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].
As I write this, my wife and son (currently 13 months) are off visiting family in Chicago. So Dad is home alone for 4 days for the first time in a long time. I never knew how much time there was in a day. And to be honest, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve already watched my shows and did all the other little things around the house that needed doin’. I’ve gotten clear on the fact that I for sure have some form of OCD since I can’t sit still for one f—ing second. I have so much extra time that I decided, “What the hell, I’ll just start writing.” So if you are reading this, I actually hit the “publish” button for a bit of “what the hell” excitement. I know what you’re thinking. But just go with it.
“The past 13 months have been consumed by continual development, confusion, exhaustion, excitement and a whole lot of not knowing what to do”
The past 13 months have been consumed by continual development, confusion, exhaustion, excitement and a whole lot of not knowing what to do. Life is literally like one big blur then you wake up the next day. This all sounds like some crazy nightmare, but, I can honestly say, it’s the most amazing blur I could ever wish for.
I do find myself doing some of the most bat shit crazy things like …
I once spilled liquid detergent all over the laundry room floor. So I cleaned it up with a large amount of towels (Ironically enough, liquid soap doesn’t clean up easily even though it’s designed for cleaning … huh?). So far, so good. Where I went wrong was putting those towels in the washing machine and pressing “ON.” Holy shit! Within minutes I had suds overflowing everywhere. This whole time my son, then 6mo, was chillin’ in his bouncy watching me frantically open the washer door to only have an avalanche of soapy water spill on to the floor. I felt like I was at a foam party in Rosarito Beach during Spring Break (a whole other story). All ended well after 100 spin cycles interrupted by scooping suds in to a trash can. I’m sure there’s an easier way to fix this mess. But I did with what experiential knowledge I have on this subject … ZERO!
And when my son was little he cried a lot. I mean a lot! But one thing always calmed him down; A Tribe Called Quest. Being a product of the 90’s, Tribe has been a go to from time to time. One day I threw on Excursions and started dancing like an insane person off their meds. He loved it. And still does to this day. Actually, the more inappropriate the rap, the more he likes it. This should turn out well in his later years.
What I’ve realized is that having a kid gives you permission to act like a complete fucking idiot and feel OK about it. Not like the substance induced, consequence filled days of my previous life. But naturally uninhibited and childlike. AKA not giving a shit. And even better, others find it adoring. Idiots run free!
Fatherhood is a fun game. I say game because it is. You’re playing defense so nobody sticks their tongue in a light socket or drinks from the dog bowel (ok this happens from time to time) or eats another rock. And you’re playing offense by always trying to hit the home run and be the super star dad your wife admires. And more important, she trusts. There is no off season. You gotta bring your A-Game. If you can’t, good f—ing luck.
Dad’s, train often and train hard. Fatherhood is definitely a comedy of errors. But it’s also the most critical and fulfilling role a man will ever play. Never take this challenge lightly or for granted because too many people depend on you.
And this is what too much time on your hands without your family makes you realize.