What’s the toughest thing about being a father?

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about how parenting is about patience, about listening, and about letting things go. But, y’know, I can watch my wife and marvel at how well she does with our three children, while simultaneously knowing that I could probably do pretty well in her place, but not as well.
If you’re a Dad, you know exactly what I’m talking about. All I can think about is that it’s darn tough being a good father. Our Dads had it easier in a lot of ways, because they did their thing, paid sporadic attention to parenting, and that was that. We grew up, moved on in life, and ya just hoped for the best. No ceaseless introspection, no naval gazing, no other men telling you how to be a better father.


But our generation has had our consciousness expanded, starting with Doctor Spock (no, not that pointed-ear guy from Star Trek. The Other Spock, the baby guy!) and then a long parade of other experts, all telling us that if we just did one more thing differently, had an ounce more patience, spent an additional 11.3% of our time with our children, and focused on “quality” time to compensate for the realities of our lives, the kids would come out better and we’d be better human beings.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy, buy, buy all this stuff along the way. You can’t even get your baby out of the womb before the buying frenzy begins, all fueling the male drive to earn, to provide, to make sure that everything that mama and baby need they can have!
I’ve also recently joined a men’s group which is really expanding my thinking too. It’s amazing to me how hard a time men are having as fathers! From being unable to communicate with their kids to perpetually feeling like their wives are disappointed and/or hate them, I really think that a lot of us fathers are finding that the rollercoaster ride of married with children is quite a bit more harrowing than we let on, even to ourselves some days.
It’s not all bad, of course. Frankly, there are lots more good times than bad as a father, but I just find it astonishing how common the sentiment that parenting is 100% good, 0% bad, a hassle, a drag, a crappy situation, stressful, whatever, appears. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what angels you have as children, and I don’t care if you have twenty nannies standing outside the nursery, it’s just not 100% good times.
So how about it guys. Being a Dad is darn difficult at times, but what do you think is the toughest part of the job?

41 comments on “What’s the toughest thing about being a father?

  1. Hey there;
    The toughest part of being a father is being a man in the world of parenting. We are strong, providers, tough, stone cold and never acknowledge our emotions. And my god we do not even attempt an ounce of intropection. We just parent and let the kids deal with it. I have spent the last few months at home with a four year and a newborn. Accetping that I am not perfect is the hardest thing for me. The best thing for me is to hear other parents that get freaked and just plain warn out by parenting and reach the end of their ropes just like I do. Sites like these are the best thing for me. I get to hear about the ups and downs of other fathers. It is a stroke of confidence while I struggle to bring some conciencnes to parenting. Changing how I parent and try to look at my anger and why I react the way I do which in turn disects how my children are with me and the world. The five month old is waking up and fussing. I will add more later.
    stubby

  2. The most difficult thing about parenting for me, a father, is as you say, Dave – that even though I do a pretty good job handling my 17 month-old daughter, ultimately my wife is just a little bit better. She has little more common sense about kids than I do, has done the parenting research, so sometimes I’m asking her for advice on parenting. I have good parenting instincts as well, but she has a little bit of a leg up on me in that department.
    My daughter is also breastfeeding, and that form of satisfaction my wife gives her I can’t top. Nor do I want to, or do I feel jealous about it. But ultimately, there are times when my daughter is upset and all my attempts to console or distract her come to naught. She wants her mother. For that moment, I feel a little inadequate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very hands-on father and give my daughter more than just a paycheck to get her what she needs. But Mom is it.
    I don’t really worry about whether I’m being a good father or not. When my daughter was first born I did. Now I just be myself – I love my daughter and have accepted her into my life, and use that to try to have patience when things aren’t going so well. Plus, I think kids catch on when you’re trying to hard to ‘be a parent.’

  3. just a quick word of thanks from a worn out mom,we appreciate great dads who try their best more than you guys know.keep up the good work even when its bloody hard!!!

  4. Right now, and for the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like getting my 9 month old daughter to sleep is the hardest thing. It’s hard because (as a full-time dad) I try to do everything that I can to get her ready to sleep at night, and yet she seems to fight me every night.
    And it’s tough, because I get frustrated and angry. I get angry because I feel like I’m failing, like I just can’t do whatever it is that she needs to help her get to sleep. And I hate to feel angry, especially with/at her, because I know it’s not her fault. I know she’s not doing this to anger me, so this makes me feel even worse.
    Bah. Why can’t she love sleep like I do?

