I don’t know what I’m doing. There. I said it… Are you happy, world???
This dad’s life is basically a series of hot messes that I’m desperately trying to contain with Kirkland brand disinfecting wipes. Shout out to Costco for always having my back, and probably way too much of my disposable income.
I tried writing a couple of different touchy-feely posts about the value of fathers, how important it is to have a tribe of good people supporting you, and how choosing to be happy can magically change your perspective.
Yeah… I didn’t even make it through the second paragraph of that last one before I sent it to the recycle bin and poured myself a bourbon. That’s where I am right now. A hot mess. It’s nothing crazy because let’s face it, my problems are pretty trivial compared to what is happening in the world right now. I almost feel guilty venting about it to my closest friends, and they know me, like really know me.
But hey, if I can’t openly talk about how this dad’s life is upside down in a blog post, then am I even doing 2019 correctly?
Work stuff. Okay, so without boring you with too many details, I transitioned from operations to a support role a few years ago. After spending a decade being the go-er and do-er, figuring out how to gracefully accept a supporting role had its challenges, but I figured it out for the most part. What frustrates me more than anything isn’t the actual supporting job, because I can seriously get behind the, “Make life better for the go-ers and do-ers” role. I find value in that, and I can be enthusiastic about it. My problem is when we stray from that mindset, which leads to policies that don’t make sense, and we end up punishing people for doing what is clearly right but doesn’t serve the interests of leadership. It’s a shame, truly, because that is how good organizations lose exceptional people. Adding to these mental gymnastics is the stress of difficult projects which seem impossible at times.
Life and home. Raising four children is not an easy task, to put it mildly. My wife and I have been blessed with exceptional children. They are all really good kids. But there are just so many of them… Seriously, four is a lot. I know there are families far larger than ours, and I’m seriously in awe of those parents. I have no idea how they do it because I’m barely hanging on with our four!! Planning school functions and extracurricular activities is a monumental task that often requires my wife and me to, “Divide & conquer” by taking one to three kids each, depending on the schedule and locations. It’s crazy sometimes. It’s also super expensive to do everything; which is obviously a major stressor for every adult, but particularly for whoever takes the role of primary breadwinner, which in my family, is me.
Disagree with me all you want, toss some slurs in the comment section if that makes you feel good, I don’t care. Our family, out of necessity, has followed the “traditional” model of dad doing the providing and major discipline while mom does the nurturing and daily planning. Those are the roles we fell into naturally because that’s how our lives have worked for the last 13 years. No, I’m not really interested in the so-called expert opinions about how everything should be split evenly because #equality.
Because, quite frankly, I don’t have the time or money. Have you ever tried to pay for childcare for four children? No? Then you don’t get to judge.
Doing all the providing for our family is tough though, not only because of the financial pressure but because the parent doing the providing often misses out on a lot of real life stuff and milestones. It’s hard. And who is there to complain or vent to? Absolutely no one, except a couple of my closest friends, because they are the only ones that understand. Sure, I could vent this to my wife, but is that the best option, really? Because I remember times in the past when I walked into the house after a tough day to see my wife scrubbing dog puke off the floor with one hand and holding a nursing baby with the other one. I fear no man, but I do fear one woman. I’m not stupid… I’m not complaining to her, because she’s fighting her own battles.
This is the struggle every dad I know faces. It is the essence of a dad’s life.
We have our own doubts, fears, struggles, emotional baggage, and pain. But who do we share it with? We can’t unload all of that on our wives, because they have enough on their plates. Lord knows, these amazing and good-hearted wives would shoulder even more in order to help us, but they don’t deserve that burden. So, where do we put this stuff? Honestly, I’m just kind of locking most of it away in a mental box, because that’s what guys do. I’ll vent a little to my inner circle here and there just so the box doesn’t explode, but I’m not willing or able to invest that kind of money into therapy to unpack that box fully.
So yeah, that’s where this dad’s life is right now. I am juggling a series of hot messes that aren’t really serious enough to justify any sort of plan or intervention to fix, but just frustrating enough to really put me into a continual funk. Emotional purgatory, if you will. I’m in good company though, because basically every dad I know lives here too. It’s a dad’s life.