Late Bloomer: Fatherhood Lessons from the film The Mule

I recently saw the film The Mule. Very good movie but what stuck out to me the most was its theme on fatherhood. The Mule follows a 90 year old, horticulturist who’as business is foreclosed on and so he begins a very profitable journey running drugs for the Cartel.

Earl is completely alone at the beginning. His granddaughter is the only member of his family that will talk to him. This was his in. His way back to his family’s good graces where they slowly began talking to him after he made the effort to connect.

What was Earl’s problem? He was a disconnected father who abandoned his family to work on his public image and the flowers he loved more than his own life.

Late Bloomer

This struggle is a human struggle and a relevant struggle for our day and age. Our society values financial growth instead of personal growth. It sends the message that its better to be soulless than poor. Please, lets fight this message together.

Fathers! it is easy to lose sight of your family because of the need to build financial wealth but take it from Earl. It isn’t worth it. You may be reading this and think “Well duh, I love my family.” I want to make the point that just loving them isn’t enough. A dad loving his family and being present is what it takes for a family to make it through. Providing too but being fully present when you are with them is key.

Don’t be a late bloomer!

A late bloomer consists of a father with the potential to be a great dad but isn’t. Instead, they wait until its too late to reconcile before putting in the effort. Even then, there’s no guarantee they will be given the chance to bloom.

It’s your life. Take control. if things are strained now, talk about it with a professional or friend or read about how you can make a difference in your own journey of being dad.

The Love of My Life and the Pain of My Life

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At one point in the movie, Earl is having an intimate conversation with his ex-wife. She is forgiving him for not being there for years during their marriage since he is here now in her time of need. Her quote “You are the love of my life and the pain of my life.”

A goal for a family is to be flexible with one another and to teach and to learn from each person. Also, the love should be shared and plentiful. We are to teach our kids valuable life skills so that they can flourish out in the world without the need for us in their daily life.

There is no time to be the pain in your family’s life. It ruins its structure and even when it feels like it is impossible to change, it isn’t. I’m here to tell you there’s another way to be.

It’s up to you to avoid being the pain and turmoil in your family’s life if you find yourself in this position now. Take a moment to honestly reflect how your family feels about you. If there are concerns now know that they wont dissipate without you intervening.

If you would like to find a new way, I’m here to help. Email me if I could be a resource to you. My info is below.

Dad Enthusiast, Dad Therapist Ryan Plasch would love to be of service to you.  He can be contacted at or by clicking here.

Daddy Brain: Life Changes for Fathers

Being a father is a wonderful thing. Its special. You get to watch little beings grow from small to big all while they soak up everything that is you. For instance, if you loved certain cartoons, such as the classic The Land Before Time, chances are… they will love it too. And then ask you to watch it when you just want alone time but they say it so cutely you cave in. Then you can only find #14 in the series on Netflix which is your first time seeing it too because you’re old now. Anyway, in summary, being a father is a smashing good time. But you can be kept from enjoying it.

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I want to raise awareness to the fact that having kids and becoming a dad changes things which most people already know. What isn’t well known is what the hell are those changes everyone is talking about?!

Change 1: Your relationship with your beloved changes

You can be dad of the year but your relationship will still change with your wife. There’s less time for each other which equals more time to drift away. That’s hard. You love that person but so often is the case that there is some dreary distance simmering in between. I’m not saying anything like its hopeless but be aware. Assess! If there are problems after kids don’t take the mindset that they will go away on their own. It will be harder to reconnect when that itsy teeny baby becomes the mighty window smashing destroyer that is a toddler and is more independent.

Change 2: Your friendships go through a transition

Friends are cool. You need them. Don’t ever think you don’t. However, many dads feel lonely after becoming one. Friends without kids are still fun but they’re going to have so much more energy than you are. Plus they have more time. Not fair but it is. There’s a lot of joy to be had with the kiddos you are raising.

Friends are important. Work on maintaining a balance between those outside of the family and your family. Friendships can drift away. If they’re important to you and THEY SUPPORT YOUR NEW LIFESTYLE (ahem, very important) have open conversations with the wife and older kids that you need some time away but that you are also planning to do something with the family the next day or the next week. Also, get out there and meet some dads, okay? They know things that you don’t and they are often in the same lonely drifting boat.

Change 3:  Daddy Brain

Think about this from a science fiction perspective. Did you see The Matrix? Did Neo start out as The One? No, he did not. He was a clueless drone. Its hard to know these things. I often explain to dads that their mind and personality are going through an evolution. And oh my gosh are their growing pains with this!!! First, have faith in yourself that you will make it through. Second, watch yourself. Big transitions are worth it but we don’t all end up okay through them. If you are not okay. Be responsible! Talk to somebody. Yes, men do talk. I am living proof of that.

Daddy brain is great. You will learn to effectively play video games while your newborn sleeps on you in a baby carrier. You will say yes to pets you don’t want to have and be okay with it. Your temper will lower given time (which you’ll have to work at) after daddy brain sets in and tells you that a 5 year old cannot multitask. And daddy brain will reason that once something enters your child’s mind, the important thing they were doing (like getting dressed because you have to go work)… leaves their brain. I’m frustrated just thinking about it. I’m probably tired. Go figure. Your mind goes through rapid changes when you become a dad. Embrace them and assess!

Important Caveat: Postpartum Depression

1 in 10 men will meet criteria for postpartum depression (Flyer from Postpartum Support Minnesota). That’s a lot! So many go without ever being diagnosed. Mental illness is not a weakness and there is treatment. Please watch for it in your spouse and watch for it in yourself. Reach out if you feel strange months into being a dad. I’ll tell you what! Call me, during business hours please, to consult. Let me be a resource to you.

There are more changes than this but these are the ones you should start reflecting on. Fatherhood is great and enjoyable. If something feels wrong do the manly thing and talk.