I don’t think I’ll look very good with grey hair. Unfortunately, at this rate it’s not going to take me long to find out.
I only have one kid, I only have one job, I only have one wife (or do I?), so you might be tempted to break out the world’s smallest violin while you’re reading this, because God knows I’ve got nothing on a lot of other people out there. But man, have I been stressed out lately!
I’ve been stressed before. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve been unemployed and staring at a positive pregnancy test. I’ve been overworked and I’ve been underpaid. I’ve had my share of personal problems to deal with and, like everyone else, I’ve struggled through some rough times. But until recently I never had a kid at home to put a terrifying exclamation point on my life.
Don’t get me wrong, he brings me far more happiness than agita – after all, he’s not even old enough to talk yet, let alone talk back – but he’s a bit of a double-edged sword. He makes everything clearer and it brightens my day just to interact with him, just knowing he’s waiting for me at home when I finally get there at the end of a long day at work. But he also puts a fine point on exactly why I can’t really bitch about those long days at work, and why I have to actually be thankful I have those long days at work.
He makes everything more important, and that means everything; having him around makes the good stuff I used to take for granted even better, and he makes the bad stuff – the stuff I was already stressed about – even more stressful.
I’m gonna be late at work? I WON’T GET TO SEE MY SON AND HE’LL GROW UP A CRIMINAL WITHOUT HIS FATHER AROUND! I got in a fight with my wife? SHE’S GOING TO DIVORCE ME AND I’LL NEVER GET TO SEE MY SON AND HE’LL GROW UP A PERVERT WITHOUT HIS FATHER AROUND! There are layoffs at work? I’M GOING TO LOSE MY JOB AND MY SON WON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AND HE’LL JOIN A FAMILY OF GYPSIES AND MAKE A LIVING CONNING PEOPLE OR INSTEAD MY WIFE WILL DIVORCE ME AND REMARRY SOME GUY WHO LIKES THE JETS! NOOOO!!!!!!! I’D PREFER HE JOIN THE GYPSIES!!!
Worrying about my son’s well-being means worrying about a million other things – things that used to seem a lot less important. Fantasy football? Not something I can afford to lose; baby needs diapers. Cable box not working? This can’t happen; we have limited windows within which to watch favorite shows! Stain on my shirt? Is that puke? It smells like puke. Oh my god it’s puke. I HAVE A BUSINESS MEETING!
Thinking about the chain reactions associated with even the smallest sources of stress, the ways they tie back to my son – that’s what keeps me awake at night.
Well, that and his screaming. Will the teething never end? And please, kid, put down my blackberry! I hate it but I need it but I hate it but don’t you dare break it! I’m sorry I yelled at you! Now get my blackberry out of your mouth!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/DadandBuried-headshot.jpg[/author_image]
[author_info]About the Author
A new father coping with the shocking lows and intermittent highs (or is it the opposite?) of parenthood, regular Prime Parents’ Club contributor Dad and Buried can be found raging against the dying of his social life at www.DadandBuried.com.