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?