As a father, I feel like I’m obligated to say how much I love my kids and what a blessing they are. And yes, I do love my kids. But there’s another side of fatherhood that doesn’t get talked about that much. That sometimes… most of the time… it’s just hard.
I’m a dad of two boys: a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. These are my challenges, fears, hopes and dreams as a father. They probably apply to parenthood in general, but I can only speak from my personal experience, but perhaps you can relate to some of it.
Challenges of Fatherhood
The Stress and Tiredness
I feel like I’m in a constant state of being exhausted. The infant stage was horrible, but now my kids are toddlers, and though it’s gotten better, I’m still just tired. Fatigue and stress compound on each other, resulting in a lot of negative emotions.
I don’t normally swear, but after my kids were born, I had filthy mouth. Of course when they started talking, I’ve pulled it on my cursing signifcantly so they wouldn’t pick it up. But there’s so much stress, anxiety and anger on a whole other level that I’ve never experienced before. It’s all all that tension has to find a way out somehow, and for me, it came out through swearing (though at least that’s not as bad as some other forms of expression).
Trying to Teach My Kids to Be Better Than Me
The constant state of exhaustion doesn’t make me the best human being, yet I’m trying to nurture good human beings. Fatherhood is a bit of a hypocrisy. I want my kids to ignore the worst of me, but also be all the good things I’m not.
I don’t deal with the stress of fatherhood very well. I get frustrated, I yell, I scroll on my phone – all negative traits that they’re surely picking up that I don’t want them to. And yet I want them to be kind, grateful, generous, and social – traits that I don’t emulate all that well myself. I guess the whole “Be better than me” is the hypocritical pressure that all parents seem to put their kids.
Fatherhood is Lonely
It’s a lot lonelier than I expected.
Parenting takes up so much of your life that you don’t have the time or energy to interact with others, even though that’s what you need. It’s hard finding other parents, much less dads, in that same life stage that just want to hang out and actually have the time to do it.
Add on top of that my unique situation. I work fully remote from home, which I love, but it makes it difficult to connect. I’m also naturally an introvert, so it takes a lot of energy and discomfort for me to initiate conversations in public settings. And I’ve tried to put myself in social environments to meet other dads, but it’s just difficult.
Being a father is incredibly hard, but without other dads to also say, “Yeah, it’s hard,” you feel like you’re the only one who’s struggling and that something’s wrong with your parenting.
Fears I Have as Father
Like most other parents, safety is probably up towards the top of my list. I worry about them getting seriously injured, getting bullied, getting lost, or getting kidnapped.
Which by the way, I’ve thought about a GPS tracker, so if you use one, let me know how that’s going.
Misinformation on the Internet
I’m not afraid of technology or the internet. I’m a millennial – I grew up with the internet and I dealt with all the dangers of the internet as a kid.
But the technology is so much more advanced, sophisticated, and widely accessible now. With the plethora of private group apps and AI, I’m afraid my kids will get sucked into conspiracy theories that develop into stupidity or hate.
My Kids Will Grow Up to Be Jerks
Honestly, that’s a real concern of mine. I don’t want my kids to be mean or douchebags or bad people that do harmful things. For me, I think I’d fail as a parent if my kids make the world worse than it was before.
Hope and Dreams for My Kids
I wrestle with the balance of wanting them to achieve, but not putting too much pressure on them. As a parent, of course I want them to succeed. I dream that they can wildly excel at something, whether it’s science, business, athletics, entertainment or whatever interest they pursue.
I want them to find things they’re good at and enjoy doing, and can make a living out of. I want them to be happy with the direction of the their lives.
But ultimately, I just want them to be good human beings. To do things that benefit their communities. To make some kind of positive impact on the world. To just be nice people and be nice to people. That would really make me happy.
What Advice Can I Give Other Fathers?
None. If you have any, I’d love to hear it.
Seriously, if you asked enough questions, you might get a few tips out of me. But honestly, I’m not sure I’m parenting all that well to have other fathers follow my example. I doubt I’m doing this right, so we’ll see in 20 years or so, right? But at least I’ve got some bit of self-awareness, and if you’re reading this and resonate with some it, and find it somewhat helpful, then that’s a start, right?