As a fairly new father, I always like the idea of feeling like I was in control of the things around me. It helped me feel less overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities of fatherhood. When my baby girl first came into this world, I felt a sense of pride and confidence unlike anything that can be written on paper. But as the weeks have started to turn to months, that confidence has slowly began to deteriorate.
Over the last several weeks, my five month old has formed an even tighter bond with her mother. Nothing soothes her except being in her arms. And because we decided to take the breastfeeding route, it has left my wife with little time for any rest. As a result, all the long nights have caused her to become very tired, irritable, and even sick. Which makes me feel as if I’m not doing enough to help her, even though I am doing as much as I possibly know how.
To further complicate the situation, we are barely making it by on my current income. This has forced me into working overtime in order to pay the bills, which, in turn, gives my wife even less of a chance at a break. It might, at least, have been a little bit easier on me if I worked from an office. But currently I’m a remote employee and work from home. And having to see and hear my wife’s daily frustrations hurts me more than I can say.
So as soon as I possibly can clock out, I try to attend to my wife’s every need, which most of the time involves bath time, diaper duty, or simply playing with the baby. This too has started to cause problems. With my wife exhausted and me babysitting, it has left both the house and yard in disarray. Don’t get me wrong, both me and my wife somehow always find time to get some things done either while the baby is asleep or in tow. But you never get as much done as you would like to. And I have had to completely forget about yard work.
And just when you would think it couldn’t get any worse, the rest of the world begins to judge your character as a father, by the state of your wife and your home. And because I work from home all the time, it must mean that I’m a lazy bum who needs to quit messing around all day and actually get something accomplished to help my wife.
At this point my confidence is in shambles. My marriage relationship, my work ethics, and even my attitude towards others have all been effected negatively. It has left me frustrated and depressed with the lack of control I thought I had; I’m angry and hurt (mostly hurt) at the way I’m being judge by others.
Even with all this extra baggage, I love and care for my family way too much to just walk away, but at the same time I can’t ignore my feelings either. Where have I gone wrong? Did I decide to have children too soon? Should I have waited until we were more financially stable? Am I the only father who has started feeling very inadequate with his new role? There are a lot of unanswered questions. I don’t really expect there to be an exact answer to any of them. All I can do is try my best with what I know and learn as much as I can along the way.