Fears/Issues of Fatherhood

Have you ever really thought about what you are afraid of in being a father, or what issues really trouble you in fatherhood? For me, when thinking trying to think of eight main fears/issues that are difficult for me to cope with, I came up with the following:

Have you ever really thought about what you are afraid of in being a father, or what issues really trouble you in fatherhood? For me, when thinking trying to think of eight main fears/issues that are difficult for me to cope with, I came up with the following:

1) Bringing home the bacon – I am the sole income maker for my family. What would happen if for some reason I would lose my job, or become unable to work for some reason. I know that J-Mom could go back to work, but still it is something that weighs on my mind.

2) The safety and security of my family – I am constantly trying to think of the safety of my girls (including J-Mom). I know that I cannot always keep them safe from harm and cannot shelter my girls from the world, but there definitely are times when it seems like it would be so much easier to shelter them.

3) Being a good parent – I don’t think anyone is completely ready to be a parent until they become one, and then when they become one they constantly question whether what they are doing is right for the situation and for their children.

4) Caring for / Losing Other Loved Ones – This week one of our neighbors passed away and he was only 57 years old. This really brought home to me the fragility of life and how close to death we all are. I am not trying to be morbid, far from it, but this situation really made me think about the fact that I am an only child and that there will be a time in the future when I will have to deal with this myself in a much more personal way than I have had to in the past. I have been lucky to not have been touched by death too much in my life, at least not yet, and I hope to be strong enough when I do have to deal with this in the future.

5) Being able to learn and do Manly Tasks – I am not the most handy person. When I think of being a Dad and father and a man I guess to me it sometimes comes withthe package deal that one should be able to do some of these things. This is not to say that I can’t do these things, they just are more difficult for me than for some others. Come back though for my next Many Monday and you will see a project that my father-in-law and I made (well…a lot of it was him – but I did help!).

6) Maintaining friendships/hobbies etc. – I don’t know if this is unique to being a Dad, but I find it increasingly difficult to have times with friends or time to spend on hobbies or other fun activities. Much of this is due to work and then being Dad when I get home and then simply being tierd beyond belief from the combination of lack of sleep, work and play. But I wonder whether other Dads are dealing with this and if so how they are balancing this.

7) Balancing the many roles which is fatherhood – Speaking of balance, I find as a father, balance goes out the window. There are so many days when I say, I should work out, or do this, or that, but then life intervenes. I go to work and try to get all that I need to get done completed, and leave work the same day finding that I still need to complete many of the things that I hoped to complete the next day. Needless to say Balance is a hard thing to come by. Have any of you come up with some surefire ways to balance life/work and other such things?

8) The future for my daughters – The world right now seems to be crazy, the price of everything is going up, there are many issues that prevail on the world scene that are sure to eventually effect the US. I am constantly thinking of the future of my daughters and what it will be like for them. What will they be, will they be successful, what must I do to help them with this? Lots of questions, but the answers are still many years off.

What are your top fears/issues? And yes, Moms you can chime in as well!

Romance in the Age of Parenthood

I still vividly remember the day I first set eyes on my wife. I was a chronically late high school senior which meant I routinely spent time in late detention. Little did I realize my penchant for disregarding time would provide a pivotal moment of serendipity.

I still vividly remember the day I first set eyes on my wife. I was a chronically late high school senior which meant I routinely spent time in late detention. Little did I realize my penchant for disregarding time would provide a pivotal moment of serendipity. My wife, then a member of the high school band attending practice, had exited the school at nearly the precise moment late detention had let out. Her blonde hair along with her light pink jacket immediately caught my attention. She moved with purpose. Whatever teenage angst I had been harboring that day immediately melted away. She was different. Little did I know she’d change my life forever.

Despite several turbulent years encompassed by separate colleges, distinct career aspirations, geography, and personal growth we still found ourselves passionate about each other. Then one Spring day in Yankee stadium, she proposed. As a married couple our romance bloomed. We traveled often, dined out and slept in simply because we could. Yet this blissful existence would only last for one fleeting year. A new chapter in our lives began the day we confirmed we were to be parents.

As expected, our romantic indulgences diminished proportionally as our due date approached. Yet I naively convinced myself that we’d return to “normal” not long after the baby’s birth. The reality turned out to be a more compartmentalized approach to intimacy. Neither of us were prepared for the sleepless nights, the onset of stress, the lack of time, and the new found responsibility of being a parent. Yet surprisingly our passions burned brightly despite the pitfalls of parenthood albeit with a lot less verve.

After the birth of our second child, romance once again took a back seat to raising our kids. As they grew so did their demands on our time and energy. Mind you my wife and I would still exchange amorous glances, steal a hug and kiss or two in between toddler tantrums, and hold hands while watching intently for Blue’s next clue. Our star crossed romance had evolved into a parents gone mild approach.