  5. I can relate to what you’re saying, Jeremiah!! There’s nothing that I find more frustrating than trying to get the kids to sleep when they’re spinning up and getting more hyper, more excited, more ready to play than any other time during the day.
    Stick with it, and remember, it’s just a passing phase and they’ll eventually be teenagers. Or, um, don’t think about that and enjoy the ups and downs of babyhood!

  6. Trying to get my kids to do any chores lately has been a rollercoaster ride. Ages 5 and 3. I fear that if they don’t clear the table today, then they won’t do their homework tomorrow.
    My oldest will do anything to avoid clearing the table. She just realized that she prefers sitting in the corner to working, so timeout is no longer an effective consequence.
    Finding good consequences in many situations is quite a challenge.

  7. Chores? My kids do chores? 🙂
    Actually, when we can make it into a game then they’re all enthused to help. In fact, they fight over who does “knives and forks” when setting the dinner table, which is pretty funny as they both rush into the kitchen and do the same job. We end up with lots of knives and forks on the table some nights and no water or water glasses. Ah well.
    In terms of cleaning up, that’s the toughest chore around our house but (shhh) my wife and I aren’t very good models in that regard either. With three kids, two dogs, a cat, and I think we have a partridge and a pear tree somewhere too, it’s very hard to keep things neat and orderly, and so it’s hard to get too upset at the wee folk for not being motivated to clean when we’re not, um, sterling examples of that either.

  8. I AM 46 and went through a ivf procedure with my girlfriend who is 42. When she told me say was pregnant with twins I freaked and told her she was on her own. The problem I do not love here. I am an artist type with no $. She owns her own house and wants me to live there. I want to and did bail. I don’t want the responsiblity or finacial strain in being a Dad. I want to be with other women and travel. I know it’s bad in the eyes of society. But I don’t want to waste the next 5 years taking care of a baby when I can party and be with lots of other women. I will be in they’re , the twins life later. Do I seen hard or just smart and selfesh

  9. Hi ted. It sounds like you are being overwhelmed with responsibility. You want a care free life with no strings attached. Just remember that if you are bailing then expect to have zero contact with her children. You’ve bailed. What gives you the right to ever see them again? You won’t be a provider to them in any way so what makes you think you can be a father?
    PS: I’m a father of two and I work damn hard to raise them right.

  10. Being a father…yeah-wow! It started very early in life for me. I married my best friend out of high school, and just three months after being married we found out no.1 was on the way. My first reaction was = AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! I am too young, we haven’t traveled, and I don’t even really know about this marriage thing yet, but then she came. Our first daughter changed our life and I became Dad – AKA – Father. It is hard most of the time. I now have two girls, one 7 and the other 3. I own two businesses and they want all my time. TIME is the hardest thing to find these days. I got on this site tonight because I care about changing the way I manage my time so my girls don’t grow up saying I wish my Dad had time for me, or I wish he would listen to me instead of saying later, I’m busy right now. We are human, and being Dad isn’t easy. We will never function the same as Mom and never communicate or parent like Mom, but we can be better Dad’s. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I am going to take my oldest daughter to school – grade 2. I am going to look at how blessed I am, and thank God everyday I have her and how I am not one of those thousands of parents wondering where their missing child is. Yes, parenting can be hard, but enjoy every moment of it!

  11. I’m 44 years old, way too old for what i’m about
    to say, my nephue lives with us and has encountered his first bully! You can just hear
    hear yourself groan can’t you! Well, I contacted the school and you guessed it, nada! So I met with
    the parents and that didn’t work ether! (the guy
    told me to f*** off!) and threatened me with a
    punching out! I’m not going to just sit by and
    let this kid tease and hurt him! What do you do in
    a case like this as fighting is not the answer to
    anything!

