Posts Tagged ‘
family planning ’
Sunday, May 5th, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
Disclaimer: Contains potentially confusing viewpoints that may be exclusive to the male mindset.
The main reason I feel anxious about the thought of having another child is not the financial aspect, or even the fact we only have a 2 bedroom townhouse; it’s knowing that I would be placed in that frustrating position again of not knowing what to do on a daily basis.
Sure, I’d know more of what I was doing the 2nd time around, but it would also be on top of taking care of you too; though you demand less attention than you did when you were a baby.
To see me in my worst element is to see me in a high pressure, reoccurring situation where I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. For me, that was the first 15 months of your life; back when you wouldn’t let me take care of you without Mommy being in the same room.
Therefore, I couldn’t feel like I was leading our family, and it made me feel horrible about myself.
Just to be clear, I don’t mind high pressure at all. In fact, I like the challenge of it; given that I’ve been well trained on the subject.
It’s no secret: I find my self-worth not in how others see me, but in how I see myself. If I don’t feel in control, or at least that I know what my role is, I sort of feel worthless.
Now that you’re well beyond the age of 15 months, in fact, days away from being double that, my frustrating days of flat-out not knowing what to do in regards to being a dad are mostly a thing of the past; back in the year 2011.
As for modern day life, I know my role now; every minute of the day, and I love it!
In addition to being your official chauffeur, bedtime singer, protector from monsters… I also am the official dishwasher, bathroom cleaner, garbage man, vacuumer, relationship mediator, and the parent juggling two jobs outside of home life.
Every night, after our family eats dinner, I know that once Mommy takes you upstairs for your bath, I am going to immediately start washing and drying all the dishes, then wipe off the counter, and vacuum; just in time to go upstairs and sing your final bedtime song.
While it would be really nice to just chill out after dinner instead of doing housework, I don’t even mind. The reason: Because it sure beats the heck out of those first 15 months when I didn’t know my role.
As your dad, who is wired to fix problems and lead others, it’s very challenging for me to… I’m trying to think of a way to say this without using the PG version slang word…
I like to be driving the motorcycle, not riding in the sidecar.
(Watch the movie Garden State, when you’re older, to fully understand the reference. “Sidecars are for…”.)
What I am saying is that right now, I don’t feel like I’m riding in the sidecar. I feel like our life is predictable enough now where I don’t taste the chaos in the air anymore.
I love having this peace in my head; not dwelling on my inabilities to successfully figure out what exactly I’m supposed to do every single second. I love knowing what to do.
Ah, if and when the time comes for a 2nd child, I fear losing that again.
Saturday, January 26th, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
Last week when I wrote “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science,” I received an intuitive comment that really helped me understand myself better:
“I am a mom who, much like you, just knew I’d be a [parent] but never dreamed of it my whole life, or knew what to expect at all. I assumed that when I had my child I’d keep working and be happy with him in daycare, because that’s what my parents did with me. I couldn’t have been more wrong — about my happiness/satisfaction with this scenario.
We can’t afford for me to stop working, but all I want to do is be with my son. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Guilt, feeling like I’m missing out, and most of all: the inherent instinct, dare I say biological need, to be with my infant child, makes me INCREDIBLY sad to have to sit at my desk all day. I know not all mothers feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.”
The main takeaway from this comment for me personally is that, as a mom, she feels guilty about having to work full time and be away from her child; meanwhile, her husband has no problem with that issue.
Good point. Not only does it appear to be the norm for most women to yearn to become mothers, therefore causing my familiarity with the phrase, “All I ever wanted was to be a mother,” but it seems just as predictable that men experience much less guilt about working all day, away from their child.
I’ll speak for myself here, as a dad. Do I feel guilty about you being in daycare all day while I’m literally a quarter of a mile down the road, working in the office?
To be vulnerably honest… never.
If the question is whether or not I miss you everyday while I’m away from you, the answer is absolutely yes!
Inconveniently, your 2 hour nap occurs during the middle of my lunch break; otherwise, I’d spend that extra hour with you.
Like most dads, I am wired with the subconscious yet undeniable desire (and biological need?) to provide for you and Mommy. So to be honest, the thought of feeling guilty about you being in daycare while I’m at work… well, it’s pretty much the opposite of how my mind works.
Instead, I would feel guilty if I couldn’t be working all day while you’re in daycare. In an ideal world, Mommy could stay home with you, at least.
I gain a lot of confidence and self-worth by going out and working to provide for you and Mommy five days a week. It’s like, for me to feel successful, I have to have this “other life” away from you to earn the right to the version of life I share with you and Mommy.
So, no; like most men I know, I never thought or said out loud, “All I ever wanted was to be a dad.”
Instead, this was my version:
“All I ever wanted was to make a good and respectable living for the family that I always knew I would have one day.”
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
A year and a half.
It’s a decision that only my wife and I can make for ourselves, yet we’re open to hearing input from the free world.
For the past several months now, we have been leaning towards the decision to only have one child. It’s not the stress of parenthood getting the best of us. After all, at 18-months old, our son is pretty low-maintenance.
He’s the best son we can ask for and we’re so blessed to have him. So… why overdo it and have another kid?
I love the idea of only having our son. We can pour all of our energy and time into this one special person.
