Facing "dadlash"

jdbruewer's picture

I don't want to abandon my wife and kids ... for very long.

But I could use a break.

The usual pressures of family life have been stepped up a notch in our home. I've been working odder hours than normal to be around when needed, stepping up my efforts to help with daily cleaning, and putting aside a lot of my interests to be there for my wife and daughters.

I'm glad to help and be there for them. That's what a dad does. But I'm not too proud to admit that it is hard. Like any above and beyond effort, it is not sustainable. And the pressures that make my family need me often make them not available to support me.

The me I used to be would simply pitch a fit over some minor issue, exaggerating the offense to the point I would get some sympathy, but my family doesn't need that type of drama right now.

My wife tends to want our girls around her everywhere we go, even though she laments the sacrifices made to be with them. I for one would like to take a long trip without the girls and be able to truly relax. I'd prefer to take that trip with my wife, but I'd be happy to go solo.

I'm sure the solution can be reached once my wife and I have some time to sit down and talk. There hasn't been time for that for a couple weeks, but I believe we're going to have to make time soon.

This feeling's not new to me. I'm not sure if it happens to everyone, but for me it took about five years to experience "dadlash," that moment where resentment and fatigue encroach on the pride and excitement of being a dad.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and am proud to be their father, it's just that, once in a while, I don't want to go home and be climbed on and clung to while I change out of my work clothes. I don't want to referee a fight over toys and I don't find my kids to be cute.

When I first read this article about a mom abandoning her family, I thought she was a awful person. But I'm beginnig to see the wisdom in stepping away (at least for a little bit) to be able to be there more fully for your family.

I believe the answer, as with so many things in life, is balance. You can't give something all the time without it running out. You have to take time to replenish. As I tell my girls, you have to rest to be strong and have energy. My problem has been taking that rest without feeling guilty.

I think I'll have some time for that rest around August.