I Hate Being a Dad

There are days where I hate parenting.  Today was one.  After an entire day of fun filled magic at Disney World, I spent the last hour sitting in the car with my oldest son.

Orlando in October is remarkably still hot and humid, but we were not to be deterred.  We arrived at the Magic Kingdom as it opened armed with packed lunches and plans of not leaving until after the closing fireworks.  The boys are big enough now that there is no ride off limits.  And it’s well worth it.  I rode rides that I hate like the tea-pots and introduced them to Splash Mountain.  Minus one hiccup where I argued fast pass ratios with a manager, the day was great.  Until about three o-clock.

While we were waiting for the Main Street Parade, I went scavenging for some ice cream to cool us off.  When I got back the look on my wife’s face said it all.  We figured the ice cream and then some dinner would fix it, but it just progressed.  Every time I turned my back, my oldest son was complaining he was done.  So as we sat down on the sidewalk waiting for the Electric Parade he received his last warning;  “Complain again and we’ll go sit in the car”.  It only took 5 minutes for his “I want to go home”, so I promptly picked him up and walk to the car so that my wife and youngest could enjoy the last moments of magic.  I didn’t want to leave, but everything I know of parenting says don’t make a threat for punishment if you won’t follow through.

I sat in the car rolling everything through my head: ungrateful, spoiled, selfish, stubborn.  Then the questions come flooding in:

Did I do the right thing?

Does he even understand what’s going on?

Did I just ruin all of our vacation?

Am I a good father?

My consolation from those wiser than me is “He’ll appreciate it when he gets older.  You did the right thing.”  But did I?  If it’s right why am I always second guessing myself?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s greatest parent.  I fill the stereotypical “Dad” role.  The one where you’re in trouble for teaching the boys how to shoot bottle rockets at each other while at the same time filling the “wait until your father gets home” job duties.  It’s bedtime stories and water guns balanced by moments sitting in the Disney World parking lot.

But what I hate about being a dad is the nurturing part.  There’s typically something in dads that kills nurturing.  It comes secondary to discipline and goofing off.  I’m great for the kid part: riding bikes and wrestling.  But what happens when one of those things goes wrong?  They run to mom.  Why?  Because mom kisses are a healing balm.  Dad kisses (or spit as you rub off the dirt and say “walk it off”) are filled with burning venom.

Now I’m not saying being a father is harder than a mother.  My wife is the far superior parent and is the sole reason all of us have survived together to this point.  Being a good father doesn’t seem to come as naturally as mothering does.  The moment children are born mothers have a special bond.  Fathers are wandering around celebrating with buddies because we’re afraid we might kill it if we hold it too long.  Then like cave men, we count down the years to teaching them to hunt or what football team to cheer for.

There’s so much I love about my boys and the time I spend with them, but it’s moments like this where I wonder is being a “good” parent worth it?  Making sacrifices and teaching tough lessons even at the risk of my own personal enjoyment?  I hate these days and these moments of parenting.  But when I realize my alternative is Honey Boo Boo, I think I’ll spend the time sitting in the car because even TLC can’t pay me enough to mess up my kid like that.

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10 thoughts on “I Hate Being a Dad

  1. “Ruin the magic”?? Sorry, but did you mean that facetiously? Why do you people (and by that I mean parents who actually take their kids to Disney) drink the Kool-Aid? Do you really think it’s reasonable for *anyone* to be dragged around a theme for hours upon hours without being cranky? Also, please do not use apostrophes to form plurals if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.

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  2. I argued fast pass ratio’s with a manager, I am guessing this is a plural- ratios? Other than that I did not see any problems with your apostrophes. I liked the idea of standing firm on you threat (sitting). I also understand getting tired at Disney. For what it is worth, I have seen you being a very good dad when you are around me.

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  3. Yup. It was the “ratio’s” which inspired the venom. Brush it off, Ben. A single lapse isn’t a big deal. I appreciated your message.

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  4. I think you really have to like popsicle stick art and macaroni necklaces to get anything out of being a parent. Try to notice the next time you are out, look at the random parent’s faces in any given situation, it is a look of tired burden and reluctant responsibility. I only see parents smile when their child is asleep lol

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  5. I Just returning from Disney World I can relate to this article. Everyone else’s comments are hung up on the grammar or general Disney bashing Whatever… unless they’ve worn your shoes they wouldn’t understand. After leaving Epcot one evening my wife looked over and said what’s wrong? “Honey they broke me, like a wild horse they broke me. I’ve given up, I can’t run this circus any longer.” was my reply. Its a very tough predicament to be in, be a firm and fair father with limits and potentially ruin vacation for everyone or just go with it and raise hooligans. You made the right choice. Even though I felt as if I yelled for a week straight and somehow the timeout chair made its way with us by the time we arrived home the kids were begging to go back. The only vacation I ruined was mine and thats because I was too worried about being a good father. If you are worrying about being a good father then I think that indicates you are.

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  6. He was tired. What couldn’t you understand about that? Geez, disney world is very overwhelming for kids. Very overwhelming. He probably wanted to get into trouble by that point just to get away from it all. If I were you, I’d apologize to him. Tell him you thought about it and you over reacted. We all make mistakes as parents though. I know I made MANY. Trust us, it’s hard for a lot of us mothers too, especially single moms. The reason why your wife is such a good mom is probably because you are such a good husband and father and you don’t even know it. You help her in more ways than you can imagine which allows her to have more patience. If I had a husband like you, I’m sure I would be more like your wife.

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  7. Spending all day at an amusement park that overwhelms the senses was too much for him. You say he was fine from the park’s opening (whatever that is, I’m guessing 7 or 8) to 3 in the afternoon. That’s 7 or 8 hours. Plus it was hot and humid which quickly tires out people. If you only spent the morning at the park, the kid wouldn’t have been worn out to point of acting up. As much as you and your wife want to spend the day with the kids at DW from park opening to park closing, you got to keep in mind your kids may not have the energy and patience to do that.

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    • Also, you call the kid selfish but you were selfish to demand the kid have enough energy for living you and your wife’s illusion of a perfect all-day out with your kids when the kid couldn’t possibly have the energy to be tireless all day.

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