This one was difficult to write.
I’m not going to lie, fatherhood was a nice thought but never really part of the plan. Anytime the idea of having a child came up there were always so many reasons not to: no time, no money, wrong house, wrong city and the fact that I loved my life and being me. But life happens and I when I found out that I was going to be a dad I thought, “OK, this could be really great, and I can be great at this.”
I immersed myself in the idea of fatherhood. I read the baby books, remodeled a room for him, made sure he would have everything he needed and started preparing mentally for life’s next great adventure.
At first it was easy — he was small and slept a lot. I showed him off to friends and family and everyone said what a great job I was doing and how cute he was. But after his first few weeks there was a change.
As the newness wore off and the realities set in I found myself having a very hard time with this new role. Fear of being a parent took over a bit and I found I was distancing myself from my son and family. I immersed myself in work, chores, running and reading, leaving his mother to do most of the parenting. Often after work when I would see him, he would cry. This is because he is always cranky at night because he’s tired. But I am not able to calm him back down like his mother can. This only made it easier for me to take a backseat role in parenting.
Somewhere inside there was the old me, trying to get back the life I used to have — trying to undo all that had been done. I’ve been depressed and distant. The fact that I feel this way has brought my self loathing to a new level never thought possible.
People ask about the baby and I say, “He’s good.” They ask how I’m doing and I say, “Fine.” Truth is, how am I supposed to tell someone that I’m cracking up a bit and spending most of my time being a distant and lousy parent. No one really wants to hear that.
But there is good news in this post. Like all things, this, too seems to be passing. I come up for air and have renewed efforts with my child. Not because I have to, but because I want to. It helps that finally it seems like he and I are bonding and really getting some traction behind our relationship. He smiles when he sees me and when I tickle him or bounce him on my knee. He likes it when I sing to him and have conversations about how his day went (he mostly still just listens). Most importantly, he is starting to let me rock him to sleep and hold him for longer periods of time and I really feel like he is becoming more comfortable with me.
I’m not going to pretend any of this has been easy. Also, I can’t promise that I’ll be 100 percent any time soon. But I do feel like I’ve hit a turning point. I’m happy with my son. He is beautiful, smart and has a ton of personality. I’m looking forward to the adventures that he and I will have together over the years ahead. And as he grows, hopefully I will, too. Being a father really is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, and I can see that the rewards are just up ahead.