I Absolutely Love Being a Father

Sometimes, our lives get busy, and we tend to overlook things.  We get into a rhythm and things get done more from rote memory than conscious decision.  This doesn’t mean that those things aren’t important, or wonderful they are just easy to not give much thought to.  Then a curveball comes through, and we are snapped back into the reality of our lives.

Thursday morning before my son or I woke up, my wife left to fly back up to Massachusetts for one of her best friends’ baby shower, and so I have been on sole parenting duty for two and a half days.  I knew for months that it was coming, but I’ve never gone so long without a pair of helping hands with him (14-15 hours max probably) and so I was a little nervous.  Would he sleep well, I had to work Thursday and Friday and needed to get some rest, and so as a pessimist I had all the possible negatives run through my head.

None happened.  The last two days have been the best I’ve had with him at least since I went back to work.  We’ve played, and had pizza, and he’s slept great, and got himself stuck in numerous large toys.  It hasn’t been without him crying, and there have been all the lesser quality everyday baby things (i.e. Diapers) but it’s been a blast.

It reminded me that I love being a father, and I really needed to be reminded!  The thing with a lot of things in our lives, is that the repetition makes us forget, and with things like fatherhood, it’s easy to forget.  I never forget that I love my son, when I look at him, I feel it instantly but that is a different feeling than loving being a father.  And I’ll be honest, I may only love being HIS father, maybe it’s just he’s the perfect kid for me and I’d love it less with another kid, but I love being his father, and for right now that means I love being A father.

This experience has made me realize that when things get busier in our lives, if my wife needs to go take care of things, I can definitely step up.  I think I could definitely do a longer stretch of time, and that it would only make me happier.

These several days away from wife, also made me realize that I love being a husband, in addition to loving her.  I love that I can hold down the fort so she can do the things she needs to, and so she can get a little bit of a rest.

(Now just in case I made it sound like I don’t do much on a normal basis, that’s not really the case.  I change diapers and get up at night regularly, and I think my wife and I are split close to down the middle. Also I realize that getting pizza and not cooking probably sounds much easier than many parenting situations and I don’t for a second think this is as hard as being a single parent.)

The Man Your Father Is (Rejected Short Story)

This is a short story I submitted to a humor site (which will remain unnamed) and it was rejected.  I don’t really know of any other sites that publish pieces in this style so I decided to put it up here.
Dear Harold,
I know that you wanted to go to the park today, but we had to go to Lowes instead. I thought you would have been happy about it, I put you in the shopping cart with the little steering wheel so that you could pretend that you were driving— that steering wheel looks just as much fun as watching you sit in the swing at the park with your head and arms all floppy. But I guess—just like your mother— nothing I do for you is good enough.

Speaking of Mom, she’s the real reason we had to go to Lowes in the first place. She likes her paintings to be hung on the wall, and her closet to be ‘organized.’ I have to do these little projects, and go buy her flowers—ones that I’m allergic to by the way— in order to keep her. Don’t worry, this is just to keep her with me, I’m pretty sure if she ever leaves me she’ll take you.

Here’s the deal Harry, I know I complain about her a lot, but I don’t exactly have many options, and for some reason she thought I was good enough for her. I can’t go back to before her, I was a bit creepy and weird, and when you’re a married man with a baby, all those creepy and weird traits, and lame-jokes become quaint. It’s like how if someone’s old enough they can get away with slight forms of racism and we all just shrug it off.

So I do what I can to keep Mom around. First we had you, and you’re doing a great job, because you look like me, and yet she’s incredibly attached to you. Second I do things for her, most women tell her how great or romantic I am when she talks about how I built her a set of shelves, or made her an adorable photo-album. This is great because if she thinks about leaving me, other women won’t necessarily encourage that.  

You’re probably wondering why I worry about her leaving, right? I don’t do anything too bad to your her, I’m not a monster, but I’m nothing special either. It’s not false-modesty, I have a lumpy face (you seem to have got that from me too, but it works at your age), I’m overweight, and I’m not particularly smart or charming, being unemployed certainly doesn’t help. Worst of all, I’m not very talented at… um… anyway, the reason I have you is more a matter of fool-proof design than prowess. If I had to do anything with any skill level what-so-ever, you wouldn’t even be around.

If you’re lucky, when you grow up you’ll be handsome, intelligent, and have a big… erm… appeal—don’t count on inheriting those genes— but what I have has done well for me. I have determination, basic life skills, and a complete lack of pride. These traits will do you no good in wooing a woman in the first place, (to this day I have no idea how I managed that part) but once you’ve managed to convince her that you’re worthy, you just have to work yourself to death before she realizes her mistake.

I know you think that you’re cute, and you won’t need to travel the road I have. Unfortunately, this cute thing, it isn’t going to last. I was cute too, but once you’ve had a couple of birthdays, it’ll go away. It starts with the perpetual snot at the end of your nose, and continues even after you learn basic hygiene.

