On Being A Good Dad: A Guest Post

Today’s post is written by the best dad in the whole world. He makes the most delicious omelets, he makes beautiful babies – is there nothing this man can’t do? That’s right, today’s guest contributor is none other than my hubby -Michael. Enjoy.

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I was elated when my wife told me she pregnant with our oldest son. A flood of emotions ran through me, questions of what do I do now, and thoughts of what my future would look like with a …my child. I spent the next 8 months reading books about being a dad, talking to my wife’s baby bump and telling him how much I loved him already, and generally preparing for a life changing event. Then, one mild April evening, he came! He was pretty early, but he came! I still get emotional thinking about the moment he was born. I literally could not get out the words, “I love you” for a solid week. I just got choked up each time and couldn’t finish any sentence. I loved him so much and was desperate to let him know.

Fast forward almost two years to the time when my wife told me she was pregnant with our second child. My immediate thoughts were pure joy and excitement, but then this dark thought crept into my mind, “What if I can’t love this new kid as much as I already love Theo?” It was a haunting thought. Plus I couldn’t seem to get attached to the baby bump the way I did the first time, no matter how much I tried. And then, Oliver was born, and the emotional, “can’t talk for a week” process started all over. I was immediately in love with him. Head over heels in love, and all it took was holding him for the first time.

Again, fast forward to almost a year ago when my wife announced she was pregnant with our third. The same haunting thoughts returned with even greater force. “How is it possible for me to equally love all three of my children?” Only this time, we were having a girl and I knew that she would have me wrapped around all of her little fingers and toes for the rest of my life. I knew the scales were going to tip in her favor. Sure enough, the moment she was born, I cried, gave her her first kiss, and loved her like I had known her forever.

Fast forward to present time. My home went from a really trendy modern decor, always clean, and somewhat minimalistic (my jam!), to being full of toys, I don’t even really notice our decor anymore, and clean for approximately 10 minutes at a time. My sleep habits were a perfect routine, but now there is no habit of sleep. The only sleep habit I have now is being woken up in the middle of the night by a crying baby, a toddler who just won’t stay in bed, or a 4 year old who is experiencing the trauma of a limb that has fallen asleep (lucky limb!). My work spaces were once perfectly organized, and are now ransacked by children looking for the perfect color of pen.

In general, any area of my life that one feels they have control over, is now taken over by these children. This is a hostile takeover and the new regime is here to stay! They don’t care about your needs, your habits, your goals, or your personal space. They will just pee on your floors and not tell you until you step in it. They will throw an F5 temper tantrum in public (even though they’ve been angels all day) just to see if you’ll crack. They scheme and organize plots against you to scatter in separate directions just when you’re trying to round them all up to leave for church. They throw your food on the floor, they draw on your walls, and walk in on you while you’re minding your own business in the bathroom. No regard for you at all, yet they need you. And in some inexplicable way, you need them.

I occasionally get asked what it’s like being a dad of three. My pat answer is, “It’s fun. I love it!” It may not always look fun, or actually be fun, but giving my love away to these little people is so much fun. I have deeply loved them from the moment I met each one of them, and it only continues to grow as I get to know each of them. They are responsible for a lot of chaos in my life, yet they bring me an incredible amount of stability (I could write a full page of paradoxical situations as a result of having 3 children, but I’ll spare you the philosophical writing).

Being a dad of any number of children is difficult, but I find very little that is as equally satisfying. Nothing prepares you for this job. Whether you, yourself, had the world’s best dad or an absent dad, you have no training. All you have is the love that naturally pours out of you. Yes, you have to work at being a good dad, but you have to work at maintaining and growing every relationship in your life. I don’t believe anyone is “naturally” a good dad, but I do believe those good dads are just really good at allowing the natural love inside them to just flow.  

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