Being a dad is tougher than I thought. But not in the ways I thought it would be tough. Don’t get me wrong, all the things I thought would be tough, are tough, including the early morning diaper changes, the spitting up and the horrible newborn poop that requires a pressure washer to clean.
For me, though, there are harder things than sleep deprivation and “the icky stuff”. It’s hard for me to know if I’m spending enough time with my family. Heidi and I joke about boy #1 never letting me sleep in past 6:00am with the phrase, “play with me, Daddy”. It’s so cute, it’s nearly impossible to turn down (unless I’m actually sick).
He’s also fond of asking me, almost first thing in the morning after he wakes up, “Are you going to stay home?” I can’t express how hard it is to hear that, right before I got to work or school or church. I know I’m doing everything I can to spend time with him but I never know when it’s enough.
Then there’s the balancing act of trying to spend enough time with #2, who’s still 7 months and can’t tell me when he wants me to play with him while spending time with #1, who can tell me. I already feel like I’m not able to focus as much on #2 as I was on #1 and I worry that I won’t be as close to #2, who I love every bit as much as #1.
My hope is these things balance out in the end. School ends in June, so that’ll free up some time. Plus, I’m going to make sure to spend one-on-one time with each kid, every month or so. Throw in working together in the yard and the garden and making home improvements, as they grow up, and we’ll probably do okay. I figure as long as I really do my best to spend as much time truly focused on my family, as possible, they’ll recognize that.
So far, this perpetual ambiguity around whether I’m meeting my family’s needs has been the hardest part of the job. And I figure that fact alone means I’m very blessed.
Being a dad is tougher than I thought.
And I love every second.