I often feel like we don’t give Dad’s the praise that they deserve. Sure, they may not be running after the kids all day, or wanting to bang their heads against the wall when the baby just WILL. NOT. SLEEP. But fatherhood is as tough as motherhood, just in a different way.
I am extremely lucky to have a husband who is very hands on with Aria. He baths her every single night and is always playing and pulling faces with her. He often watches her so that I can go out with my friends (I do the same for him too) and never complains about changing a dirty nappy, although I often hear him saying “Gees Aria, where did that come from?!”.
I asked Dan to write a quick little piece on what he finds the hardest things are, day to day, as a Dad.
It is tough to be a mom. This is the truth, whether a working mom or a stay at home mom, it is hard work to raise and care for a child. For lots of different reasons, it is tough to be a dad too. I’m writing this post today from the perspective of a working dad because that is what I know, I probably won’t cover all of the important points, I probably won’t manage to reach or relate to everyone, but these are my experiences and what I face on a daily basis, and they are by no means unique to men or dads. This is not a complaint post, I love being a father to my little girl and no amount of work will ever change that. The only intent here is to communicate some of the things a stereo-typical dad deals with.
Ok, so formalities out of the way, let’s get into this!
We are very lucky in our family in that we have been able to achieve some of our personal goals, one of which was to have Sarah stay at home and look after Aria while I do the male-archetypal-bread-winner thing. This may not be for everyone but it works for us and we’re happy.
What it does do is make my Mondays especially difficult. Weekends are when I am able to spend real time with my wife and daughter, I treasure this time and hate when I have to exchange it for corporate life. The scenario I am faced with more often than not is getting ready for work on Monday morning, popping into Aria’s room to say a quick goodbye only to find that she is just waking up, sees me and immediately lights up with huge smiles and laughs, lifting her arms so that I can pick her up and play. This is an amazing feeling. Those instants of love and appreciation from your child is what every parent lives for. It is far less amazing to have to turn down that plea to play, turn around and go to work. This crushes me every week and I am lucky enough that Sarah sends me pics of Aria while I’m at work that pick me up again.
I never understood what a big deal it would be to see Aria crawl or stand for the first time, but it really is! I love watching her learn and discover and while I’ve been lucky enough not to miss anything major so far, I fear missing these milestones while I’m at work. It’s reality, it’s going to happen and it’s the price we pay for the life we get to live, but I don’t have to like that part of it.
I want to be the type of accessible father who will always be happy and ready to engage Aria in energetic or thoughtful play. It’s often so hard to come home after a draining day and not want to just say, no, not today, dad needs to go sit down and be quiet. She’s so happy to see me in the afternoon that I don’t want the first experience she has of me every day to be grumpy and tired. Some days I really have to plaster on that smile, but you know what? After a little while it doesn’t feel plastered on at all anymore. All it takes for me is to push through those hard days, but sometimes it really does feel like an impossible task.
This isn’t all about Aria either. I don’t like not being there to help Sarah when days are particularly difficult or when Aria is sick. Sarah’s a trooper, she never complains or makes me feel bad, but I want to help her and knowing I can’t really sucks.
Ok so this sounds very complain-ey and I’d much rather end on a happier note.
I am thankful that I have the opportunity to provide effectively for my family which many people are not lucky enough to have. If this means making sacrifices, I am happy to make them, sometimes it’s hard, but hey, life is hard.
It’s worth it.