Life is challenging. Anyone who says it isn’t is being well taken care of and has NO responsibility or accountability. (Deep exhale). Ok…I’ve gotten that out of the way. I wonder sometimes if I’m doing life correctly. More specifically, am I a good dad? Pictured above are my three kids. (It’s throwback thursday, so I thought a 3 year old picture was throwback enough). I’m a divorced, single dad who feels inadequate.
People tell me from time to time that I’m a good dad. I think people say this because I manage to get them to the activities they are involved in as well as church and other things and they are fed and clothed and make it back to school the next day mostly unscathed. (All children get scathed from time to time. It’s virtually impossible for them not to). Scathing is a whole other topic and should be addressed sometime in the future. (Shakes head and clears brain to focus on topic at hand). Ok…so people think I am a good dad because I keep a schedule and the kids are still alive. Success!
Is that enough though? This brings us back to inadequacy. I’ve dealt with the feelings for most of my life. I feel like I’ve lucked my way through it by being at the right place at the right time. I would consider myself fortunate at my station in life and comfortable. That is, except in my parenting skill department. I’m a little bit of a control freak, and lazy to boot. I like to control my circumstances and I don’t like to clean, except I don’t like a filthy house. (Your definition of filthy may differ from mine, but we can argue about that later). Kids are hard to control and they’re getting older, so I need to start letting (making) them do things to help. That’s a challenge for me.
On top of that, I’m expected to teach them and mentor them and help them grow to be responsible adults who contribute to the good of all mankind. (That seems like a rather tall order, but I think that’s the standard definition of parenting). It all makes me feel a little inadequate. Having a judg-y mom and father in law (cause really, what do you call the grandfather of your children who happens to be the ex’s dad?) who don’t think I’m quite doing it as I should makes those feelings magnify exponentially.
I think though, I’m doing ok. This morning I woke up, checked twitter and was directed to the link of Emma Stone lip-synching to DJ Khaled. I did what any self respecting, responsible parent would do. I woke up my oldest boy, found the video on youtube and chromecasted so we could watch it together. (Is chromecasted the proper verb form?). In turn, after he was properly entertained, he shared with me America’s Got Talent’s Nick Cannon pranking the judges as a mime contestant. We shared that five minutes. I don’t think I particularly taught him a valuable life lesson or anything. I did however share time with him. I really think that’s what right parenting looks like. I won’t be there for every moment of his life, but I need to be there for enough that he knows I love him and his brother and sister. I want him to feel safe in that knowledge.
I am inadequate. We all are. Who’s bright idea was it that we were supposed to raise our own children? I make mistakes, I fail and I teach my kids my bad habits. Overall though, I think I’m doing it right. That’s enough for me.