Doubt fueled parenting

Do you think all men are capable of being great Fathers?

Like any job, there’s a required skill set  The question is, does it come naturally or do we require development?

In terms of experience, I am well and truly a rookie. But with only two children and two and half years experience, I feel better place than many. I’ve been blessed with two great role models. The first is own father, a man seemingly without fault. The second, God. One, truly without fault.

Despite this, I’ve had moments, some as recently as this morning  where I doubt my ability to be a father. I know doubt is natural, but it still makes my stomach turn.

Fatherhood is hard enough, let alone with added stress.

dadMy Dad’s strength came from his marriage. Sure, my mother and him had fights, but they were always calm and rarely in front of us kids. When we squabbled  they were always on the same side, the same can be said of when discipline was dished out. They were a team.

Above all, we always felt loved. It wasn’t always physically shown or verbally expressed for that matter. It was however, always felt. I guess that’s the best illustration I can give of both, their parenting, and the power of love.

My point being, I’ve always believed my Dad was purposefully created to be a father. Myself, on the other hand … I’m not so sure.

Parenting will, no if’s or maybe’s, be stressful. You will worry and if you’re anything like me, you’ll doubt your own ability.

Take hold of this doubt and use it as your fuel, driving yourself to be the best parent possible.

You are not paid financially for it, but being a parent is a job. One you cannot quit, avoid or run away from. The question is, would you retain your role if you had to re apply?

Think about it. Your children could be on the selection panel. They’d scrutinise your every move  you character traits, the way you teach and, you guessed it, your discipline techniques. Are you the best role model for your children?

I love to say I’d be a shoe in to retain my role, but I’d be lying if I didn’t share my doubt.

If you too, are nervous about re applying for your role as a parent, take your doubt as a sign that you care. You understand the importance of your role and care deeply for how you do it. We all have faults and we will all make mistakes, but life, like parenting, is about how we use our strengths to recover and learn from our failures.

The re application process will take place at the end of the month. Treat every day until then like an interview, only the best will keep their jobs.

If you’re not a little nervous or have 100% confidence in your ability … please, share your secrets!

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Failure and success, it’s a matter of focus.

A Toy Story DVD, a toddler bike seat, aioli and a loaf of sourdough. Simple right? 

What started with a seemingly simple shopping list nearly ended in tears. Ok, so it wasn’t just your average shopping trip. For starters shopping with a two year old is never as easy than shopping alone, but the tears weren’t hers.

With the boxing day sales still in full swing, we spent five minutes circling for a space then another five minutes making our way from that space to the shops, ten minutes taking two year old sized paces from one end of the centre to the other only to told the major DVD stockists had no Toy Story DVD’s in stock.

Toy Story is my daughters favourite movie, she’s only seen it once, yet she’s obsessed. She speaks of Woody and Buzz like lifelong friends and both are amongst the most requested images to be drawn on the blackboard.

Fail.

Ten minutes back to the other end of the centre, this time carrying, my now leg weary two year old daughter. With no DVD, we were in search of the toddler seat. A toddler seat, I had been talking to my daughter about for weeks. Admittedly, I was more excited about going riding together than she was but you can still imagine her reaction when told, “their’s no seats  here”.

Being a large chain department store, I was sure this store was not going to fail me, they had a DVD section.

We searched for what felt like hours through mounds and mounds of DVD’s. In reality it was about fifteen minutes and a couple of display boxes but lets not ruin the story. Regardless, our search bared no fruit.

No toddler seat or Toy Story DVD.

Fail.

My patience was wearing thin, yet surprisingly, my daughters was in good spirits. Playfully throwing her hands in the air, “no toy, no chair … ha ha ha”.

Aioli and sourdough,  … you will not defeat me.

We climbed the stairs to the supermarket. My tired child in my arms, beads of sweat now forming on my forehead (I swear the major retailers are cutting back on costs and switching the A/C off), but confident of achieving the least of my objectives for the day.

Aioli, check. Unfortunatley, with it came a request.

“Me carry basket Daddy”

“Sure, no worries sweetie” I replied. A natural answer of a Dad who’s both, feeling as if he’s failing his daughter and who thinks he’ll simply take one handle of the basket.

She had other ideas. “No help me … Daddy”

So, we continued. Snails passed us, we moved so slow. The basket cam up past her waist, she was dragging it more than carrying it, yet her reply remained the same to each attempt. “No help me!”

Headed down aisle seven to the bakery, we passed the rice crackers. A smile appeared on my face, she loves rice crackers. This will make the trip a success, I thought as I let her choose the flavour.

“I want bickies”. This is all I heard as she painstakingly dragged the basket at sub-snail pace to the bakery.

We arrived at the bakery section five minutes, that felt like forty, later.

“Sorry, no sourdough, no vienna, no pana di casa…”

Fail.

Entirely frustrated and what may has well been, entirely empty handed, we made our way to the car. With a short stop for tears on level three after a dropped cracker and another because of spilt water, we made it.

I could have broken down and sobbed, hunched over the steering wheel, but … a car was honking it’s horn. Obviously in a hurry for my spot. And how can I blame them, it’s only a five minute walk up and down stairs!

The exit to the carpark is a rather ordinary ramp, no big deal to most, but to my daughter, amazing.

“Weeeeee…” she shouted, he smile lighting up the revision mirror.

On the verge of tears, context couldn’t have come soon enough.

Success.

I was focussed on what I wanted to achieve. Yes, two of my three objectives were focussed on the happiness of my child but they were still that, objectives.

We spend to much time trying to control our lives, I fear we forget to enjoy them. Relish the time you spend riding up and down the escalators, cherish the amazing reflections you see in post Christmas baubles still hanging in the shops and never ever, ever, fail to admire the smile of a child.

“Did you have fun sweetie” I asked looking back in the mirror.

“Yes Daddy” she replied, adding claps for extra effect.

While I was focussed on my failure, she was content being with Dad. I think we can all learn something from the kids in our life.

SENSE