Parenting & Family

Need Advice - Hate being a Dad

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  • Sep 19th, 2021 6:22 pm
[OP]
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Sep 5, 2021
2 posts
9 upvotes

Need Advice - Hate being a Dad

Hello Everyone,

I am a bit lost at this point and i'm hoping I would get some advice.

A bit of background about me. I am a new Dad and have a healthy 20 month old daughter. My Wife and I have been together for 10 years and we married 4 years ago. Prior to having a kid our relationship was amazing. We had lots of fun together and went on many trips. We also rarely argued and even if we did, we would always resolve our disagreements.

I've always been the type of guy that valued my personal time and also valued travelling. As such, I've never been fond of having a kid. My wife on the other hand have always wanted to have a kid and it's something she always mentioned to me. I knew that if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I needed to compromise. So I decided to just go for it - big mistake I know. My thought at the time was, maybe I will enjoy it or will "learn" to enjoy it.

Now fast forward 20 months later, our relationship has completely tanked. My wife "loves" spending all the time with the kid and rarely puts any thought into our relationship. I've tried adapting to my "dad" role and really tried to "enjoy" being a parent and doing parent related activities (e.g. reading books, taking my kid to the park etc.). However, I absolutely HATE it.....I hate every second of it. I honestly feel like i'm just acting out a script and doing things because this is what society and everyone tells me I should do as a parent. Now I love my daughter, don't get me wrong. Everytime I see my daughter and she wants to hug me, I do feel happy. However, I still hate what my life has become and overall just hate being a parent. Almost everyday I am looking forward to the time she goes to sleep so I can have some time to just be "myself" again.

At this point, I'm not sure what I can do. I'm not sure if its just a phase i'm going through or if this is just who I am as a person. Now I know what most of you are going to say "too bad" and that I made the conscious choice to have a kid and I need to take responsibility. While I agree 100% this does nothing for my mental health. Can I act and pretend to be happy for the next 18 years and fulfill my parental responsibilities? absolutely....however, I think my mental health is going to suffer and I will be absolutely miserable probably resenting my wife that I gave in and agreed to have a kid....
58 replies
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As a father of 4, my kids annoy the * out of me sometimes. Break my expensive things, interrupt work meetings, won't let me watch my adult TV shows, or sporting events in peace.
But at the end of the day when I see their smiles and can see their genuine joy when they see that I'm around them and spending time with them, that's all I need.
Whether it's taking them to the park, road trip, just taking walks with them, or watching movies or rough housing with them... They love every moment of it, and I love their reaction.

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, not much you can do. You just need to adjust to expectations, realize it's not just about you, it's about all 3 of you.
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I didn’t really enjoy the first few years of both my daughters either. They are 7 and 5 now. Oldest just started flag football this year and it has been fun to practice with her. My youngest thought it was so funny to pretend I didn’t exist until about 3 or 4 months ago, I got so sick of hearing her ask for mommy when I was sitting right there. Now she just wants to spend more time with me and it has been a lot more fun.

Don’t worry it will get better and what you are feeling is normal.

Hope that helps,
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Things are different at different ages, i don't know if for you it will get better for you when they can walk and talk and go places?
Maybe it will or maybe parenthood is not for you?
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Stress and sacrifice is part of the game. Do you believe that your parents didn't have the same feeling with you (or siblings if you have them)?

The early years are always the hardest. 20mths, so just over 1.5yrs old. Infants & toddlers are like that, but once she moves onto school age things will change. Yes there will be a new set of stressors and responsibilities but others will disappear. This age requires a lot of attention. Don't feel that you're being ignored. You're self sufficient and take care of yourself. The kid can't.

Think about your wife and the number of responsibilities she has. You can imagine that she would like time for herself too, and though that can feel like a strain to your relationship, it isn't. I don't know if you're pitching in or not, but there is always room for more. Give her a hand around the house and raising your daughter and you'll find a new connection with your wife.

Trust me, you're not the only parent who counts down the hours before they go to bed. You need to adapt and sometime personal time is decreased. You know I went months without going out with my friends... Either I had family commitments or they had with theirs. Now that our kids are a bit older, we can slip out for a few hours every few weeks. You just gotta roll with it. Sooner or later things will get easier.
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[OP]
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Sep 5, 2021
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9 upvotes
thanks for this - this made me a feel a lot better.

