One of the joys of giving up on retirement is preparing for upcoming job interviews. Myself, from 1999 to 2012 when she worked at the bank, he probably had over 300 interviews.
One of my favorite interview questions is to ask candidates what blind spots they eventually discovered and how they discovered them. The purpose of the questions is to see if the candidate has enough self-awareness and humility to be a good colleague.
Since my son was born in 2017 and my daughter was born in 2019, my life has been dominated by being a father, but now that I’ve realized my own blind spot, I want to share it. Perhaps some fathers who think they are doing well have these blind spots.
The purpose of this post is to help fathers bring their actions closer to their beliefs. Additionally, recognizing these blind spots can help fathers build better relationships with their partners.
spend quality time with children
At a very basic level, I believe there is a positive correlation between quality of fatherhood and time. In general, the more time a father spends with his children, the better he is as a father, and vice versa.
Of course, there are different levels of quality time. Even if the father spends two hours on her smartphone on the playground, the time spent is not of the same quality as if he had two hours of fully-existent interactive play.
Since 2017, I have decided to spend an average of 4-8 hours a day with my children.
For 18 months we homeschooled our son. That means I spent nearly 12 hours a day with my son. When my son was 4 years old and went to kindergarten full time and my daughter was 3 years old and started attending part time 2-3 days a week, the hours started to dwindle.
Spending time made me feel like a good father. My kids will never be able to say I wasn’t there for them. On the other hand, if there was an ugly custody battle, my wife couldn’t blame me for her father’s absence either. Whoo!
But here comes the problem. If I spend 4 hours a day with my kids because of school, my wife spends 6-7 hours a day with them. And if I’m spending 8 hours a day with them because they’re home, she’s spending 12-13 hours a day with them.
Father’s Blind Spot #1: Making Wrong Comparisons
Over the past six years, I’ve come to consider myself one of the best dads I’ve ever had. Most had day jobs, which gave them more flexibility in spending time with their children.
When I had an argument with my wife or felt guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with my kids one day, I compared myself to other dads at work to calm myself down. A Pew Research study found that: 63% of fathers They feel they are not spending enough time with their children.
But if my wife and I are really equal stay-at-home moms, I wrong comparison. Instead, I have to compare my efforts against my wife’s. My wife’s effort increases by an average of 50% to 100% per day.
Imagine taking part in a group project and continuing to outperform your classmates by 50% to 100% every day. And the teacher praises his classmates for doing well. You may feel a little resentment!
Fathers may really believe that we are we do more housework than we actually do. I often sneak out when the kids are fighting or doing something nasty, but my wife mostly stays by my side to see what’s going on.
There is no such thing as equal care between two parents. However, the difference in care time should not be that great.
i think i have a magic touch
When my daughter turned 2, I took her to the playground regularly. This helped ease the burden on her wife, especially after her daughter had a rough night of not sleeping well.
During the 2-3 hours outing, the children always played well and never quarreled. When I said it was time to leave, they followed without complaining. When I told them to finish their snacks, they did. they never cried.
However, I noticed that when they returned home to hand over to Mama, they would quickly whine. Suddenly the little horn turned into a rebellious rogue.
Thinking this was just a fluke, I took them out myself and kept a close watch on their behavior. Each time they performed wonderfully against me. And every time they got home they turned into little hellions.
I thought in my heart, Oh, I must have a touch of magic! Give me the Father of the Year trophy! A wife needs to speak more authoritatively and confidently to keep her children compliant. She needs to learn my special ways!
Dad’s Blind Spot #2: Not Doing Hard Enough
After more outings, I began to understand why my children were more violent when I was with them than when they were with me. Two things made him realize I wasn’t as good a father as I thought I was.See: The Dunning Kruger Effect
So why are my kids more difficult with my wife? He has two reasons.
1) they love mom more.