  12. Ted
    U seem like your a very self centered and selfish person. This life isnt about you. Its about doing whats right. To abandon her should be punishable. It is morally wrong. If you do not love her, be there for the kids. You dont have to be together to raise them. Step up to the plate and be a man. Your a coward in my eyes. Your post says you bailed. What does a person like you do to contribute to our planet and its society ?
    Tom
    http://www.safaritom.com

  13. I am 36 and I have my first child who is 7mos old. Wow, parenting! It is great to be able to raise a child, but it is not easy by far. Between working, owning a house, and taking care of the baby no time for me. It is all him for now, which I am not saying it is bad thing. It is actually a good thing!:-)
    My issue is that I have been quite sad for some reason and so overwelmed with things in my life that I am angry all the time. I do not show my anger to my child, but my wife and others I do. Not talkative either. Why is this? I have a new child, a beautiful wife, a house, my health, and a good job. Why do I feel like I am failing or why do I feel overwelmed?? Humm I think it is everything that I listed that is getting to me. How do I deal with this or is there groups out there for fathers?
    Overall being a father I enjoy, I guess it is everything else or the fact more things on my shoulders.

  14. Wow, Reading these post makes one once again say outloud. THANK THE LORD I NEVER HAD KIDS!!!! I’m 35, happily married for 5 years and NO KIDS. My wife and I have both agreed to never go down the having kids road and I know I wake up each morning and thank the lord I’m FREE!!!!!
    All the talk about how wonderful kids are…Ok, Yea theres one thing to think about. ONE DAY THEY MOVE OUT ANYWAY… IF YOUR LUCKY. From birth on, it’s just a mission to GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE and into ADULT life. Well guess what, many kids today DONT leave home till 30+ YEARS OLD…
    Paying for College??? I hope all of you make $100,000 a year or more and you MIGHT be able to aford it.
    Good Lord raising kids in TODAYS world??? I will pray for all of you tonight, your gonna need it!! Me, I’m gonna go wax my Porsche and think about our next rip to the Bahamas.
    Good Night all and Good luck raising your Million Dollar baby.

  15. Am I the only father who’s got a little boy (mine is 5 — an only child) who falls to sleep every night with his mommy lying next to him? Because that’s what he wants and what he gets, because he’s made it too difficult to get him to go to sleep on his own. He normally wakes up during the night and always crawls into our bed to sleep next to her. Mommy lets him stay. She gets more sleep this way. I don’t think he’s ever gone to sleep without having mommy near him. He’s stubborn and often gets his way through unrelenting perseverance.
    Who says it’s healthy or unhealthy for a 5-year-old to never go to sleep on his own?

  16. Being a dad is quite tough. Yes, I’m proud of my 4yo. I just love being with him early saturday/sunday mornings (around 5:30 AM) and let my wife sleep in until 10:00-11:00. We watch TV, play games, have fun, sometime he comes with me to the Gym (they have a play room for the kids) and after that we watch people play tennis at the Tennis Club with a coffee and chocolate milk. We really have fun together. It’s great to be a dad. However, I find it tough to see the house with all those toys on the floor, no time to clean up the house, no time to sleep. It’s full time job. I find it difficult to have a demanding job, having to work nights and sometimes weekends, especially with my wife insisting that we spend 100% of our time TOGETHER, AS A FAMILY. I sometimes wants to stop, just read the paper and have a coffee, or just read a book, have time for ME. I know this may sound egocentric. I love spending time with my kid and family. But sure is tough to have personal time. How can I have a personal-family balance? Any tricks or suggestions?

  17. JF, I really think that it’s a matter of survival and sanity for fathers to have some time to themselves, ad moms too, for that matter. Sounds like you and your wife need to have a serious talk about how you two can be happy adults as well as responsible parents. Good luck.

  18. I’ve sunk… it’s after the holidays, thank goodness, but I hate being a father right now! I’ve never had a more chaotic Christmas in all my life. I have a 3yo daughter and a 1.5yo son. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed Christmas less in all my life. Playing constant referee with them and their gifts… ugh!
    My daughter pushes the boundaries everywhere everyday! Doesn’t matter the punishment, it’s the same thing with her everyday over and over and over. I hate dealing with her. I just end up exploding.
    My wife would like to have a third, but for all the children’s sake and mine, I don’t think it would be a good idea… and then sometimes I think it would be good… but so many times lately I think… I hate being a dad. There are lots of good things that I love, but when you need to get yourself sorted out (which with me is often), you’ve got to ref the kids first, or feed the family, or work, or discipline, or be involved, or be responsible, or whatever else life, wife or kids can dream up for you. Then you end up angry and exasperated at everyone and everything!
    God help me!

