posted on May 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm

being a father is a tough gig
i know some of you are about to be
or have recently become one…

being a man has its rewards
we dont need to go into all that here
eventually if you keep havin’ sex
you’ll probably end up being someones father
this gig comes with no duty statement
this gig is mostly improvisation from day one
the only father i can compare myself with truly is my own
in many ways my father was a superior father to most
he never drank or took drugs or got out of it, for one
he never beat the kids or his wife
he never complained or sat around analyzing the whole thing
(a la moi)
he was warm and gentle and pretty cheerful
he worked very hard to give his crew a good stand-dad of living
he wasnt a hands on type dad in many ways
he didnt change diapers or give kids baths
he didnt get you dressed or make you breakfast
he didnt read your school report and do anything
he was kinda detached i guess in some ways
why do men get detached?
its sad but true that many men
get kinda driven from their own homes by their families
heres some stuff about men i have observed
most of us dont like n eventually cant tolerate
a load of kids screaming and playing and hopping about
i know i cant
i know my dad couldnt
and most blokes i know cant either
mothers seem less irked or agitated by their offsprings racket
than the fathers
how often do you hear about someones dad
who has a “shed” where he likes to hang out?
everyone has a little laugh
oh men and their sheds…
you think men like to hang around in sheds
like as if there were empty houses n empty sheds
we would gravitate towards the sheds?
the guys are in the sheds or garages or dens
because the family have driven them there
its where its quiet
its where they can relax
away from the incessant carryings on of the kids
thats right
the kids racket can grind you down
that lovely baby you hold in your arms
will one day be runnin’ about
falling on your head
kicking you in the balls
jumping on the furniture
and demanding all kinds of things
how many many hours have i sat in a park
watching kids running around
pushing swings and kissing hurt elbows and knees
how many diapers (nappies!) have i changed
how many nights up n down with kids
how many times has my heart been in my throat
when my kids have been sick or in danger
how many times standing in a baby pool with em
how many times dropping off n picking up from school
yeah thats right
even hugely massive rockstars like me
doing all this drab stuff
for the kids
for the family
doing all this stuff youre expected to do
by society
by the mothers
by the children
out of duty and love
out of honour
a man must try and do his best
now i have not been a good father
i have not been ideal
i have been neglectful
i have been intoxicated
i have been absent
i have been selfish
i have been angry
i have constantly put myself before the children
did what i wanted or thought i needed to do
in this way my father was superior
he tended to sublimate his own needs for those of his family
although he never did many playgrounds
i guess my mother n father had unofficially delineated their gigs
she did the hands on stuff
he provided the resources and was the rock
although my mother sometimes ran the show too
these days its all mixed up
mummies bring home the bread
and daddies talk pram technology at kindy
whats wright or wrong?
how the hell would i know?
people say oh steven youre a good father
oh yeah! you should see me in full flight
swearing and cursing and using silly words
acting like my own dad did when we got him riled
you know all that
i wont have that bee-havior not in this bloody house !!!
anyway i never thought i’d be doing all that
but i do
and whatsmore i enjoy it
i realize now its a strange way to get close to that long dead dad
to imitate him
roll his words round on my lips
as i chastise these little female versions of myself
albeit much sweeter nicer than i ever was
everything goes full circle
this is natures way of provoking thought
the child is father to the man
archetypal paths we follow
my relationship at the moment with 16 year olds not good
we dont seem close at all
they seem ultra-detached from me
they seem angry and deliberately distant
i confront my many defects esp. during their childhood
and i am astounded
i mean as father i was pretty useless in many ways
i was not dependable at all
not in small ways or the big picture
they have reasons to be angry
yes thats true
they dont seem to want to talk about it either
i mean
im not real anxious to
i would tho’ if it’d help
but they dont seem to want much of anything from me
i did some checking round with other fathers of teenagers
one guy says his kid didnt talk to him for a couple of years
before coming “good”:
“i thought he hated me
he dissed me in front of his friends
he took money but wouldnt converse
then suddenly at age 19 we are best mates again
stick it out it’ll pass”
some women tell me they went through anti-father phases
in their teens
and anti-mother too
but the mothers always seem to have this other connection
maybe cos they actually carried n bore the kids
the mothers often become mediators
between grumpy oldstyle dads
and rebellious nu-style children
the mother is somehow more in the picture
she loves n understands the kids at an organic n cellular level
not so easily can she say
go and never darken my doorstep again!
fathers are more easily spooked by their kids
fathers have more trouble forgiving and forgetting
funny thing
i never met one guy who wanted to be a father
before he actually was
men dont sit around dreaming about being fathers
they answer no biological clock neither
they become fathers when the mothers decide it
and they then find out what theyre made of
most of us fall short
its a very hard n in some ways unrewarding gig
no turning back
it will also bring you joy and pleasure
there are many variables
itll be different for everyone
some more pain than joy
even differing from child to child
one kid might be your ray of sunshine
the other a dark cloud you labour under
what can you do?
maybe start thinking about that shed
big daddy out
twillies fly home tomorrow

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