Yet every so often, be it a date night, or an event such as a wedding in which just my wife and I attend, we rediscover each other, laugh a lot about the insanity of it all, and connect once again. Our children, both intricately linked to our lives as a family, fade into the background during these private times. They’re never forgotten of course, we inevitably mention our children in conversation, but the focus redirects to rekindling the spark in our relationship. At our last wedding reception, my wife and I danced, drank, laughed, and indulged in each other’s love. Just the remedy needed to solidify the foundation necessary for the sometimes rocky business of parenting.

My advice to expectant Dads? A short list for you to forge your own path to romance in the age of parenthood:

  • Stay optimistic. Life is good.
  • Your relationship with your wife will change and you must be willing to adapt.
  • Family life requires balancing one’s whole life while including the lives of your family.
  • Learn time management skills.
  • Don’t lose your sense of humor.
  • Remember to make time for just you and your wife.
  • Think of romance in terms of a slow burn leading to memorable moments rather than love on demand.
  • Everything changes, you can too.

CuteMonster.comVincent Daly aka CuteMonsterDad is a graphic designer, writer, actor, artist and most importantly a husband and father. He is the founder of CuteMonster.com, a resource for Dads.

The Revolution Begins from Within

The deconstruction of the existence you once held dear runs parallel to the construction of the new man you are to become. Read CuteMonsterDad’s take on the ongoing Dad Revolution.

One of my CuteMonsters SnackingFor me, the word revolution has always conjured up images of violent epic battles fought for a noble cause.  Revolutionaries would sacrifice nearly everything to ensure a better future for themselves and generations to follow. As for fatherhood, the revolution really begins from within.  The battle waged is fought in the mind between one's independent self and the father to be.  Stress laden thoughts, sleepless nights, irrational fears and more can all be attributed to the enormous change an expectant father must attempt to grasp in a small window of time.  Yet similar to every revolution, one moment in history can be traced to the life changing catalyst that sparked the call to action.  For most Dads I would guess the revolution began not with a bang but rather the soft spoken words, "Honey, I'm pregnant." [ Insert expectant Dad's primal scream here]

The days and months that followed rushed by like a cascading effect that knocked down previously held priorities and erected new ones.  The deconstruction of the existence you once held dear runs parallel to the construction of the new man you are to become.  My fiercely independent self would need to adapt or get crushed by the reality about to unfold.  I remember often hearing from my friends and family members with children how I should "enjoy myself" now because once the kid arrives, everything changes.  That the freedoms my wife and I enjoyed and took for granted would no longer avail themselves to us as parents.  And it wasn't that they were necessarily trying to be vindictive, it was more along the lines of getting me prepared for my new life as a Dad, a family man.

Suffice to say, I was in crisis mode throughout most of my wife's pregnancy.  As our due date approached, my anxiety heightened.  When we attended Lamaze class my heartbeat would often drown out the sounds in the room.  I was lost in thought all except for one, our child will be what saves me.  Like a zen meditation mantra, it was the thought of our child "saving" me that gave me a sense of calm.  It was the one clear connection that enabled me to brush aside the mountain of thoughts that weighed heavily on my mind.

My son arrived two weeks early.  I remember in the months prior expressing to my wife how I was adamantly opposed to being in the room for the birth of our son.  "Just too much for me to handle!" I'd lament.  But on the day of my son's birth, it was all a blur.  I was in the room comforting my wife as she endured excruciating pain like a champion, then I remember a nurse rushing in demanding I "hold her leg!"  Several exhausting pushes later by my beloved and I was officially a Daddy.  I felt dumbstruck but not anxious.  The weight had been lifted and replaced by awe.  Shortly after a nurse had cleaned up our son and approached me.  She asked if I'd like to hold my son.  I almost unconsciously replied to her, "no, that's okay" because quite frankly, I had never held a newborn baby let alone my own.  She smiled at me knowingly, handed me my son and I in turn just stared for what seemed like hours at this little life before me.  The revolution was in full swing.

Three years later I'm now the father of two beautiful children.  The joy and challenges of fatherhood continue to evolve as our children grow.  So too does the context of the Dad revolution.  External factors such as the economy have introduced many men to the world of being a full time parent commonly called a Stay at Home Dad (SAHD).  Overall, the parenting landscape has begun to shift dramatically towards an equal partnership between men and women.  A partnership in which men and women are not interchangeable in their roles as Fathers and Mothers, but rather complement each other in a concerted effort to provide the best upbringing for their children.  I look forward to the days that lie ahead.  My own revolution continues and there will be stories to tell, laughter to enjoy, and lessons to be learned.  Long live CuteMonster and long live the Dad Revolution.