What Fatherhood Is For Me

December 27, 2013 at 8:30 am 1 comment

Fatherhood begins with the sudden and heart-stopping realization that in a few months your life will change forever.

Fatherhood is anticipation, excited speculation, and a lingering fear. Fatherhood is standing alone at parties while everyone fawns over your wife’s huge belly. Fatherhood means very few people will think to ask how you are doing.

Fatherhood is that moment you jump when you put your hand on that belly and feel something kick. Fatherhood is trying hard to smile while your spouse shoots down your incredibly awesome choices for baby names.

Fatherhood is watching your wife struggle with body issues during pregnancy. Fatherhood is constantly telling her she is the most beautiful creature on the planet and having her never, ever believe you.

Fatherhood is learning to deal with miscarriages and the realization that there is a stigma about them that is painful and pointless. As a father, you will never experience them. But you will witness the pain and feel helpless.

Fatherhood is endless doctor appointments and ghostly, unreadable ultrasound images.

Fatherhood is watching the most important person in your life go through the terror, the pain, and the blood of delivery and being incapable of taking on any of that pain for her. Fatherhood is the realization that, with all you now know could go wrong, successful birth really does feel like a miracle.

Fatherhood is blankets, car seats, milk bottles and those little U-shaped infant head supports. Fatherhood means your pet is suddenly not so important. Fatherhood is sleep loss, headaches, leftovers, and take-out meals. Fatherhood is trying desperately to find ways to stop your baby from crying at all hours of the day and night.

Fatherhood is realizing how much easier early parenting could be if you just had boobs.

Fatherhood is poop, pee, snot, vomit, blood, medicines, balms, baby powder, hand sanitizer and band aids. Fatherhood is wiping hands, faces, butts, counter tops, seat cushions, floors, tables, high chairs, door handles, windows, car interiors, and tears (sometimes your own).

Fatherhood is catching puke in your hands in a restaurant. Fatherhood is suffering the stares of derision from other restaurant patrons who clearly disagree with your decision to go out in public. Fatherhood is altering your choices in public venues, selecting ones that are more family friendly. Fatherhood is noticing how many of those family friendly venues do not have baby changing tables in the men’s room.

Fatherhood is being subjected to media stereotypes and marketing that portray you as clueless and incompetent. Fatherhood is the confusion and awkwardness of receiving unsolicited praise for doing the simplest of child-rearing tasks. Fatherhood is dealing with the assumption that you are “the backup parent”.

Fatherhood is fixing a great breakfast and having your children excitedly sit down at the table. Fatherhood is then watching them eat one bite of one thing and demand cereal. Fatherhood is having your greatest culinary efforts rejected for corporate, mass-produced, sugary, crap snacks.

Fatherhood is crayon scribblings on walls, doors, toilet seats, pillows, clothing, and dining room chairs. Fatherhood is stickers on every available surface, including you.

Fatherhood is putting on your coat as you head to work and finding random small toys in the pockets. Fatherhood is colorings, art projects, and baby pictures on your office walls.

Fatherhood is watching your two-year-old run as fast as she can to you because you have done something that has thrilled her beyond measure – you have come home.

Fatherhood is showing your children how things work. Fatherhood is soothing your child back to sleep after they have been awakened by a storm. Fatherhood means being a source of authority, comfort, and security to a person who will test you every single day. Fatherhood is the thrill of watching your children succeed and the sting of knowing there is now one more thing they don’t need you to do for them.

Fatherhood is worry, fear, and exhaustion. Fatherhood is anger, frustration, and helplessness. Fatherhood is the desire to give your children the best of what you had, and the fear of giving your children the worst of what you had.

Fatherhood means trying to do something that billions of people have already done before you, yet still feeling like no one understands or is burdened like you are. Fatherhood is being scared that you will fail completely at something everyone else seems to be doing so easily.

Fatherhood is a time of renewal. Fatherhood means letting a part of yourself go, ending what you used to be in order to grow into something new and better. Fatherhood means giving up the life you want for yourself for the life that your children need you to have. Fatherhood means cutting out of that new life what is not helpful to you, your children, and your family. Sometimes it’s activities, sometimes it’s a job, and sometimes it’s people.

Fatherhood is difficult, maddening, and exhausting.

Fatherhood has broken me down and rebuilt me into someone new.

Fatherhood is rewarding, exhilarating, and fulfilling.

Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brian Leitch  |  December 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Fatherhood is driving to the hardware store and suddenly realizing you were the only one watching your sleeping children.

    Fatherhood is telling our kids bedtime stories of your own childhood and trying to remember a different story while they beg for “another childhood story dad”.

    Fatherhood is taking time off work to attend school plays or being the dad that goes ice skating on their field trips.

    Fatherhood is looking forward to teaching your teens to drive and how to purchase, fix, and maintain their car.

    Fatherhood is overwhelming pride when your child strikes out on their own and follows their own dream.


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