamas.
The change starts acutely. If a father is going about it as they should, their duties begin immediately. There is no sitting in the easy chair like it’s 1950 any longer. A real man, in my opinion, takes on all challenges, whether that is a tea party, wrassling session, finger nail paint, midnight feeding, or diaper changes. I wanted to be up to my elbows in bodily fluids with a diaper in one hand and a cold wipe in the other. Bring it on.
The baby, child, kid, adult doesn’t particularly care about what you want. In the majority of those phases they do not have the neurology to conceptualize more than what they want.
We are tasked with the monumental task of constant care of these beings. Their everyday needs, their education, their safety, their activity, their navigation of life, their clothes-food-water-sleep etcetera. Everything they have a chance to be depends on us gents.
I have marveled frequently about how much effort being a good father takes. It has given me more respect for my father. His sustained stoic act of service to his wife, his community and to his children. His consistency in the face of enormous stress and pressure to me is legendary.
He represents to me true altruism. He would literally give us food off his plate, work longer hours than many can comprehend. Still was able to come home with love for his kids and a willingness to teach us and be there for us. Thanks Paps.
I have high aspirations, but I consistently take umbrage with my failings as a dad. My God it takes a lot to remain patient in what feels like an eternity.
I have recently explained what being a parent is. It is a sane person dropped into an insane environment.
One in which the color of string cheese starts fights, one where large children poop is on the floor. One where children fling their pee around the bathroom like a sheep dog. An environment of waxing and waning states of emotion due to not wanting mustard on a hot dog. That then causing a 30 minute melt down. The sound is deafening, the questions do not stop, every waking moment is dominated by these little beings' needs. You have told someone to put on underwear six straight times. The house is a mess, homework needs to be done, somebody's crying, someone just hit another one, your LCD high definition TV was just broken, you have just been woken up for the 3rd time this evening, someone vomited in the hallway then you stepped in it….
How long could a sane person stay sane in this?
I truly laughed in writing this, but I can promise I wasn’t laughing when the majority of those situations occurred. I reach out to all dads who have weathered these and many other storms.
This summer, just recently, I was feeling burnt. Not burnt out, I was not gonna go anywhere.
I wasn’t having a life crisis. I was not going to run off into the night or go to the store to get a pack of cigarettes (and not come back).
I was just burnt. I was physically, emotionally, and psychologically tired. There were all the daily stressors, work, summer shenanigans, daily developmental challenges. There was not really a straw that broke my proverbial four legged humped mammal’s vertebra.
I was just stressed with the repetition of life, repetition of my children’s challenges. The repetition of giving the same lecture, the same instruction, for the same kid craziness of a thousand times before.
I was beaten down by the weight of being a dad.
In honor you must uphold your duty to your children. It supersedes any self attention. It doesn’t stop. It is not easy, it takes all my energy, it dominates my every waking moment. It is a lifelong duty to uphold. I lost a sliver of light in being a parent for a bit there.
Life is good, I am blessed. I have three wonderful beings in my charge. I love them to the moon and back 8 billion times over. My children are healthy and happy. My wife is a beautiful person, a light bringer, whom I love wholly.
I have loved deeper, I have lived more meaningfully, I have appreciated the gift of life more as a parent than any other time in my existence. I give God continuous thanks for the opportunities I have been given.
BUT….that doesn’t mean I am not stressed to the end of earth during it. All parents feel this real life weight push onto their very soul. Gad bless all parents, all dads out there that weather this same storm.
My true love and compassion is given to parents feeling this same strife, YET waking up the next day ready to do it again. Ready to give their children the biggest hug they can, and carry on with the day with a genuine smile. A real man, a real parent can take the hits, make mistakes, learn from them, and be ready to do it all again for the betterment of their children, their family.
I challenge myself to realize this truth. Give time to my stress, my hardship. Then to realize the gift I have been given. The responsibility I have been tasked with. The joy I have in being a father.
Things that are worth something in this life take work. Hard work. They take dedication over a very long time. Nothing epitomizing that more to me than being a father.
I will take the hits and try very hard to be the right father the next day.
Take care of yourselves gents. Give yourself time, a break, a reset. Do not think you challenge alone. Do not let the weight crush you into somebody you do not want to be. Do not let the weight change you into someone that is not right for your kids.
The stress and real life consequences are of the highest seriousness.
Use your experience, your friends, your family, your faith and the knowledge of good dads to help you on this path. This site has helped me. I hope we are doing something to help you.
Keep at it gents, I will be there with you.