Whatever interests and passions he wants to pursue, we can support him fully.
No conflicts with our other kids’ schedules. No fighting in the back seat on the drive to Florida for family vacation.
Less financial worries. Less stress on our marriage.
As we’ve talked to couples who decided to only have one kid, they share no regrets about it.
I admit: I want to be part of the cool “One Kid Only” club.
As I try to sort through this, I gather reasons why we should consider having another child:
Who will take care of us when we’re old? What if something happens to our son and then we have no children at all? Wouldn’t it be sad for our son if he had no siblings to grow up with?
While I can continue to think of more Debbie Downer questions like these, I really don’t see how answering them will change how I feel:
I want to raise an only-child. I believe I will be feel completely fulfilled with just one kid.
Right now I am 31 years old and my wife almost is. Biologically, we’re still good for several more years.
So how long do we wait before we know to go ahead and make it official? How long before I go “get the surgery” and I can move forward as the proud parent of one child?
Yes, I know: If my parents would have made the same decision then my sister wouldn’t be here. Neither would my wife, who is 9 of 10 kids.
I want my wife to get her “mating’s worth” out of me. That’s important. And it would be one thing if I was simply telling my exclusive thoughts on this, but I’m not.
In fact, though I’ve been kicking this blog idea around for months now, I didn’t actually plan to write or publish it.
But my wife convinced me otherwise. This is something we both feel the same way about, yet want to be sure about.
This can ultimately only end in one of three ways that I can think of:
A) We delay up to about 4 more years before I get the surgery.
B) We choose to have another kid.
C) We surprisingly get pregnant as we try to figure this out.
Okay, passing the mic to you now. The two of us want your insight. Any advice and direction you’re willing to share?
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Health, Home Life, Must Read, People, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: birth control, family planning, getting pregnant, only child
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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.
Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
On Thursday, October 5th, 2006, I looked across a large, crowded room and saw a beautiful 25 year-old girl who had no legitimate reason to be alone. In that wishful moment at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee, I thought about how wonderful life could be if I could get that beautiful Puerto Rican stranger to fall in love with me. Turns out, she wasn’t Puerto Rican; it also turns out, she did fall in love with me- but it took exactly four months to the day for her to see me as more than just a friend.
Without knowing it, I applied a long-standing business principle of billionaire Warren Buffet, as explained in his son Peter Buffet’s book, Life is What You Make It:
“The idea is elegantly simple. Find something the world underappreciates, support it, don’t meddle, and allow time for the world to catch up in its valuation.”
I basically can’t stop obsessing over that very true concept. It doesn’t just apply to business; it appears to life in general.
How did a guy like me end up getting a girl like Jillanne Tuttle to fall in love with me? More importantly, why was this girl still even single, anyway?
Because she was underappreciated. So I supported her. And I didn’t meddle. Needless to say, it worked. That’s the only way I could have gotten a girl so out of my league like that.
I ignored the bad advice of well-meaning guy friends who tried to tell me I should come on strong and ask her out on a date from the very beginning. Instead, I privately vowed to be her friend first, not meddling with our friendship. Then interestingly, on February 5th, 2007, a switch flipped; she finally saw me in the romantic way that I had seen her from day one.
Is it crushing to my ego that she didn’t immediately fall in love with me for my weird and random conversations, not to mention my physical likeness of a plethora of Jewish actors such as Fred Savage, who played Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years? (Featured right, with his son.)
Not really. Subconsciously I knew back then that if I were to truly capture the attention, as well as, the heart of this girl, it would take more than all the culturally valuable assets I didn’t possess.
The truth is, I happened to be the right guy in the right place at the right time, making a conscious effort to invest in a person who others foolishly overlooked. So I made the most of it. Thank God it worked.
That same principle is how The Dadabase was born. I realized there was all kinds of information for moms-to-be, but not for dads-to-be. So a few weeks after we found out we were going to have a baby, I decided to start a weekly blog from my fatherly perspective. Sure enough, that was sort of a rare thing- unique enough that American Baby took notice in their magazine in October of last year.
And when Parents.com started asking around in their search for an official daddy blogger, I happened to be the right guy in the right place at the right time, because their sister magazine American Baby had featured my blog on page 13 of their issue just five months before.
In other words, I found something the world had underappreciated (parenting advice and narration from the dad’s perspective), I supported it, I didn’t meddle, and the world began to catch up in its valuation.
As for using this concept in parenting, I’m already seeing how it translates. No other humans can see more value in my son than my wife and I can. So we will reasonably support him, do our best not to meddle in ways we shouldn’t, and wait for the world to catch up in his valuation.
It’s wild to think that we are surrounded by underappreciated things in this world everyday, just waiting to be supported and valued. What great things are we missing out on simply because certain rocks haven’t been turned over and certain doors have never been opened?
Some possible answers could include “flying cars like in Back to the Future, Part II,” “cell phone watches like Penny and Brain had on Inspector Gadget,” and “the comeback of Pepsi Clear.”
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing | Tags: American Baby, baby blog, Back to the Future, billionaire, blog, blogging, business, falling in love, family, family planning, fatherhood, investments, Jewish, Nashville, Nostalgia, Puerto Rican, The Wonder Years, value, Warren Buffet