Am I The Father I Want To Be

Six years ago I asked am I the father I ought to be? The man who asked that question is gone now. It would be a bit melodramatic to say that he died, but he is gone. I see remnants and fragments floating around the places he once walked. I see pieces of that guy and the reflection in the mirror bears some resemblance but he is still gone.

I don’t know if any of that is important or whether it merits any thought which I suppose is part of why I blog about it. Here in my cyber refuge I use these words to clarify my thoughts and my clear my head of the cobwebs that collect inside it. So let’s move on my friends and address the topic of this post.

Am I the father I want to be? It is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit recently. And the answer is no….I am not.

I am not a bad father by any stretch of the imagination. My children do not lack for love or attention. They have plenty of the things that they need but it is not enough for me. It is not enough because I am well aware of the dissent and discord in my life. My lack of satisfaction and my irritation make me short tempered and impatient. The current condition of things requires that I work crazy hours and in crazy conditions and that drains me.

That face I see in the mirror isn’t one that I recognize. The thoughts that funnel through my head are disconcerting. I hear things that I thought that I would never say and I find myself  feeling drained and driven to exhaustion…constantly.

But the beauty of the children is that they provide you with strength and courage to continue and go beyond. They help inspire me to keep fighting even when it feels hopeless and so I do. I fight.

I fight because that is what and who I am…a fighter. I fight because they deserve it.

But the rules of the blog dictate honesty and I acknowledge that  I am unhappy.  Most of the time it is frustration that I can’t make time move faster and I can’t make changes move more quickly than they are.

Life is not all about the shadows. There are many splashes of color but these splotches don’t appear as frequently as I would like them to so I continue to push to make the changes that will bring them with greater frequency.

I suspect that I will always answer the question of am I the father that I want to be with something like a “no, not yet.” It is good to have high standards and to push for more. But sometimes in the quiet of the night while I watch them sleep I think that it would be nice to be that guy sooner than later. They grow so very quickly and soon they won’t be here with me any more.

In the blink of an eye they will be out on their own and making their own way so I need to push harder to be more not because they ask but because I do.

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Comments

  1. I often feel like my kids make me want to do better, to be better. I wonder if we can still feel we’re doing our best even while our eye is on better. I catch myself, in specific moments, thinking “oh that was good. that was a good moment right there.” even though over all I want to do better. Great post.

    • @Christine_Quasiagitato:disqus My kids always make me want to do better. When I fall down it is sometimes harder because I want them to be proud. I understand what you are saying.

  2. I often feel like my kids make me want to do better, to be better. I wonder if we can still feel we’re doing our best even while our eye is on better. I catch myself, in specific moments, thinking “oh that was good. that was a good moment right there.” even though over all I want to do better. Great post.

    • @Christine_Quasiagitato:disqus My kids always make me want to do better. When I fall down it is sometimes harder because I want them to be proud. I understand what you are saying.

  3. I would love for my kids to have the dad that did what was necessary to succeed when they were young so that they can go play on the lake with him when no one else is out! 

  4. I would love for my kids to have the dad that did what was necessary to succeed when they were young so that they can go play on the lake with him when no one else is out! 

  5. Jack, I can’t tell you how well I hear you. My children, specifically my teens, gave me a reason, when they were 5 and 6, to learn to stand on my own two feet and become independent and successful in the industry I was in so I could provide for them. I wanted them to be able to have at least one reliable parent so they would never be short for anything. But they were shorted, because i was so busy trying to support them financially I missed out on so much of the smaller things. And that use to put me in such a crappy mood. Now, all four of my kids, which includes the toddlers, have given me the goal to work towards my own home business. They have two parents who are reliable in every way possible, but i also want to be there for their milestones. Never pass up another award ceremony because i have a “job”, never miss out on a new word. They give me strength to try my hardest and then some. Building your own business is really stressful in the beginning but I’ve found that I’m able to handle that stress because the reward of spending most of my day with them is better than being employed by someone else and hardly seeing them.
    I missed out on a lot of milestones with the teens, but I think I’m making up for it in some small way now.
    You’re right, in a blink of an eye, they’ll be out of the nest.

    • @vsplace:disqus It is a crazy and convoluted world sometimes. You run like crazy to try to provide for your kids and then when you finish working wish that you could have ten minutes to decompress. And that is usually when they decide that they need you most.

  6. Jack, I can’t tell you how well I hear you. My children, specifically my teens, gave me a reason, when they were 5 and 6, to learn to stand on my own two feet and become independent and successful in the industry I was in so I could provide for them. I wanted them to be able to have at least one reliable parent so they would never be short for anything. But they were shorted, because i was so busy trying to support them financially I missed out on so much of the smaller things. And that use to put me in such a crappy mood. Now, all four of my kids, which includes the toddlers, have given me the goal to work towards my own home business. They have two parents who are reliable in every way possible, but i also want to be there for their milestones. Never pass up another award ceremony because i have a “job”, never miss out on a new word. They give me strength to try my hardest and then some. Building your own business is really stressful in the beginning but I’ve found that I’m able to handle that stress because the reward of spending most of my day with them is better than being employed by someone else and hardly seeing them.
    I missed out on a lot of milestones with the teens, but I think I’m making up for it in some small way now.
    You’re right, in a blink of an eye, they’ll be out of the nest.

