Why This Dad Isn’t Ready For Kid #2

13 months.

Recently I saw a quiz here on Parents.com that you could take to find out if you’re ready for a second child. I didn’t need to take the quiz. With no hesitation, I thought to myself, nope.

I am still too self-centered, still too greedy with what little free time I do have in the day, and honestly, my ability to trust in God for all it would take for a second kid isn’t strong enough. I’m ashamed but willing to admit it.

My honesty here also reveals a white elephant; there is no guarantee my wife and I would even be blessed with a second child when the time does come that we are “ready.” So I don’t mean to be assuming or ungrateful that we so effortlessly received our son Jack.

But in this moment, I am sort of terrified at the thought of returning to the days of a crying baby in the middle of the night. (I trained my son to sleep through the night back when he was 6 months old and haven’t had to worry about this problem since then.)

Man, the frustrations of not having the same motherly instincts to be awoken by a baby’s cry and therefore my wife having to take the brunt of it. Then there’s the fact that instinctively, I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time with an infant anyway.

Seriously, it’s taken 13 months for me to even feel somewhat necessary in my own home.

That’s the biggest frustration for me, as a dad, that I don’t feel needed or necessary in raising an infant. And I know I’m not alone in this. This is the kind of thing that other daddy bloggers probably write about and dads who don’t blog, still think about.

I like being needed and knowing how to help. But the worst parts of those first couple of months as a dad were like being in a play where I didn’t know the lines. I was supposed to be this certain character but I wasn’t even given a script before showtime. I’m so glad that at this point in fatherhood, I can at least ad-lib my lines and make the scene work.

Like I said, I’m too self-centered for Kid #2 right now. And that brings us to the other white elephant: What other way to be cured of my greed than to be surprised by another child? There’s not.

Having a kid, and I assume having more kids, further breaks a man down to the point he doesn’t worry as much about what he will lose; but instead, he will focus on what will he gain.

I bet that’s what Jim Bob Duggar would tell me.

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  1. by Brian

    On January 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I know what you mean about struggling to find that role. Your also right that us dads think about it. But let me say this: your presence in your wife and son’s life is critical and helpful. Your mere presence. We men are not nurtures by nature, but we are excellent providers, and we’re good at filling in when necessary. I encourage you to not beat yourself up too much with figuring out our role – you may wind up more depressed than when you started thinking about it. Instead, lean on God and place your worries and doubts on Him. He wants that from you. When you do lean on Him, I think you’ll find clarity sooner than you think. Thank you for your openness, and I hope you’re not offended by my unsolicited advice.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On January 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks Brian, I appreciate that!

  3. by Ricki

    On January 12, 2012 at 12:43 am

    If it helps, there are mothers, too, that feel the same way about not wanting a 2nd child. Not about not finding your role in taking care of the child you do have, but about wanting to have the balance between your own needs and your child’s. It doesn’t mean you can’t adore and appreciate everything your child brings to your life, but I like like sleep and relaxing sometimes too.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On January 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks Ricki :)