  19. Nev, I know the feeling. I only have one child and it’s enough. I can’t imagine 2. As I’m writing this, my 4yo keeps finding reasons NOT to go to sleep. I found that keeping my calm works wonders. They really want us to get mad – that’s how they know they won. So when it happens, I turn on my little voice inside my head that tells me to keep it cool. I lower to tone of my voice, I look at him straight in eye and I say “stop it” twice. I tell him that if he does it again (whatever he’s doing that I don’t like) he will spend 3 minutes on a small chair in the hallway. And then you stop talking. If he starts again, I don’t say a word, I put him on the chair and turn on a timer for 3 minutes. If he continues, well, it’s another minute everytime. After all that, he has to tell me what he has done wrong. At the end, he knows I mean business, I won’t explode, and he knows that next time I will do it. I’m no genious, but trial and error worked for us (me and my wife) : 1) turn on the little switch in your head for you to stay calm 2) lower the tone of your voice 3) look straight in the eye 4) tell them twice exactly what you want them to do (… or rather what you want them to stop doing) 5) apply a consequence EVERY TIME Then they’ll know you mean business and after 5-6 times they’ll get the message. After that a kiss and a hug usually works. Here are my four “C” words : Caring, Calm, Consistency and Consequence. I hope this helps. Good luck…!

  20. I am pleased to locate this site. It seems like this may be a place that I can get some things out of my head and at the same time get some information that can help as I go thru the parenting quagmire. I have a 3.5 year old daughter and another child on the way. My wife does not work and stays with our daughter. We are using the attachment style of parenting and I am happy with our daughters progress and gratified by the work my wife does with her. The issue for me is a feeling of isolation. I am at work all day and come home exhausted. My wife and daughter play and learn all day and have a world that I feel isolated from. With another child on the way my wife now tells me that I do not understand or appreciate what she has to experience each day. I think that providing for the family and creating an environment that allows my wife to stay home speaks to my desire and to my understanding of their needs. I have a pain that feels like un appreciation. Is it me? I am aware that this could be hormones, however I want to search my self for barriers before I project.
    ML

  21. ML., I found out that we guys seek congratulations for the work we do and hate being told what to do. However, women look for appreciation and attention. The more I say to my wife that she’s doing a tough job, and the more I recognize it’s not easy, the better she feels (and caring for a 3 yo all day is not an easy job). I think we need congratulations for the work we do, and they need understanding and appreciation for their work. Since I understood this, and since I appreciate and understand what she’s going through, our love- (and sex-) life is much better. I stopped saying “I work all day to support this family” and started saying “I know how you feel. You work hard all day too. Tell me how your day was.”. Everything has changed ever since. Sure it involves more talking and attention, but it’s worth it.

  22. I find it interesting that people like Ted post how they feel and get slammed by guys like Tom. For someone like Ted to admit how they feel, to admit that they feel something out of the ‘norm’ must be really difficult and then to be told they are self centered and selfish.. I really struggle with being a father and it has led to depression and thoughts of suicide. But who do I talk to about it when people think like Tom ?
    People have the right to feel what they feel and to seek help. It is just a pity that by seeking help they are ostracized by others. Welcome to my world…
    GT

  23. I’m 51. My three kids are all grown now – ages 26, 23 and 22. All are out of the house. Now I’m a grandparent. I have the time and inclination to do things with my granddaughter that in hindsight I didn’t do enough of with my children when they were younger.
    Why?
    Mostly due to time and stress of having to make money to keep the household going.
    My kids were fortunate that I could afford for them to have a stay at home mom for most of their younger years. But it came at a price. I worked two jobs to make that happen.
    It cut into my available time for them.
    If I had to do it all over again, I would have found a better way…. cut back on expenses or something.
    They are only young once and they grow up very fast…..

  24. George. Thanks for the reminder. I’m a stay at home dad with a 10 month old son. Its tough and sometimes hard to enjoy. But we need to be reminded that they do grow up very fast.
    When I think of that, I enjoy my time spent being a father.

