When I was a teenager my Dad would complain that before my brother and I were born, he used to get all of my mother’s attention, and now all he got was the big piece of chicken (I took liberties with the last part of my Father’s lament. Thank you Chris Rock). At the time I just thought that he was being his usual curmudgeonly self and didn’t give the statement a second thought. Now that I am a Father and my wife and I have made the leap from being each other’s “Baby” to now having and caring for our own real life babies, I understand and empathize with my Father. For men, who are a tad narcissistic by nature, the transition can be difficult. In most cases a man marries a woman who he thinks is amazing and smart and sexy and amazingly beautiful and he knows that he has way outkicked his coverage and “what does this amazing girl want with me. I better lock this one down before she comes to her senses.” After the whirlwind the newlyweds have a little bit of time to enjoy one another, and things couldn’t be better. Then they decide to try to have children……..
For some, the process of trying to have children can be, well, trying. For others it can happen fairly quickly and easily. Either way, once this decision is made and the couple embarks down the road to parenthood it consumes you. It may happen slowly as you ramp up to the delivery of the baby (or babies for some of us), but by the time your little bundle(s) of joy arrive your life has changed forever. Gone are the days of selfish indulgence. You have taken on the greatest responsibility that could ever be bestowed on a human being. Raising another human being!
Now, it’s no secret that men and women are very different, but there is no situation in your life where this is more evident than parenthood. The mothering instinct is STRONG! So, Pre-Dads and Current Dads, it’s never too early or late to get your head straight and take a moment to look inside yourself and re-evaluate your own priorities, goals and any unresolved little mental hiccups that could pop up as more and more attention and resources are directed away from you. I have found that a great way deal with some of my feelings of loss and abandonment is to reach out and connect with other Dads. I have plenty of friends who still do not have their own kids and I have found that they cannot empathize at all! Parenthood is really one of those things that you really do not know anything about until you have the experience. So, I guess the point of my most recent rambling is …….DADS UNITE!!!! We should lean on each other the same way Moms have for years (…have you ever heard of Mommy and Me groups???? Yes. I thought so). I realize that it is not really in our nature to congregate and talk about our feelings or anything else really, but it doesn’t have to be so “touchy feely”. Sometimes, it just helps to be around someone who gets how hard it can be to hold it together when your late for work and your kid is having a melt down because the pants they wanted to wear have not been washed.
If we are healthier and happier we will be better father’s and husbands. I’m willing to bet that I am not the only parent who has had some of these thoughts or experiences. Dads are you with me? How are you guys dealing with your new role? What is working for you? What isn’t? DADS UNITE!!!!!!!