    • @vsplace:disqus It is a crazy and convoluted world sometimes. You run like crazy to try to provide for your kids and then when you finish working wish that you could have ten minutes to decompress. And that is usually when they decide that they need you most.

  7. great post, Jack. I agree with your follow up comment below–If you don’t feel a little bit guilty, there’s something wrong. Kind of like, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying close enough attention. Something tells me that you do a pretty good job of being a father. . .

  8. great post, Jack. I agree with your follow up comment below–If you don’t feel a little bit guilty, there’s something wrong. Kind of like, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying close enough attention. Something tells me that you do a pretty good job of being a father. . .

  9. G’Day Jack, 
    Years ago I heard an interview with a child psychologist. “Spoil ’em stupid,” he said. “They’ll only get one chance.” It’s worth considering…..

    For what it’s worth, I simply tell my children about my grandchildren, “Remember: you’re supposed to enjoy your children.”

    And keep in mind what that bloke said about genes.

    Regards

    Leon

    • @3884c43f625610ab1bb99b677867ea2a:disqus You sound like my father who loves to tell me that my children are perfect. They’re not, but they’re close.

  10. G’Day Jack, 
    Years ago I heard an interview with a child psychologist. “Spoil ’em stupid,” he said. “They’ll only get one chance.” It’s worth considering…..

    For what it’s worth, I simply tell my children about my grandchildren, “Remember: you’re supposed to enjoy your children.”

    And keep in mind what that bloke said about genes.

    Regards

    Leon

  11. Columbiarose says

    Let your children see you grieve and how a man with integrity deals with adversity.

  12. Columbiarose says

    Let your children see you grieve and how a man with integrity deals with adversity.

  13. Absenceofalternatives says

    With all these other dads leaving insightful comments, I almost did not leave a comment… I feel inadequate. Guilt. It’s overwhelming esp. When I’m busy at work, like now. I feel guilty towards both sides. Reading this post is a painful exercise for me. But something that’s sorely needed I think. I do think though if you are worried about parenting, you are probably on the right path.

    • @c6aa4dbae7c2de4ecbbbe2f55e49af89:disqus If you don’t feel guilt or inadequacy than something is wrong with you. It is part of the package.

  14. Absenceofalternatives says

    With all these other dads leaving insightful comments, I almost did not leave a comment… I feel inadequate. Guilt. It’s overwhelming esp. When I’m busy at work, like now. I feel guilty towards both sides. Reading this post is a painful exercise for me. But something that’s sorely needed I think. I do think though if you are worried about parenting, you are probably on the right path.

    • @c6aa4dbae7c2de4ecbbbe2f55e49af89:disqus If you don’t feel guilt or inadequacy than something is wrong with you. It is part of the package.

  15. How fantastic that you unfold your deepest thoughts in your blog… It’s an honour to be able to read them. In a way, I completely relate to this (probably in my own way of course!) – I have similar thoughts about my 2 children. The question is not, “Am I a good father?” it’s, “Am I the father I ought to be?” – these two are very different. The first opens you up to all your inner criticism and nagging self-doubts. The latter opens up a window of opportunity.

    The question I like to ask myself is, “How can I be better than I am right now?” – whether it’s to do with parenting, kindness, sociability or whatever… the advantage of adding in the how is that your brain is programmed to deliver answers – whether you want to hear them or not!

    Lastly, it seems as though you might be missing out on the journey of becoming a great father… taking the time to appreciate what is happing right now, rather than sitting in a place of wishing change could happen faster. It’s impossible to be the father you ought to be if you’re not fully around in the moment to be him! I appreciate that these are just your thoughts and you’re probably working on that too.

    • @94fa1ae22650256b4c9aea72307e0ef8:disqus Hey Dan, thanks for coming by. One of the reasons I like blogging late at night is because of the solitude and quiet. I can take these moments to think about life and consider what is going on.

      When I am with the family I try to make a point of focusing on them. Some people might describe what is happening now as a crisis and in some ways it is.

      But it is also exciting and exhilarating because it represents opportunity to me. Change doesn’t have to be bad and change is what is happening.

      I am just impatient about some of it. We all need to vent, why not on the blog.

  16. How fantastic that you unfold your deepest thoughts in your blog… It’s an honour to be able to read them. In a way, I completely relate to this (probably in my own way of course!) – I have similar thoughts about my 2 children. The question is not, “Am I a good father?” it’s, “Am I the father I ought to be?” – these two are very different. The first opens you up to all your inner criticism and nagging self-doubts. The latter opens up a window of opportunity.