  25. Im a 22 year old man whose been married over a year, Ive just discovered my wife is pregnant roughly 5 days ago…AHHHHHHH! Im screwed. I’ve made fun of 16 year old girls for having kids so young and told myself I would never do that and if it did I would simply get her an abortion……..well she wont get an abortion, now I feel like complete crap. I dont even have a car…and Im moving out of my apartment in 5 months, have no idea where we are going, Im stuck in the second most expensive place in the US. blah I have to humble my parents…ever leave your house at 16 telling them your never gonna return to that craphole city again? then 5 years later groveling saying uhhh I need a place to stay and uh OH yeah I have a kid on the way. Yup time to go into the military….HECK no but first thing is first, college, good job, and find a way to freeze embryo’s for 5 years then well….retire in 46 years?
    I guess I can say good bye to existance and “welcome to the machine”

  26. The toughest thing about being a dad is the mom. My wife plays computer games all day while the little kids trash the house, and when I come home, I’m expected to “help out” around the house – since she’s been sitting on her @#!! all day playing Tribal Wars. I hate it. I resent her, I hate the kids as they whine and cry for attention their mom isn’t giving. My entire life has dried up: all my hobbies, friends, interests – they are all gone.
    It was great when I was a grad student and I could take time to play with my sons, but now I work full time plus a side job, and I just can’t do it all. I just want somebody to invent a little tiny pill that makes you go to sleep and never wake up – I just don’t have the energy for a dramatic suicide. I hate being a father. I so badly don’t want to fail at it, but I am so clearly not up to this.

  27. The toughest part of being a father? Well, I’m only 7 months into the journey so my experiences are a bit limited but I would have to say that the one thing that I spend a good amount of time working around is my desire to have my old life back.
    My wife owns her own business which operates in the evening and on some weekends so she stays at home all day. I love that she does and we had planned on that being the case. I love watching my daughter every night and on weekends but there are times that I just miss hanging out with the guys. I miss football Sunday. I miss being able to just go do something spur of the moment. I know that I am grasping at this idea and that if I let go of it I will have less internal frustration, but, like most people, I am a little flawed.
    The other, more prevailing issue that I struggle with is the income to time ratio. I want my daughter, and our next child, to have all the things that they need and to have all of the opportunities that they will need to be successful adults. I also want to be very involved in their lives. I’ll figure out how to balance all that, I’m sure.
    The other tough part is all of the changing and correcting I need to do in my own personal behavior. Kids learn by watching and if you model the wrong things (lying, stealing, use of anger to resolve issue, disrespect, harsh language, being a drunk, and laziness, whatever) they will pick up those traits. I have to be a better man and a better husband if I am to be the father I want to be.
    I guess it all boils down to keeping the big picture in perspective (that I am trying to provide my kids with the tools necessary to be successful adults) and not getting too bogged down in the details. I think. I’ll let you know in a few more years. 🙂

  28. The hardest part of being a Father for me is trying to come to terms with the fact that I probably would not have had kids knowing what I know now. It is way too much work to work a full job while having to ‘co-parent’ with my wife during all other times. Also, my marriage is suffering tremendously with all the effort it takes to raise two young girls – 2 and 4. Something is odd in our society when it is harder to adopt a dog (or a child for that matter!) than it is to have one of your own.

  29. My wife and I have a 4 year old son who is wonderful. I work in education and my wife is self-employed. With our schedules, we have been able to successfully practice attachment parenting. But like many of the posts I’ve read, kids tend to gravitate more toward mom. In our case, he was nursed for 2 years, she is always home with him, and he just responds more positively to her.
    For the past year, with the economy as it is, the closest job I could find was beyond daily commuting distance. So I stay overnight close to where I work, and can only be home a few nights a week and weekends. I worry that I am not the constant presence in my son’s life that I should be. Also, now when I am home, he gets overstimulated, aggressive, and hyper so it ends up being a negative experience for all of us as he gets in trouble, my wife and I end up feeling awful, and I feel like it is my fault.

