Back to fatherhood blues

What a “wonderful” time to write this. I’ve been a terrible father today.

I completely over-ran my daughter by forcing my agenda of “teeth-brushing” on her. I was trying to help my wife, who was starting to get angry at my daughter saying that she must brush her teeth. But I suddenly reacted and picked her up, somehow I became heartless and uncaring. Just forced her to brush her teeth while she screamed for her mother. I told her that she could not go to her mumma until she finished brushing. Surprisingly, after a lot of struggle she actually started cooperating, opening her mouth and letting me brush her teeth. But she was crying right through. Then she went to her mother and started screaming “at” her. At that point I became angry again and tried to force her to “behave” herself. But by then my wife had it with the “forcing” and dragged her away from me.

The rest of the day was spent in misery, believing I was a terrible father, and wrong for my family.

What went wrong: In anger I failed to listen to my daughter, and in trying to help actually made the situation worse. It could have been better to let my wife handle the situation like she does, even if she made a mistake I could be the objective voice.

But right now I’m finding it difficult to be calm. I feel manipulated by my daughter, and just hate it when she whines/cries. I know it is a toddler way of expressing, but still, it really upsets me.

Of course it’s because right now I’m so stressed at work and just not getting enough time to get it done. I find myself unable to concentrate at work, and unable to concentrate at home.

What a wretch I am, who will rescue me from these sins of parenting?

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I give up

While trying to find a purpose for this site… I’ve experimented with cricket, life, wordpress reviews and parenting. Everything is too difficult to keep track of, especially since I have other, more engaging (for myself) blogs. As a result, I abandon the blog (but I don’t delete it because I want this name)… and hope that one day it will find a new purpose.

Over. And out.

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What’s the story so far (testimony/confessional)

…well, like I said earlier, my baby girl is a little more than seven months old… and so obviously my journey into fatherhood has been going on for a while.

The reason for this new blog direction however was reflection, and I guess, now’s as good as a time to start as any.

I never really wanted to become a father; in fact, for a while I was quite against that idea. Perhaps it was because of low self-esteem (that I would pass on negative genes to my child), or even a fear of responsibility (perhaps), or even a sense of inadequacy (can I do it), but whatever reason, I was never filled with a desire to have/raise kids.

When I married my wife, it was interesting that neither did she have that burning desire, but more so, her reaction was to the burgeoning population and the question whether we could justify adding another being into the world when so many orphans are in the world… ie. shouldn’t we adopt, if anything.

Anyway, I didn’t want to rush into parenting, nor she, so we evaded that question for about four years until God (yes, GOD!) showed us that the time was just right to have a child.

Actually, while my wife had her own transformation… I had suddenly found myself spending a lot of time with little children, and more interestingly, those little children grew comfortable with me (and vice versa). That comfort suddenly evoked a sense that fatherhood was not out of reach for me, nor something to be feared. I actually enjoyed the time I had with the children… though of course I knew that my own child would be a challenge… but somehow I found myself becoming ok and even wanting to have a child… months and weeks later… we were pregnant and there was no turning back.

My wife and I knew that we were parents the moment we conceived and we just had to learn to be better parents. My wife was working with children (professionally) in an educational/counselling set-up and so she had many ideas about children that inspired me and even challenged me about how to raise children. Through the years I had actually started practicing some of her lessons with the children I interacted with and was amazed at the results.

Hence, I knew we would be following her method, which was loosely based on “attachment parenting”. It’s a whole school of thought, that we don’t fully know or ascribe to, and yet, we knew that as God treated us, so we must treat our children… and we knew that our life and attention must focus around the needs of the child.

Our pregnancy and delivery went without too many things going wrong (praise God), and soon we had a little bundle in our midst.

I can honestly say that since that day she entered our lives, our daily life has been non-stopped filled with one thing after another… where days have merged into nights and nights into days… and I actually don’t really know how time has passed… but a lot of time and intense struggle has gone through the entire process.

I’ve walked hours with her, sung to her, fed her, calmed her… and it’s nothing compared to what my dear wife has had to do 24/7. Thankfully, we’ve a pretty secure non-competitive relationship, where we are not trying to outdo each other, or trying to complain against each other.

Right now my daughter has begun to crawl… and again I am amazed at the journey she has gone through, from struggling for survival… (infant stage)… to actually wanting to explore and grow in this world.

Ultimately, (and I’ll stop this post for now)… I am extremely awestruck (and exhausted) by this journey that I myself have been on. And I know this is just the beginning.

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Luther on Fatherhood (yes, yes, I know you’ve seen this before, but here’s the original link)

There’s this common quotation from Martin Luther (the reformer) that has been doing the rounds in and blogs and to a lesser extent sermon pulpits. It’s usually known as Luther’s views on marriage from his sermon on “The estate of marriage” (1522). For those who know Luther, know that his views of gender roles and especially the role of women, was not always the most enlightened. Obviously he was working with his cultural baggage there, and we can’t grudge him too much for that. Yet, his quote on marriage, and more particularly fatherhood, was brought to my attention by my wife. Theologically, it is quite nice, especially after you yourselves have gone through that drudgery and believe, like Luther (the erstwhile monk) knew, that it was God’s call!

Below I have excerpts from his work, especially related to fatherhood.

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “0 God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? 0 how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

Now you tell me, when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool, though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith, my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling, not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith. Those who sneer at him and see only the task but not the faith are ridiculing God with all his creatures, as the biggest fool on earth. Indeed, they are only ridiculing themselves; with all their cleverness they are nothing but devil’s fools.

Quote from Martin Luther, “The Estate of Marriage,” 1522. (Translated by Walther I. Brandt), http://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/History/teaching/protref/women/WR0913.htm

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New Blog Direction (from wordpress to cricket to fatherhood)

For a long while this blog was about wordpress themes. I would review them, and just enjoy experimenting with various wordpress facets. Then came the Cricket World Cup, and I decided to blog about cricket. But when India didn’t even make it to the second round, that was a shocker. I myself went into blog-shock and really stopped writing in the blog (of course I have other blogs, but this one was pretty much defunct). Until now.

I’ve just recently become a father (a whole seven months ago!) and while there’s been a lot happening, I think it would benefit (me at least) to pen a few thoughts, reflections I’ve been having about this fatherhood thing.

So this new blog will be about fatherhood (parenting).

I’ll also be leaning towards “attachment parenting” an idea I learned from my wife, though I’m not fully clear about it and its implications. So this blog will be a bit of a man’s journey into those waters.

This blog will also be from a Christian perspective, ie. when I say “God” I will usually mean “THE” (only) God! But this is not necessarily a Theological blog (whatever else that means!)

So this begins my journey into fatherhood blogging. I know there are million of these around already (which I also hope to get to know), but this is just my one-drop contribution in the large ocean of fatherhood-perspectives.

Alvida, for now.

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