Overthinking Fatherhood

Posted on June 27, 2006

I’m compelled to write about an article refenced by Jim Grisanzio, found in Time Magazine: Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?.

If you don’t feel like reading my diatribe, here’s the punchline: Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert is the author of Stumbling on Happiness… is a clod.

There are certain questions that are worded such that the answer is presumed. This is one of those. Merely asking the question makes me uneasy. Of course fatherhood makes me happy. But perhaps I’ve got something that Daniel doesn’t….. namely, I love my children.

If you don’t have kids, you really can’t imagine just what its like. Believe me, I thought I had it worked out for years prior to having them. To a large extent I’ve been right, I did have it all worked out, but with one exception…. when your kids are born and you look at them, and as you watch them grow, your smacked in the head by an unavoidable truth: they are of you. They are a little peice of you and your spouse. To resent your child is to resent yourself. My son is disgusting, watching him eat is revolting… but turns out he’s a mirror of me, to the smallest detail. My daughter complains, a lot, but she always does what she’s told after moaning about it… and it turns out, I do the exact same thing, in my own way.

Articles like these, weighing and calculating the cost/return of parenthood are rediculous. They strip away reason. If you are, yourself, a clod and believe that your children are a pain in the butt you’ll only learn to resent them. If, however, your open and allow yourself to see yourself revieled in your offspring, you’ll be made aware in a new way of who and what exactly you are.

I’m not saying you don’t get frustrated from time to time. At 4am when your child is exhasted but just won’t sleep its not easy being a parent… but you have yourself been in that position, just so happens that you have more options than they do. You can watch TV, read a book, eat some cake… all they can do is scream in hopes of some comfort.

This growing idea of celebrating everything is just plain stupid and bugs me. We should strive to be better persons than we are, not celebrate our own shortfalls. Rather than pat yourself on the back for putting up with your kids, maybe you should just change your perspective slightly and see that your kids behaviour is a reflection of you more than anyone else, and whether it be to your liking or not, it is what it is. Change yourself together with your child, learn a better way and pass that on. Parenting is the process of learning and growing as much as it is teaching and pushing.

So, in short: STFU and love your kids… they love you, try and act like your worthy of it.