  30. I have read a lot of what is on this page and I am glad that I am not the only one who feels this way. I am a 35yo father of twin 5 yo boys and fatherhood on the best day is tough. I run my own business and travel at least 1 week out of every month. My wife insists on staying at home and generally takes the kids to school for 8:30 and then comes home and goes back to be until 11:00.
    The house is a constant wreck. My wife does not tidy up that often and it drives me nuts. I have to come to the plate every day to provide for them and her and I feel that she does not step up to the plate and do her part. Granted that she does a lot for the kids, but the house needs a lot of work, all the time. A woman will use the excuse that raising the kids is a full-time job….. When I am not traveling, I work from the couch, and I KNOW that excuse is bull. The kids spend 3 days a week in school and she spends he time watching Oprah and shopping.
    My kids rarely give anything back to me. They want everything and don’t do anything. My wife manages them with the television and video games while she is on Facebook all day. Meals for the kids are nothing but zoodles and toast, or kraft dinner, or something else that is garbage. When it is not that crap, it is sugar of fast food. The sugar winds them up to the point where she freaks out at them (me too). I explain to her that sugar affects behavior negatively but she doesn’t change. The kids are bored all the time and she doesn’t make an effort to keep them engaged. I would love to take the time, but if I did, who would pay the mortgage? I work from 8:00 am till 8:00 pm. When I do spend any time with the kids, I find that I am being a drill sergeant with them and constantly having to yell at them, or threaten the wooden spoon because they don’t listen to ANYONE.
    To be brutally honest (forgive me Lord), when driving along in the car I sometimes want to drive into oncoming traffic to be a) killed or b) get some time off in the hospital. The only reason that I don’t is because I could not bear the thought of injuring someone else for my selfish reasons. That is on a good day. More often then not, I want to just exhaust myself in the garage. Perhaps in my next life things will be different. These thoughts are not normal. I am afraid that as I get older these feeling will get compressed deeper and deeper until I explode and go on a shooting rampage (Suicide by Police officer).
    In contradiction to everything I have written, I love my wife and kids dearly. I would never leave them and if I did for some reason, I would ALWAYS support my responsibility. IT IS VERY TOUGH FOR ME.
    I had kids because I wanted more from life. I have found that it has taken all the joy out of it for me. I am happy on the outside, but if you could look into my soul you would see that I am dead inside. No joy, no happiness, nothing. I am nothing but a cold robot.
    How can I change this before I snap?
    A lot of people will judge me for this post, but not as harshly as I judge myself. Perhaps I am just needing to vent in an anonymous way. I feel a little lighter. Perhaps some comments would make me feel better.

  31. P,
    I’m sending you my love, man. I am not a father yet, but in three months my son will be here. I worry a lot about if I’m gonna be able to hold it together when times get stressful. I want to respond about your comments about suicide, by sharing about myself: I am 26. It took me a long time to get here. I had a overall shitty childhood. Crappy relationships with both of my parents. And they had crappy relationships with each other.
    This, I believe has had a great deal to do with the fact that I have had to work through suicidal feelings most of my life. And I’m not just saying this. I’ve been on the ledge. I’ve had a gun in my mouth. I’ve spent time in the psych ward and regular time at a psychologists office (which helped a ton).
    Not until about a year and a half ago did I decide that I’m not supposed to be depressed, but that something went wrong early on. Since my initiative to partake in therapy, I’ve made progress. I’ve learned to realize what triggers it – what makes me feel angry, depressed, hopeless – the very things that can make one think about “driving into oncoming traffic”. I have to constantly remind myself, and this takes a strength that’s honestly not always there, that it’s just a conditioned response to stressful situations.
    For instance, when I was a kid, and I wanted attention and love, and got yelled at instead, I would get angry (what kid wouldn’t?). But anger is just a surface reaction to sadness. This experience over and over again throughout childhood conditioned me to respond to the feeling of not being heard, of not getting what I want, by getting angry and depressed. I learned to get angry at my parents, and others as well, and resentful of myself, because I felt responsible for their own anger and sadness.
    The trouble is, this way of responding doesn’t really work that well. It’s just a conditioned response that essentially snowballs everything to the point of feeling like dying. I have to unlearn what I learned early on. Essentially, I heave to learn how to react differently, in a way that’s congruent with the person I want to be – strong and happy. To not let my conditioned responses get in the way of me being ME.
    So, I’m not saying that you had a bad childhood, or that you have suffered from this illness (and it is clinically an illness) for your whole life. Maybe this is a new sensation that parenting and working your ass off everyday has brought on, and you just need to find a way through it.
    But my point is, depression is a coping mechanism for handling stress. As crappy as you may feel at times, you are actually dealing with the stresses in your life way you know how. It’s just that sometimes it gets so bad that you think about killing yourself. DON’T!
    Cope another way.
    Instead of allowing yourself to get to the point of thinking that way, address what’s going on. If that means talking about it with someone, or simply allowing yourself the time off you need, do it. Take a look at your lifestyle and assess where you could eliminate stress. If you have to pick from eliminating family stress or work stress, pick family stress. If that means less time at work so you can spend time with your kids, then take time off of work.
    Think about it: You work less, maybe that mean less money, but if your kids have you, then they don’t need video games and cable, which cost money. It’s a win win. I mentioned my childhood earlier. Dad wasn’t around, he was always working an my mom was always being lazy. I’m telling you , man, I feel ya. But not only from the perspective of the father, but of the child.
    Just try to remember what childhood was like. They’re not old enough yet to give a shit about what your salary is, you know what I mean? Just being home more will change everything, I think.
    And go see a psychologist. Call him or her a doctor to help get over the stigma attached. I’m telling you, they are there for you, without judgment. Just talking about it with someone helps. Please don’t take suicidal thoughts lightly. You need to get help with it. It’s ok to feel this way, just get the help you need to have the life the want.
    It’s out there for you, man. Take care of yourself. I’ll be there with you soon enough, it’s good to know that someone’s blazing the trail for me. Any I always tell myself, everything’s eventually a memory. Just live life my friend.

