Life Change

The Good, The Bad, and The Dad: Pressures from Dadhood

Dad’s have it so easy. Actually they don’t. Dad pressures seep in relatively quickly once the big status change hits home. What are these pressures? Well, that’s not easily summed up in a post. But I would like to review 2 of them to get the ball rolling and get you thinking on how to improve.

Pressure 1: 2 Full Time Jobs

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I commonly hear about the work pressure issues that occur. I hear dads everywhere make the mistake, including this dad writing this blog at one point, “Well honey, I’ve got to go make the money. Good luck with the house.” “If someone doesn’t make the money, Who’s going to?” Or if its a dual income home, “Well I’m dad, not mom. They want mom.”

Bubble burst right here. While your thinking process makes some sense. It still isn’t fair. Imagine going to work and never leaving. Imagine having a bed at where you work that you would sleep in and get out to start work in the morning. Or, for dual income houses, imagine going to work in the morning and then going to work at another job. 1 job is 5 days a week and the other job is 7 days a week.

THE GOOD

Parenting is like another job but its very different one. And just because it is compared to another job doesn’t mean it is horrible or it is a job you don’t like! I use this comparison to easily explain how it is seen in the eyes of your spouse. This then signifies why being a present father is so important. Many dads are proud of their family. It is important the family is shown this through action not word. Well word too, but mostly action

That right there is the pressure! How do you manage your workload and still be a present father in your family? That’s loaded but I have faith in you to ponder this and think about ways to improve. If you get stuck. Shoot me an email at ryan@marriagegeek.com.

Pressure 2: Where’s the Sex?

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Sex gets complicated after child #1 pops out. What a bummer BUT! not all hope is lost. I assure you, it isn’t. I also want to point out the fact that you’re not just craving sex so stop thinking that way. Its more complex than that.

Sex is definitely part of it but when children are in the mix of your love life, it will likely decrease for awhile. Lets look at why first. Chances are Mom is stressed, Mom is fed-up, Mom is touched-out, Mom has had it, Mom wants everyone to leave her alone, Mom is tired. Also, breastfeeding has been associated with lower sex drive with women. Thanks a lot breastfeeding (its beneficial though).

I’m here to tell you that adjustment time is needed and intimacy is what you are craving more than sex. Its just we are flooded with sexuality from the media, our guy friends talk about it, and it is constantly on a dad’s mind. But you miss your wife and sex is harder to come by for an insurmountable amount of reasons like how long it takes to put the kid to bed. *Siren Blows* You’ve been blocked. Good night.

THE GOOD

Most men go into nagging mode or they go into withdraw mode and don’t talk about their feelings. Both are wrong. You want intimacy and/or sex from your wife? You’re going to need to understand what’s going on. And how do you understand it? By being a present father and husband in your family. Being emotionally available, being patient, and again talking talking talking. Its okay to have your feelings. That being said, your actions are what counts!

Don’t Nag, Don’t withdraw, fight the urge and seek connection. Be helpful and play peek a boo with your kid. Makes sense or starting to make sense? Good. Need help with this? Then reach out. I’m happy to talk.

Dad enthusiast, Dad therapist Ryan Plasch wants to be your everything dad related handbook. Contact him at ryan@marriagegeek.com

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. www.marriagegeek.com/ryan

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.