Hello my fellow fathers and dedicated dads,
So, I wanted to ask all of you a very personal question and a few follow ups: What does it mean, to you specifically, to be a father? What strengths do you bring to your role? What deficits are you trying to overcome? What is your greatest joy? What is your greatest frustration? What lessons have you learned along the way? Who or what motivates you?
I would really prefer that this not be a topic to judge each other but to be an honest discussion about our experiences, goals, fears, difficulties, transformations and whatnot as it pertains to fatherhood.
Sigh. I would have loved to read some responses to this. We have a big, blended family, so I spend a lot of time in "Blended Families" and "Single Parenting", where there's a fair amount of blanket negativity about men/fathers (well, mainly in the latter forum). Anyway, as the daughter of a great father - and the wife of a wonderful one, who has sole custody of his older son - I'm quite clear and often quite touched by how important parenthood is, to many men and what effort many men expend, to be good at it, in spite of the challenges. But I also realize you guys tend to discuss it a lot less than my gender does!
What an excellent question.
For me, it has meant reconnecting with time. I felt like I wasn't paying attention to my aging before we had the baby, but now I have a very tangible understanding of what my own mortality means, and how everything I do can contribute to my future beyond that. I'm a bit of an existentialist, so there's that.
It has also meant a constant sensation of being stretched, between work and connecting with our baby; and also the stretching between my romantic relationship with my partner, and our desire to be constantly with him. I also feel fatherhood is about gaining a real and true understanding of gender equality, or at least what gender equality ought to be.
I think fatherhood is how we are in a very real sense able to delineate the differences between ourselves and our parents. By raising a child, every decision I make is a comment on how I was raised, and what I think it means to be a person.
I think I'm rambling. Hopefully my answer wasn't too broad or analytical.
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