Thursday, 14 February 2013

Crying Crimson Jihad

The wife and the kids are having a playdate with one of our friends for the afternoon, I am completely alone and it feels awesome.

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. 


  1. Hey Marc, first of all congratulations on this blog! This will be very helpful to us :) I think you're just being normal ... and I think you are doing a great job just by being there for your kids. You don't have to say much. Your presence is enough. This is what I try to explain to my Dad bec he also says he's not good at making conversation esp in trying times. No need for magic words. Just being there is more than enough. I'll be following your posts! :)

  2. Thanks for your kind words hannah! we'll figure out this parenthood thing together!

  3. I'm enjoying your blog! Thanks for sharing!

    "Or maybe watching your kids just gets really boring sometimes." -- Thank you for being brave and honest in saying this! haha! I come short of slapping my hand when I see it sneaking its way to my cellphone while the rest of me is playing with the boys. Good to know it's not just me :)

  4. @aswee thank you thank you! :) I'm glad to know that it's not just me too!

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  6. Hey bro, just my 2 cents... we fathers have just that much in common... we're fathers, but each of us experience fatherhood in absolutely unique ways, though none better than the other, all equally blessed, and distinct. Allow me to share some of my guiding principles... balance, moderation, or if you prefer, excess within control, no judgement, no pressure, no guilt, free will, freedom, fairness, responsibility, accountability, tons of fun for everyone, and respect. We can put right and wrong aside for now and focus instead on what works. What I am trying to say is, if you feel the lure of the laptop, by all means, indulge. As you know, I have a hobby (or I should say hobbies), which I so love, and I allow myself to enjoy it/them (immensely). There is time for the wifey, the kiddies, and as my wifey calls it "me time". It's been said that the most expensive thing is regret, but let me add that one other costly thing is resentment. Hence, balance. Time constantly moves and the only permanent thing in life is change. Certainly, there will be times when you will want more "me time", and there will surely be times when you will want nothing else than to spend time with the fam. The trick is when to know what time it is, otherwise too much indulgence = regret and too much sacrifice = resentment. Freedom is the nature of the soul (I sound like my Mom), there are no two ways about it and trying to suppress it is like holding in the inevitable flatulence, which comes out stinking a helluvalot more, the more you keep it in (our wonderboy knows this all too well). Know and trust that the kids will be fine, the wifey will be fine. Trust me, they will let you know when they want or need you. If you have helpers then this helps. If not, like in our case, the kids do their own thing right beside us or nearby (drawing on their table, watching tv, etc.) while I do my thing (surf the web, tinker or whatever), while the wifey does her own thing. My apologies in advance for hijacking your thread, just wanted you to know that I hear you and am pleased with your self awareness and introspection. Indeed, one of the many traits of a great father. A widely known fact: "Happy wife, happy life" but between you and me (and all the people who get to read this) one other key component and secret ingredient to a happy family life... is a happy Daddy. Kudos and God bless!

  7. @michael Thanks fellow father and thanks for sharing your insights! Definitely something to think about.