My son, whom I will affectionately refer to as ToddlerRush (the cute little guy I often tweet about), will turn one-and-a-half tomorrow.
— Papa Rush (@paparushblog) May 16, 2015
His mom, (MamaRush of course), is full-term in her pregnancy and we are bags-packed and ready-to-go whenever our next little one decides he’s ready to make his debut. Months ago I placed a wager that today would be the day. Regardless of when it happens, though, our lives are going to change dramatically. Again.
Thinking back on the first few months of caring for my first son, it’s a complete blur.
I remember things, but it’s like my brain has blocked out all the little details. It’s like I acquired valuable on-the-job skills, but as the job has changed and evolved, so has the need to retain certain skills. I learned what I needed to know, and then I completely dumped it all to make room for new job skills. It’s like survival instincts or something. The reason for this is probably because literally every day, in small and big ways, I have to relearn how to do things when it comes to caring for my little one.
Every day since he was born, save a few work trips, I have spent every moment of every day taking care of him – with A LOT of help from MamaRush mornings and evenings of course. My priorities have completely flipped from focusing on my own career – along with my health and well-being sometimes – to figuring out how to help my child develop into a mature, responsible human-being (aka not grow up to be a complete asshole). Sometimes I feel like I’m failing.
We’ve all read the statements about babies and toddlers – and really any kid in general – being the worst roommates ever, and there’s more than a few grains of truth in that obviously. Loud, irrational, inappropriate behavior that borders on insanity, spaced out with moments of pure bliss is I guess what parenting is all about. If life in general is about finding balance, parenting, at least when it comes to caring for small children, can be the absolute antithesis at times.
As a serial entrepreneur who juggles a career in music with product development & design and of course blogging, it has become increasingly challenging to find my balance and center point.
Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Man, I really suck at life. What is happening to me? Where did I go wrong?” and a series of other self-doubting, defeatist thoughts that launch me into a downward spiral of negativity. All this has lately been affecting my family in adverse ways that I’m ashamed to even admit.
Yesterday it all came to a head when I was walking my pups and Timmy (yes, I have a dog with an oddly human name) showed aggression toward another dog – barking and biting at the air – and I, who have traditionally prided myself on being the cool, calm dog-whispering type just lost it on him. I’m a dog-person and dog lover and my reaction caused me to stop and ask myself what’s going on in my life that’s caused me to react in a situation like this so harshly? I was so upset I was shaking, and if you know me, you know that this is quite uncharacteristic. Nothing really riles me up.
After some reflection, my conclusion is that this feeling I’ve been having – the feeling that I suck at life – is completely my fault.
And although admitting is half the battle, simply looking in the mirror and saying “It’s your fault you suck at life” isn’t going to change anything for the better. The trouble is, I don’t 100 percent know what to do about it. Raising a child sometimes feels like Groundhog Day or in some worst-case-scenarios like Live, Die, Repeat. Wake up, go through the motions, feel a sense of accomplishment, even experience some victories and feelings of joy, then wake up the next day and do it all over again.
I’m slowly learning – and then unlearning and relearning again – how to find balance.
I’m living proof, along with every other parent who’s either doing it, or been-there-done-that, that parenting is the ultimate test of solidarity of spirit, mind and body. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, the best feeling I could ever have is that of being a dad to one of the most beautiful, inspirational little creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing a living space with. At the end of every day, I have acquired new special powers. I am learning to be the best person I possibly can be in the face of adversity. I am super dad.
…but I’m still figuring it out.