I can finally hear myself think! Now, before you stone me screaming crimson jihad, let me just get this thing straight. I love my family, I love my kids. They are the reason why I want to keep on living. But I haven't heard my own thoughts all week and I am going a little nutty.
I was thinking about this earlier in the car (where most if not all of my thinking happens) that when we become parents, we don't lose who we are. I say that because there are times when it feels like I am no longer me. I most often get these feelings after 8 hours straight of being with the kids.
Think about this. Can you imagine what your parents were like before they had you? It's kinda hard to picture them as not "mom" and "dad" isn't it? Because that's all you've ever known them as. That's who they are to you.
And when I'm with my children, I'm wearing my "dad" hat. Inside me though are other hats. And sometimes I forget I have them. Same thing happens I guess if you get really obsessed with work. You start wearing your "work" hat even when you're at home. I believe they're called workaholics.
So is there such a thing as a parentaholic? Doesn't quite roll off the tongue as smooth does it? All I know is, any "holic" of any kind is probably a bad thing and should be avoided or at least led towards a 12 step program. Of some kind.
Anyway back to the hats. I missed wearing my other hats. And then I thought, can I not wear two or more hats at the same time? Maybe I can. (I'm imagining myself with the two kids, holding the baby, diaper bag, texting the wife while the other one runs amok in whatever public place we're at at the moment) Or maybe not.
In the short time I've been a dad, I've realized this much. When you're with your kids, they need your whole and complete attention. They need you to be there. Mind, body and soul. You need to be present. I don't know about other parents or other dads, but for me, this is hard.
It's really, really hard. First of all, there's only so much conversation you can have with a 2 year old. In fact, I'm lucky enough that at two he can form small sentences and communicate. But waxing poetic about numbers and shapes only goes so far.
Then, there's the gravitational pull of the laptop, or the ipad or the cellphone or the tv. We're addicted to media. All of it. And it's hard to pull yourself away when it''s become second nature. Maybe it's that. Or maybe watching your kids just gets really boring sometimes.
Now you can stone me and cry crimson jihad.
But that's how I feel sometimes. Really bored. I don't know how it is for the moms. I don't know how it is for other dads. You have to give yourself a chance to wear the other hats. Maybe that means spending some time away from the family every now and then.
Maybe things will change as I get the hang of this fatherhood thing. Maybe I'll figure things out and see the bigger picture. Maybe I'll mature with age. Maybe I'll go into rehab.
Maybe that's just me.