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I Can’t Stop Comparing Myself To Other Guys With Kids And It’s Making Me Miserable

The following was syndicated from Medium for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].

I had the realization yesterday that from the outside my life probably looks all sunshine roses. I have an awesome son, a good job, a great wife that is my rock and the greatest mom, etc. But on the inside, I want to scream my head off and commit violent acts.

You see, for the last several days, I’ve been in a dark place. I have this underlying agitation that’s gnawing at me. This frustration that hasn’t gone away. And I’ve been a complete f—ing asshole to my wife as a result.

In the midst of one of the many arguments we’ve experienced lately, the thought flashed through my mind that I hate my current life. Luckily I didn’t blurt this out in my overly emotional state. Things could have gotten medieval really quick.

This thought alarmed the shit out of me. But really. I look around and want to break every damn toy in sight. I want to live in a house (and have a car) that is clean, tidy and doesn’t have food remnants stuck to the walls. I want sleep, to be on my own schedule and go to dinner without having to entertain a one-year-old the entire time. Basically, I’m struggling with being a parent!

I look at other parents and wish I could handle my life the way they do. I wish I had a relationship with my wife the way my co-worker does. My inner dialogue says “He must be having fewer arguments and far more sex the I am right?” Feats not hard to attain. Plus, I only have one kid. These other parents have 2, 3, 4 children running around. How are they doing it?!

Am I really this emotionally incompetent that I can’t balance a life of one child?

I hate my current life. Luckily I didn’t blurt this out in my overly emotional state.

Perhaps, the more intense you live your life as an individual, the more intense you’ll be as a parent and partner? If you go after life with intensity and strive hard for the things you want, will you undoubtedly adopt this mindset in your relationship and parenting? These are the questions that have come up. If so, this would also lead to a ton of self judgement, doubt and continual comparisons to others. All symptoms I experience.

You see, I’ve launched and failed businesses. Made money and been broke. Had relationships that I’ve chosen to destroy. And I absolutely self-sabotage seemingly good things in life because I refuse to settle for less than what I truly want. All the while beating myself up, continually comparing myself to others that appear to have their shit together and attain whatever I deem as “success.”

I’m on a continuous hamster wheel of self-comparison and fluctuating self-worth. I’m terrified that I will be this type of parent.

Lately I’ve wished for a simpler life. Where I have the proverbial white picket fence, the 9–5 with great benefits and the comfort of the status-quo. Why do I choose the difficult path?

Do other people really have it easier than me?

In this virtual world we live in it certainly seems like it. The family trips, the dance recitals and birthday parties. This shit gets “Likes” and cute little comments left and right.

This is a real picture out of Sunset Magazine. My kitchen has not been this clean or harmonious, well, ever.

What am I missing?

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Does it really? More and more today, I’m starting to wonder if a picture is perhaps hiding a thousand words.

I don’t have the answers. But I sure as hell have a lot of questions.

If only my life could be an Instagram post, things would be a lot easier …

So dads, I’ve you ever felt anything resembling this, just know you aren’t alone.

Nate Guggia is a proud dad, non-judgmental vegan, obsessive thinker, big fruit eater and fighter against the Dad Bod.