  32. First off I just want to say wow. It’s nice to be reminded that I am not the only one going through problems.
    I am 25 yrs old and have a 9 mth old son. I’ve just barely started the rollercoaster ride of fatherhood and I’m already having issues (emotionally). See the thing is I’m in the military. It’s been that way for 5 yrs now. My wife and I had our son right when I was home for RnR. That’s when I’d say it all hit me. Don’t get me wrong I want children and I love my son. My problem is dealing with the isolation and “being recognised” as a father.
    Through the whole time after the birthing, anyone in that room or anyone we met would always ask her questions or congradulate her, or talk to only her. It felt like I was just some guy, who just planted his DNA and was there for visual sake.
    It hurt, cause I take pride in being a father, and it’s not like I’m begging for attention. It just made me feel like I didn’t mean a thing. It happened again just today while we were at the doctor’s office for our son. The doc walks in and the first person, and only person, he looks at is my wife and just starts talking to her.
    Once again, it was like I was just some guy in the room.
    I hate it, cause I don’t know where the feelings come from and unfortunately I usually let it out fussing at my wife for it. She even tells me it shouldn’t matter cause we both know I’m a good father, so what should it matter and he probably didn’t even realise what he was doing. I know in my head that it’s true, but it’s hard to shack that feeling of insignificance. Has anyone else dealt with this?
    I guess the bigger picture too is that I’m still dealing with the previous deployment, reconnecting with my wife, and picking up being a father, and for the most part it’s been good. I’d say the hardest part of it is dealing with the intimidation of the bond that my wife and our son now have. For 9 mths it was mommy all the time and the only thing he knew was that a man that mommy called “daddy” called every once in a while. So when it comes time for me to do things now, he prefers mommy sometimes and unfortunately mommy does it better than daddy.
    I know all it would take is just spending time with him and maybe researching “what to do”, but how do I deal with this emotion? Like I said, did any of y’all deal with this? How did any of y’all find your place as a father?

  33. Hello all, my wife and I are both 27 and been married for 9 yrs this Dec. We can’t have natural childbirth due to a medical procedure my wife had at 18. We’ve been talking of fostering and adoption and or invetro for many yrs. Well I’ve always despised infants all the way up working age but over the yrs of settling down I’ve really opened up to the idea of children and have welcomed a spot in my heart. We started and completed the course for the st of SC back in may to date and last night we received our first infant. A 3wk old boy with no health defects and quite the back story on momma, with no sign of a daddy. That’s beside the point, what I’m here to say is idk that I’m ready for this now. Its finally happened, the time is here and now I’m thinking I’m not ready for it and I’ve only convinced myself for several yrs that I really want a kid when inside I don’t want to make the change in life. Nor put up with all the money and money and more money for no return on investment. Of course there will be good times of fathering and truely feeling rewarded but they can be counted on one hand, especially from what I can read of all of your posts. I’m not hear looking for guidance in life but I will welcome it. I more or less here to vent. Thanks for listening and to all the trying fathers out there, you have my respect to the fulest and your wonderful for doing that you do. I feel like we all have a purposein life but not all of us are meant to be #1 dads. My method in everything I do is, plan to do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all. I’m not ready to do it, but she is.

