Dad: a mom’s perspective

The family unit: a mother,  father, child or children, maybe a pet. This is an insight into a family from the perspective of the mom, while the father is enrolled in a fatherhood program…. 

I started working with let’s call him “Aaron” a few months ago. He was apprehensive, quiet, and seemed bored. We had discussed a variety of topics that seemed to not grab his attention, nothing seemed to light Aaron up and make him participate. So, I continued to try as well as prod around to see what made him tick. It’s worth mentioning that when I come across a man such as this(or anybody in general) I am immediately intrigued!! One thing I can say for 100% certain is that Aaron showed up every month and was always locked into his girls, which was…special to see. This man has a good heart and is invested on some level in his daughters. As this coming meeting was approaching, I received a phone call, it was unsolicited and at first a complete mystery to me on a few levels. But, as the conversation unfolded I realized that this was Aaron’s wife! See, I didn’t ask a lot of questions at first- she was talking real fast so I just listened. What I heard essentially went something to the effect of- my husband has been struggling with such and such a thing and our family has been struggling with lots of things as well… we are going through more then we feel we can take, and as a result our children are miserable and frustrated. It was a heart wrenching story to be frank… but nothing I haven’t heard before. She became very animated and seemed to deteriorate over the phone. I asked her if she’d like to sit down some where so we could maybe pull a plan together to make it through to the other side of this situation. “Yes.” The meeting was scheduled for the next day at the library. When mom showed up, she was with a man I recognized immediately- it was Aaron. Over the next few hours, we laughed, shared experiences, and even shed a few tears to be honest. Life is a little difficult at times and a lot difficult at other times, but one thing you can count on is that it DOES get better. It will turn around if you are patient and reach out when you’re in need. 

See, what we discussed in essence was what the fatherhood initiative has done to this man, in a very very short clip. I can attest to this situation personally because it did the same thing to me. While Aaron wasn’t speaking much, or engaging much, what he was doing was listening and internalizing everything. The methods I spoke of, the situations we went over and scenarios all deeply affected him, as they did for me when I was training. You end up conflicted and confused, hurt and maybe feeling less then. Then, you try to overcompensate for what you feel was a shortcoming by trying to be super dad!! This leaves your children feeling a bit overwhelmed or confused too!! Then, that triggers other things… there’s so much to know, so much to learn… it’s a lot. All that time Aaron felt he was less than. Here’s what’s kind of beautiful about that: he was feeling, he was trying, and he was dialed in!! This is huge!! I start every session just explaining to dads that just by showing up they are taking a huge leap, they are making an investment! There isn’t a right way, or a wrong way to be invested in your child’s world necessarily. That you are in their world is a gigantic plus. I was taken aback by Aaron’s commitment to his kiddos, not to mention his pain and feelings of unsatisfactory parenting… here’s the good news, we are all learning as we go, some of us have the privilege to teach, instruct etc… I had a great example in my own dad, and that was my inspiration. I listened to a wife/mom talk to me about how her husband was struggling to be a better dad. He washed clothes, cooked dinner, and even started sewing stuffed animals that needed mending!! That was sweet to her to see! He was trying, reaching, and getting out of his comfort zone. Now, the caution here is you definitely need to leave your comfort level for a while, but you can return to it or allow your new reality to encompass your new comfort zone! 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, it’s easy to get lost… I’ve heard it said “if you get confused listen to the music play…” (R. Hunter) Make sure you’re listening for the music, AND listening TO the music. That music is coming from your heart and those words are the song of your family, your love and your desire to make yourself all your children will ever need. But, you can only play one instrument at a time, and you gotta learn to play it. Parenting is that instrument! Fatherhood is that instrument. Chances are you won’t pick it up and become an overnight success, but you can definitely become a seasoned professional by taking your time and listening more then you speak. Your children can tell you what you want, but their love for you will guide you through what they need as well. Bend your ear to their heart because believe me my dear reader, if you love them you are already playing a tune that is so special that the words that follow will govern your life and enrich theirs full measure. Showing up is all you need to do, love unconditionally and pace yourself. You want to be the best father you can be? Do you want to give your children all they need, while protecting them and being their role model… listen real close my friend…

nope, closer….

closer still… 

Never look to far for inspiration for your heart is closer then your imagination.. (::)