    The question I like to ask myself is, “How can I be better than I am right now?” – whether it’s to do with parenting, kindness, sociability or whatever… the advantage of adding in the how is that your brain is programmed to deliver answers – whether you want to hear them or not!

    Lastly, it seems as though you might be missing out on the journey of becoming a great father… taking the time to appreciate what is happing right now, rather than sitting in a place of wishing change could happen faster. It’s impossible to be the father you ought to be if you’re not fully around in the moment to be him! I appreciate that these are just your thoughts and you’re probably working on that too.

    • @94fa1ae22650256b4c9aea72307e0ef8:disqus Hey Dan, thanks for coming by. One of the reasons I like blogging late at night is because of the solitude and quiet. I can take these moments to think about life and consider what is going on.

      When I am with the family I try to make a point of focusing on them. Some people might describe what is happening now as a crisis and in some ways it is.

      But it is also exciting and exhilarating because it represents opportunity to me. Change doesn’t have to be bad and change is what is happening.

      I am just impatient about some of it. We all need to vent, why not on the blog.

  17. I’m always uneasy reading your blog.  Sometimes you write post like this, full of deep yet vague anguish.  It makes me feel like I should do something, but I don’t know what.  Please close to me have suffered deep depression, long-term sadness, inadequacy.  It’s sad thing for those around too.  Even though I don’t know you, I imagine that you might be in that place.  Should I do something?  You tell me.  If you need someone to talk with, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I mean it!

    Otherwise, if you’re just flexing your writing muscles then … chipper up!  The ambitious man has goals so lofty he will not achieve them in his lifetime.  They’re not problems, they’re opportunities.  When they don’t kill you, you come out stronger.

    • @d867f5b7346d6b0778f5db620991ecd5:disqus It is not depression nor do I feel inadequate. I use the blog to clear out the cobwebs and see what lies in the shadows. I don’t fear to expose the weaker side along with the strong. I feel like it helps me understand myself.

      But I do appreciate the concern. Not everyone is willing to help others.

  18. I’m always uneasy reading your blog.  Sometimes you write post like this, full of deep yet vague anguish.  It makes me feel like I should do something, but I don’t know what.  Please close to me have suffered deep depression, long-term sadness, inadequacy.  It’s sad thing for those around too.  Even though I don’t know you, I imagine that you might be in that place.  Should I do something?  You tell me.  If you need someone to talk with, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I mean it!

    Otherwise, if you’re just flexing your writing muscles then … chipper up!  The ambitious man has goals so lofty he will not achieve them in his lifetime.  They’re not problems, they’re opportunities.  When they don’t kill you, you come out stronger.

    • @d867f5b7346d6b0778f5db620991ecd5:disqus It is not depression nor do I feel inadequate. I use the blog to clear out the cobwebs and see what lies in the shadows. I don’t fear to expose the weaker side along with the strong. I feel like it helps me understand myself.

      But I do appreciate the concern. Not everyone is willing to help others.

  19. The main thing is just to be there for them. Trust me, I have seen some parents so bad it is criminal through the Guardian program so don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Yes, things going on in your personal life can affect your demeanor but just being there for them means more than anything else.

    I hope you get through these speed bumps soon.

    • @a76049f6a32a1e633a732b81bafb98c9:disqus Somewhere in this blog I wrote about when my wife was a social worker. She worked in group homes and the stories I heard were horrific.

      I am a good father. I don’t doubt that but I am not the guy I can be or want to be. Working on it, just ran into some hurdles. If I were smarter I would have jumped over or gone around them.

      But silly me likes to walk a straight line regardless of what lies in front of me. So sometimes I dance in the fire and sometimes I swim. Hardest thing for me sometimes is to tread water as I am today.

      This will pass. I really do appreciate the kind words- thank you again.

  20. The main thing is just to be there for them. Trust me, I have seen some parents so bad it is criminal through the Guardian program so don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Yes, things going on in your personal life can affect your demeanor but just being there for them means more than anything else.

    I hope you get through these speed bumps soon.

    • @a76049f6a32a1e633a732b81bafb98c9:disqus Somewhere in this blog I wrote about when my wife was a social worker. She worked in group homes and the stories I heard were horrific.

      I am a good father. I don’t doubt that but I am not the guy I can be or want to be. Working on it, just ran into some hurdles. If I were smarter I would have jumped over or gone around them.

      But silly me likes to walk a straight line regardless of what lies in front of me. So sometimes I dance in the fire and sometimes I swim. Hardest thing for me sometimes is to tread water as I am today.

      This will pass. I really do appreciate the kind words- thank you again.

Trackbacks

  1. […] JackB on twitter, @TheJackB is a dad who writes about life, parenting, business, politics and fiction. To say Jack is a prolific writer would be an understatement. He not only maintains his blogs, he is a frequent guest poster. Two things I appreciate about his posts are the vast range of topics and the analogies or story tie downs. When you read his posts, you will be learning from a master. […]

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