Always second best…

For a while I’ve been meaning to get started on writing about the challenges of being a father. Blogging is something I’ve wanted to do for a bit but I was struggling for a) a topic to write about and b) the time to do it. Having a 2 year old and a 6 month old (at time of publication) does tend to be a bit time consuming – especially when your toddler is as crazy as ours – more on him later!

It was my other half that finally pointed out that whilst there is loads of stuff for mums, there is very little for dads. All the more astonishing when you consider that dads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and there are no instruction manuals! As a dad of 4, I certainly don’t have all of the answers…

Mums generally get the kids and the status as the primary carer. As a divorced man, I know this all too well. Being a part time dad – seeing your children at weekends, holidays or less – is hard work. The planning, the lack of day to day contact, the head scratching about what to do with the time gets tougher as they move towards their teenage years, which I’m finding now with a teenage daughter and an almost teenage son who live at the other side of the country.

As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, accepting that they have their own lives and may want to spend more time with friends also begins to creep into the reckoning, bringing doubt and guilt in equally large measures – am I boring, not fun enough, too embarrassing to be seen with, holding them back, asking too much…

Full time parenting can also leave you dazed and confused. This could be due to a general lack of sleep (doesn’t get much better as they get older), busy schedule of social activities to keep them amused (neither does this!), preventing your long suffering other half from tearing her hair out (full time occupation) or even keeping up on housework and day to day jobs. And this might be before we consider the day job…

It’s a whirlwind – despite your best efforts you may feel bottom of the pile in your house. In my house, I come in below the dog as far as status goes on some days. On those occasions, you tend to notice when your kids start acting up and get clingy with your partner. It’s frustrating and even soul destroying when your child is screaming the house down and only wants one person – and that isn’t you! You may not even get to be the primary carer in your own home.

Don’t get me wrong; this blog is not about me whinging about how life is unfair for dads. Far from it – I wanted to write about how to be the second ‘best parent’ rather than being ‘second best’. As a dad, I may be second in line (ok, third on occasion if I’m lucky) but I still have to be the very best parent I can be. My kids deserve that and no less – even when they’re being assholes.

However a bit of therapeutic venting might be just what’s needed on occasion and if it helps one person get some perspective or feel that they are not the only one feeling that way – well, that’s good enough for me.

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