About the Unfit Father
If you’re a stay at home parent looking for advice this is probably not the place to go.
Don’t get me wrong I have advice in spades, tons of advice, but it’s all based on my own personal experience which is dubious at best.
A few years ago I became a father and it came as something of a shock. Thanks to a remarkably fertile family I grew up around quite a few siblings and played a large role in caring for them when I was younger. I’ve even raised a dog who unfortunately is no longer with me but my brothers and sister are among the living and most of them have weekly therapy bill that they can easily afford.
I like to think that I have some, small part to play in that.
To make a remarkably long story a bit shorter I thought I knew what I was in for when my daughter was ripped out of my wife’s uterus. One moment I was a carefree and happily married adult and the next I’m the caretaker of a bouncing, bubbling, barfing, toddler with no sense of self preservation.
My wife and I had always talked about one of us staying at home and I suppose in the back of my mind I always knew that it would be me. I come from a marketing and public relations background and tend to get fired quite a bit. Its not that I’m not a great guy. I am. I just happen to lose jobs the way 90 year old hospice patients lose their bowels.
It is in this way that the care of my families most precious asset fell to me; the remarkably attractive man who can’t hold a regular job because its “inappropriate” to remark on the size of a man’s penis in the restroom.
I remember the first day my wife left for work with no small amount of terror. The moment my wife walked out the door to go to work I felt that a horrible mistake had been made. The phrase “You left me alone with our baby?” resounded in my brain over and over for the next eight hours until my wife came home. It still does from time to time.
Three years later my daughter is still alive and I consider that a big win. She might not get into Harvard after the number of headers she’s taken off the couch but I like to maintain achievable goals and hope that she’ll marry into a good family.
I wasn’t always so magnificently well adjusted. My Zen like mental state didn’t occur overnight. A few years ago when my daughter was rocketing around our house like a rabid monkey on crystal meth I came to an understanding. Actually I had something close to a nervous breakdown and then and understanding.
My daughter had just puked on me for the fifth time in as many hours. The house looked like it had been hit by an F5 tornado. Three days of laundry had piled up into a geographical feature I had dubbed Mount Clothesmore effectively blocking entrance to the basement. The one toilet in our house had also clogged up like a fat man’s colon after eating an entire wheel of Brie.
I won’t lie. I’m not a strong man. I broke down and wept as my daughter gallivanted amongst her parents’ dirty underwear as I sopped up random turds with a towel before bathing both my daughter and I in bleach.
It was at that moment, reeking of chlorine and self defeat with screaming and somewhat chemically burned child that that I had my epiphany.
This is the most difficult job I may ever have. It is also one that I will not, ever, quit or fuck up.
“Raising children isn’t for pussies,” was one of my late father in law’s favorite phrases. Granted he also said the same thing about fishing, marriage, cancer and dying but the older I get the more I realize the truth in those words.
Nothing good comes easy and that goes for the bad as well. Life is hard and raising a little one is at least doubly so. Anyone who says differently is lying outright or trying to sell something and until I’m endorsed by a major corporation I will stick by that statement.
At the end of the day, some twenty or thirty years from now, I’ll consider myself to be a success as a father if my daughter is a happy, self sufficient, self confident woman who can, hit a baseball, perform a plie, spit in the appropriate situations while watching a ball game and rip out a boys scrotum when necessary.
Until then we’ll see how it goes.