I STRUGGLE TO BE A GREAT DAD… OR EVEN A GOOD DADon August 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm
That’s how I felt yesterday when it was time to update the site. We just got back from vacation and I was caught in that “catch-up mode” we all feel when we arrive home. I also had my son sitting across from my desk, writing sentences about lying. Truth be told, I was also in self-hate mode, because I felt I had gone completely berserk on him the night before and was definitely NOT a great dad to him.
It’s such a struggle. I wanted to all caps that. STRUGGLE. When it’s not a struggle with the child in question, it’s a struggle with myself. And all too often, I’m a big fat failure.
And I have good kids. By all accounts, I have GREAT kids. I’ve had people tell me my kids were more welcome in their home than their own grandchildren. They’re polite, kind, and helpful. And I think that makes it even more jolting when they screw up. They’ve set the bar too high…. or I have.
It’s a hard day when you’re replaying in your mind what you did wrong with your kids. I fear that they’ll remember the bad days, more than the good. When I think back on my childhood, I remember punishment far more than reward. Discipline, but without closeness. Corporal punishment was given for all offences, not some. I don’t have a memory of throwing a ball with my father. I can’t put my finger on a single memory of a day we just ‘hung out’ and had a great day. I’m sure they happened, but the other days strain to the forefront of my memory banks.
This isn’t to say I don’t believe in discipline. I do. Other parents give me the “you’re too hard on them” look as I chide or scold. In turn, I give the “you gotta’ reign them in” look in return. It’s a happy balance I’m looking for. But I find I’m fighting my upbringing more and more. And when I do break, I feel I sometimes go FURTHER into the strong discipline than even I received.
My heart hurts at the moment. There’s a lot of things on my mind lately. Mistakes. Mis-steps. Misunderstandings. A lot of MISses. And what frightens me, is that there’s more to come. I won’t stop making them. I CAN’T stop making them. All I can do is aim for LESS. It’s this cosmic nightmare of misery, where you can shoot for the bulls-eye every time, but you’re just as likely to shoot yourself in the foot.
There’s no funny anecdote to go with this week’s comic. In truth I haven’t even worked out what it will be this week. This is just a post to say, “I don’t know what to do.” I haven’t found the answers yet. I keep looking. I keep trying. I keep hoping that it will get easier, but I’m coming to realize it only gets harder.
My littlest just turned one last week. Will I be better when he gets to be CJ’s age? How much damage will my oldest endure while I’m figuring it out? Will what I learn raising him even work on this other person… this other personality? I don’t know. No answers.
So I struggle on.