Don’t worry son, I’ll teach you how to pick flowers, and how to do basic handy-man stuff, and how to select songs for a mixed-tape (retro is romantic), and whatever other basic skills you’ll need in order to be successful when a woman settles for you!

Anyway, at some point, doing things for you will count towards making me look good, but right now, if I bring you to the park and we have a great time, Mom won’t know because she doesn’t speak your gibberish, and God-forbid you get injured, she’ll assume it’s my fault, and you won’t be able to defend me. So, for now, we’re stuck going to the boring wastelands that are home-improvement stores. I love you more, but I’m not as worried about keeping you around.
Love,

Dad

Crawl On Through

Sometimes, my son crawls forward while crying.  It is very interesting to me, because it looks so unnatural.  He’ll crawl through a row of chairs, or behind something, and he doesn’t stop, he just goes through it as he cries.

To be honest, I hope that he continues this for the rest of his life.  I have always thought that one of my biggest problems is that I when someone or something stops me, I give up to easy.  But not my one-year-old (that’s the first time I’ve referred to him as that and it’s fucking weird), he just powers through it, no matter how difficult or miserable he is.

He gets himself stuck behind things, and I often find him having trapped himself in places, and it pisses him off, and it scares him, but it never deters him.  I cannot imagine having that type of persistence.

It is amazing how difficult it can be to distract from something that he wants as well.  If he wants the remotes to the TV, or something that I’m eating, there is no distracting him.  It doesn’t matter if I turn on the TV to something he likes, or if I activate one of his toys, he will make his little grunts as he reaches for whatever I am keeping from him, and eventually he’ll just start crying in anger.

My life is pretty good in a lot of ways, but if I could be more like him, I am pretty sure that I would have a lot more success and satisfaction in life.  Luckily, a bit part of my satisfaction in life is based on his happiness, and success (I define success as being a combination of happy, healthy, and a good person overall—if you have those three things going what else do you need?), and it appears as if I don’t have much to worry about in that department.

He’s one, and I know that expecting this attitude to continue for any significant amount of time is unlikely, but I hope he does, and for the moment I’m inspired to follow in his footsteps.

(I do try not to get too cliche in talking about him, not wanting non-parent readers to shut off when they hear “when you’re a parent everything changes…” but here are two things about that, first; there is a reason why cliches are cliches, and secondly; I wasn’t too impressed with life before he came into mine, so if you don’t have kids and you are happy, don’t listen to anything a parent is telling you.)

Time Management as a Writer

When it comes to be a writer, time management can be a very important factor towards your success.  Now, if you’re already a professional writer, who is making your living off of writing, there is a good chance that much of this will not apply to you, but for those of us who are not yet making a living as writers I think it’s essential.

So, let me tell you about my own schedule, and explain where the difficulty lies.  As you probably know if you’ve read past posts, I am currently unemployed (got laid off in November), and I stay at home with my son—this dictates my schedule almost entirely— I’m currently working on getting a job, I’m trying to do this—the blogging, and portfolio building—in order to be able to self market (and I really enjoy it), and lastly I’m trying to complete my first novel and work on other short stories.  This has all been while my landlord has been trying to sell my condo and so I had to leave nearly every day —during Logan’s nap time— for a stretch of a week or two, and having to deal with packing and all of the other stress that surrounds an upcoming move.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think that I’ve written anything on my novel—or done any editing/rewriting or anything else—in over a month.  There is a combination of a couple of causes for this I’m not sure what to do next in the story (despite having written an outline ahead of time), but also time.  It is very difficult for me to find an uninterrupted time to write.  It is difficult after all the time that has passed to get back into a 130 pages of writing in a matter of a couple of minutes.  This problem is temporary; Logan’s schedule and independence level have shifted several times in the five months that I’ve been unemployed, and honestly stepping away from something I’ve written for months isn’t out of the ordinary.

So here is what I have started to do in order to best manage my time.  I try to get at least an hour of interrupted writing time a day (that’s how I write these posts), while Logan is in his high chair or otherwise occupied.  If he naps (which is beginning to be less often) I work on job applications because I need to be interrupted as little as possible with those. As for my additional writing, I haven’t touched my novel in a month, but I have started some outlines, and worked on some short stories, if I’m particularly pleased with a short story, I do submit it for publication in other places (this is part of why short stories are added on this site so infrequently).

In addition to time management, perspective is important!  In this case, I realize that my time management at the moment is not nearly what I want it to be, but I also know that things will change as Logan changes, once I move, and once I start working again. You may be thinking that working again may impact my time negatively, and you might be right, but in the past, it has been my experience that if I get to work fifteen minutes or so early, I have time to read or write a little bit, and I’ve been able to maximize this time.  So, I’m optimistic.

It really does come down to finding a little slice of time to write, and that is really all you can do as an amateur or part-time writer.

(I should mention that in the writing of this post alone, I got up to help Logan at least twenty times.  Just to give you a little perspective.)