A Father’s Whine

October 6, 2009

I’m busy.

I know, I know. Oh, poor guy. He’s so tired. He’s so busy. He’s got so many important things going on. Waaah. Yes, I feel like a loser complaining about my lack of time. Yes, I feel like a super-powered loser even mentioning my feelings of fatigue and weariness to my wife, the full-time, do-all, supermom. Yes, maybe I’m missing some integral, yet closely guarded, secret to successful fatherhood. Hey, whatever. I just know I’m tired, I don’t have much free time, and my days are melding together like raindrops running down a windshield.

A friend wrote a blog post this week in which he regaled his readers with the incredible story of his ascent into running. He typed out 1,300 words on how he got started, what the training was like, what his thoughts were heading into the race, and even the joy of sharing the accomplishment with his wife. Seriously, it’s a great read whether you like running or not. Take a minute to go read it. Go on. I’ll wait.

What struck me here is that my friend took the time to not only train for a stinking marathon, but that he took the time to describe it in such magnificent detail. He’s a writer, and he writes with excellence. I remember a time when I did, too. But now those days are falling behind, lost in a maze of baby toys, pack-n-plays, dirty diapers, and applesauce-stained ceiling disasters.

How is it that having a baby immediately reduces the hours in your day? Weekends completely vanish for us now. By the time everyone is up, showered, fed, dressed, and ready to go, two-thirds of the day is already gone! Maryalice and I have been early risers our entire married life, but no matter how early we get up these days, the hours just get away from us. I remember once, when I was much younger and, frankly, stupid, I wondered what stay-at-home moms did all day. What a moron. I’m home on weeknights and weekends, and I’m beat. I can’t imagine what my amazing wife must feel being on duty nonstop, 24/7.

Anything new I want to do now requires me to stay up later or get up earlier. The problem is, I’m already up at 4:15am every day! My bedtime and wake time are racing toward each other in some freakish game of chicken. However, there’s no winner in this race; there’s just a tragic crash in the middle.

Wake. Exercise. Shower. Traffic. Work. Traffic. Play with baby. Sit mindlessly on the sofa for an hour. Go to bed. Repeat. I feel like so much is going on around me, but I’m too focused on other things to notice, let alone participate. What a whiner, right? Poor me, the guy with the incredible marriage, amazing daughter, dream job, and great friends. So, of course we need to add in a hearty dose of guilt for feeling so tired and ungrateful. What a mess.

I’m a daddy now. I knew my life would change radically from the quiet, orderly life I once enjoyed. And the truth is, I absolutely LOVE my life. I could not be more excited about my family or more grateful to God for these ridiculous blessings. I suppose that’s what bugs me so much about this sense of weariness. Is it even possible to be blessed to the point of physical exhaustion?

Now is the season in my life where I must learn to say no. No, I may not be able to work out six days a week. No, I may not be able to update this blog a few times a week. No, I can’t do as much freelance writing as I used to. No, I can’t sleep late and no, I can’t stay up late. I’ve got to find the balance between what I have to do, what I want to do, what I need to do, and what I love doing. It’s tough saying no to things I want to do, places I want to go, and stuff I want to buy.

I suppose that’s what the Bible means when it says we are called to put away childish things. I’ve been a child. I’ve enjoyed childish things. Truth be told, I still do fairly often, and that’s okay. But the bottom line is that this is Abby’s time to be a child.  She deserves a father who will make the time for her to be childish, who will provide the kind of home where she can rejoice in her childish ways and infant bliss.

May God forgive this father’s whine. And may He continue to pour out more and more blessings to make me whine all the more.