They love their mothers more because they spend 50% to 100% more time with them. She is a night watchman who comforts them in case of night terrors. She is the main person who bathes them and feeds them. Moms also feel more warmth and love when their children are injured or sick.
As a result, they compete the most for her attention. They are always fighting to be held by her and to be loved by her. And each of them gets frustrated and upset when they don’t get enough mom’s attention.
I, on the other hand, spend less time with them than my wife, so I’m more of a novelty. Just like they behave better in front of their teachers, they behave better towards me because I’m not always by their side.
In a way they take my wife more for granted because they are together so often. And we tend to hurt and annoy those we love most.
2) I am doing more fun things with my children.
When I go out alone, I usually take my kids to the zoo, playground, and shopping mall. We’re having fun, so of course they’ll behave better.
On the other hand, it’s always Mom who goes to the doctor’s office or the dentist. I spend most of my time waiting in my car, a remnant of COVID-19, where pediatric appointments are limited to only one parent.
My wife is also responsible for providing our children with a balanced diet of vegetables, meats, gluten-free grains and fruit. On the other hand, I love cheeseburgers and they love to eat cheeseburgers too. As a result, of course, they will be more docile if I give them something more attractive.
Finally, my wife is also primarily responsible for helping the kids apply sunscreen, clip their nails, and brush their teeth. Neither of our children like doing things like this, so it has increased whining and disapproving towards her wife.
Becoming a father is a work in progress
I have overestimated my effort and ability and underestimated my wife’s ability and effort.
If I had to do the same thing as my wife every day and night, I would lose my cool more often. I also know that my children will not listen to me as much as they will take me for granted.
Based on noticing my blind spots, my goal is to do more things I don’t enjoy with my kids. A more balanced distribution of responsibilities is more appropriate. I also try to be more patient and less critical.
It is important to constantly remind ourselves that we are doing our best.
expectations not communicated
Uncommunicated expectations can be a major cause of divorce.
One partner expects the other to do something, but the other doesn’t because he has no idea. As a result, the expected partner begins to resent the other’s lack of action.
Therefore, another of my goals as a father is to communicate more clearly about my expectations of my wife and to listen carefully to her expectations of me. I also regularly ask her where she thinks I could do more. That way we can find the best common ground for both us and our children.
The stress of being the main or sole breadwinner
Those who are the primary or sole breadwinner in a household are likely to experience more financial stress. Therefore, it is worth thanking them more from time to time.
For example, managing family money can feel like a full-time job. Neither of us have a stable salary, retirement benefits, or medical benefits, so we are stressed about ensuring we have enough financial strength to support our families.If I was still working in finance, I would probably feel a different kind of pressure.
For example, during the 2022 bear market, I was more stressed because I was losing so much. It was a shame to lose so much progress despite diversifying my net worth to protect myself from the recession.
Writing about money every week, I might feel worse during a bear market than the average person who doesn’t pay as much attention. After all, the number one rule of financial independence is not to lose money. If you have enough money, your goal should be to preserve capital to protect your freedom.
The recovery in the stock market made me feel less stressed today. But until children become independent adults, there is always pressure to provide something.
to future fathers
For men trying to start a family, set some financial goals before having children. The cost of raising a child can cause rifts in a marital relationship. Getting his finances in order gives him one less thing to worry about.
Always be supportive and don’t be too critical of your partner’s efforts. When you get frustrated, remind yourself that you didn’t have to go through pregnancy, labor, birth, and recovery. Arguments are inevitable when you’re tired, frustrated, or feeling guilty. Give each other a reset pass.
Finally, always communicate your unspoken expectations. If in doubt, state it. It is unreasonable to expect your partner to be a mind reader when they are juggling so many things.
Fatherhood is hard! But it’s also a great trip. Happy Father’s Day!
Reader Questions and Suggestions
What father thinks he was doing a better job than he actually is? How did you realize that you weren’t doing as much as you thought you were? How, if anything, did you change after you realized the situation? What were some of the challenges you faced as a father?
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