Resentful of Being a Dad

Our lives changed dramatically. We wanted to be good parents, so we poured into our kids. We were attentive and affectionate, and still are. But those early years demanded a lot of our energy. It was hard.

There were moments I got angry, sad, and resentful. Generally my feelings were positive toward my family. I loved being a parent. I felt really lucky. I loved my kids to the moon and back, and so I’d feel guilty for allowing feelings of resentment to creep up.

Before kids, my wife and I had freedom. That’s what it felt like. Before kids we had more connection, more time together.

Now we had responsibility and lots of demands on our time and energy.

I didn’t really know it at the time, but there was a part of me that resented this new reality. Maybe I even resented my kids for occupying my wife so much. Maybe I resented my wife for prioritizing kids.

It was hard… hard to feel those feelings and hard to communicate them because of the nature of the situation. Kids obviously need care and attention. Their needs and development ranked above my needs. As for my wife, she had been through pregnancy, delivery, healing and breastfeeding.

So, I couldn’t mention to her how I was feeling. How could I, with all that she’d been through. Didn’t I just have to suck it up?

But bottling it up didn’t really help.

My emotions would come out unexpectedly and ineffectively. I could be passive aggressive, agressive agressive, withdrawn…

Ignoring emotions is not a good idea I have found out. I didn’t think my emotions as a man and Dad were valid. I didn’t think I deserved to have them. So, I tried to push them down, even shame myself for having them.

But it’s not a good idea.

Emotions that get pushed down and invalidated contribute more and more to the pain being experienced. Not recognizing your own feelings is the ultimate abandonment.

Emotions that get pushed down eventually go rogue. They intensify and pop up at unexpected times. Unpredictable anger and little kids don’t mix well.

So. Know this: It is okay to have challenging emotions. It is not some kind of competition where only the most hard done by gets to express themself.

You are allowed to simultaneously recognize and validate both your partner’s emotions and your own too. It’s not one or the other.

The bonus is: that learning how to do this made me a better dad. I became more mature, tactful, empathetic, and better able to meet the needs of my family… and my own needs.

You are allowed to feel!!

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