The Role of a Father: On the Fringe of Usefulness

It can be hard at times knowing exactly what your role is as a Dad.

In those early years the baby is all about Mommy!

She is the one that he runs to when he is hungry, and when he hurts himself and needs comfort…. Well he pretty much runs to her for everything! When she leaves the room without him, panic mode! When she comes back he lights up every time.

It is easy to start to feel left out sometimes. The fact that he continues to breastfeed reinforces this closed circle that I cannot be a part of. 

I feel like I am the one chasing him for attention, and when he ignores me or brushes me off it is hard not to feel slided. Even if I know that he does not understand this at all. 

Applying adult judgments to child behaviour doesn't really make sense, but its a natural internal reaction. 

I can only imagine how taxing this must be on Mom to have this relentless thirst for milk – and attention – circling around her 24 hours a day. But I feel like I don’t have much to offer to break this cycle.

There was one occasion when the tables turned.

We were on a plane that hit some turbulence and the little guy became visibly unsettled and was battling to get out of his seatbelt. As soon as he was free of it he launch from Mom’s lap onto mine, and hugged my tightly.

This was the first time that I ever felt like the go to guy in his mind.

So I guess in times of crisis he will run to Daddy.

Lucky for him these scary moments are few and far in between. I do not wish for more crises, but I do want to be the one he runs to more often.

At least he is a boy so he likes to play rough. He knows that Mommy will not reciprocate this as much as I. So I can at least contribute a bit more in the short bursts of energy running around the house.

He grows tired of this quickly though most of the time. It does not give Mom much of a break either and she spends the whole time worrying that he will get hurt, and that I will go too far…. Which has been known to happen.

As he grows older I know that I will grow in significance. He is going to want to go to the football, or the cricket (yes, we are in Australia ) and I will be the go to guy for that at least. 

When the shoe is on the other foot I will need to make sure that Mom is not the one left out. Unless it is by choice – she may be utterly exhausted by the time this happens and could be grateful for some respite.

I may be equally as clueless on how to do this, as she is now.

We can try, but on some level we are confined to the roles that he wants us to play. How this evolves over time will be up to him. As long as he knows that we are both there for him no matter what then I guess we just have to leave the rest up to him.