  34. JJ, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I appreciate your honesty, but have a couple of thoughts, if I may…
    1. Find a therapist, pastor or someone else whose judgment you can trust and share all of this with them. This is big stuff and the potential resentment that can grow from having an adopted child that you don’t really want can end quite poorly for you, your wife and the child most of all.
    2. In my experience, no man is truly “ready” to become a father. It’s a learned skill. Being the sperm donor and partner of the woman giving birth does NOT make you a father. A father is defined by action, and you might be surprised just how quickly you can grow into the role.
    Good luck. You’re talking about more than yourself in this equation now, so please do reach out and find someone who can offer you counsel, and if you truly feel like there’s no alternative, you owe it to the child to have a candid – and doubtless extraordinarily painful – conversation with your wife about what’s on your mind.

  35. This message board was very helpful to me. Thank you to you all. Before this message board I honestly thought I was alone in feeling this way.
    You see I’m one of those people that, for some reason or another, learned that “suck-it-up” was the best way to deal with anything and everything. Just strip away all pretenses of feeling and remake the situation into what you want it to be through ANY means necessary. The great thing about this method is that it is a very potent defense and offense – and in general, quite effective. I usually get what I want: at work, from business interactions and in social situations. I have a great job. I earn really good money. The last car salesman that had to deal with me gave me the price I wanted – and quit the week after. I married a beautiful, wonderful woman.
    Unfortunately I have found this method is energy intensive and highly corrosive – I am on a side by myself.
    What is hardest part about being a dad? None of that works. I can’t just suck-it-up, I can’t attrit my way to the goal, there is no adversary to wear away. So I work and work and I get exhausted, my muscles physically hurt at times – and I keep winding up, tighter and tighter becoming more and more frustrated because I have to care about everything, every detail; because if I don’t no-one will. And when it comes to my family the details matter. Reality and the things and people in it must be shaped into order and usefulness. Days just aren’t born that way. Each day gets harder and harder until sometimes I feel I just can’t care about all of it anymore.
    So I start dropping interest and passion in things I once loved to do. In order to accomplish all my responsibilities I treat the vast majority of them as tasks or burdens to bear which strips them of all joy and makes them nearly mechanical in nature. The result is that I deride nearly everything in my world because it is yet another responsibility, yet another thing that must be handled so that it doesn’t fall into disorder from simple inattention.
    All of this makes being the father I know I can and should be very difficult. It makes me tired. It makes me irritable. It makes me short with the truly wonderful woman I married. Worst of all it robs me of time and energy that could be, should be, spent investing in my family.
    It often makes me rail against doing things that would make our family life better because I just can’t bring myself to do one… more… thing…
    One more thing to plan, to execute, to follow through on, to make sure is done right. One more thing that I’ll have to care about.
    I seem to be stuck. I haven’t yet found a way out of this rut. I’m not asking all of you to solve this problem. I just thought others might be feeling something similar. And the best news I’ve heard in a long time is: You are not alone. Others have felt the same way. Others have survived this trial. This rut is not a dead-end.

  36. The continual responsibility and the finanacial and psychological stress, I feel, is the most difficult part of being a father. It seems that there is this continual hum of chaos with either of my two children or my wife. I love how my family makes me feel but I have come to the realization that parenting in the 21st century means different standards then those given to my parents, specifically my father.

  37. Hey there dads the reason I’m posting this comment is to try to find some help. I’m a 21 year old who got with a girl when i was 18 ended up pregnant. After that now I’m a proud daughter of a 2 year old. I just need help managing my attitude problems. Handling with a daughter and a wife is stressful sometimes. I’m not trying to sound like complaining. I love them more than anything I just feel like Im not a good parent/husband. I just feel too young sometimes.

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