Yes I do try to help out as much as I can but I know my wife is taking the "bulk" of the responsibility. But that's because she actually enjoys the responsibility whereas for me its more of a chore - and i think she sees it.

I can barely talk to my friends or parents about it because it's such a taboo topic. I almost feel that everyone around me just "expects" me to adapt and enjoy this newfound role.

I do hope it does get more enjoyable as she gets older.....

chimaican wrote: Stress and sacrifice is part of the game. Do you believe that your parents didn't have the same feeling with you (or siblings if you have them)?

The early years are always the hardest. 20mths, so just over 1.5yrs old. Infants & toddlers are like that, but once she moves onto school age things will change. Yes there will be a new set of stressors and responsibilities but others will disappear. This age requires a lot of attention. Don't feel that you're being ignored. You're self sufficient and take care of yourself. The kid can't.

Think about your wife and the number of responsibilities she has. You can imagine that she would like time for herself too, and though that can feel like a strain to your relationship, it isn't. I don't know if you're pitching in or not, but there is always room for more. Give her a hand around the house and raising your daughter and you'll find a new connection with your wife.

Trust me, you're not the only parent who counts down the hours before they go to bed. You need to adapt and sometime personal time is decreased. You know I went months without going out with my friends... Either I had family commitments or they had with theirs. Now that our kids are a bit older, we can slip out for a few hours every few weeks. You just gotta roll with it. Sooner or later things will get easier.
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I don't think it's abnormal to not like being a parent, especially at the beginning. It's freaking difficult. However, to use the word 'hate' is pretty strong. I think it's a matter of perspective and adjustment. When we had our first, she was REALLY difficult, we longed for the days we had of freedom, and if you would have asked us if it was worth, we couldn't be sure to say yes. In fact, in our sleep deprived state my husband told my newly married cousin, 'if you are thinking about kids, and aren't sure, DON"T!', at the wedding. We knew we loved our kid, but wasn't sure if we liked the experience. We still feel like that at times as our kids enter their teens. However, now if you would ask us if it was worth it, the answer is absolutely. We have always made all of our decisions in consideration what is best for my kids. Once I changed my perspective of comparing to the life I once had which is a lost to focus on all the possibilities of the future, I am much happier.

So my recommendation is to learn and accept that you will NEVER have the life you did before kids, but it's been replaced with new exciting life with more kids. Just because its not the same, doesn't mean it won't be good. It's really no different than those that relive high school and refuse to move on. You haven't done this yet, so its time to start. If you need help, then reaching out for counselling or someone you can talk to (who will not judge) will be beneficial. The fact is you have a child, and that will not change.
Newparenthelp wrote: A bit of background about me. I am a new Dad and have a healthy 20 month old daughter. My Wife and I have been together for 10 years and we married 4 years ago. Prior to having a kid our relationship was amazing. We had lots of fun together and went on many trips. We also rarely argued and even if we did, we would always resolve our disagreements.
Kids change relationship, in fact even people without kids, their relationships change. There are lots of people that divorce without kids. Yes, you had fun together with out kids, now you need to find a different way of fun. You need to find a way to do the things you enjoy and incorporate kids in. Or find new things you both enjoy that can include kids. Travel can be done with kids, it is difficult when they are that little, so you find the elements you like about travel pre-kids, and work the kids in. As for arguments, it is exhausting and difficult to find the time to resolve things when you have a toddler around or a kid. So you need to find a way to carve some time off to talk about these things. I
I've always been the type of guy that valued my personal time and also valued travelling. As such, I've never been fond of having a kid. My wife on the other hand have always wanted to have a kid and it's something she always mentioned to me. I knew that if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I needed to compromise. So I decided to just go for it - big mistake I know. My thought at the time was, maybe I will enjoy it or will "learn" to enjoy it.
Yep, you made the choice to have kids. So you do give up so much of your personal time. When our kids were little, we each had one night a week that was our personal time. It's alot less than when you have kids, but you learn to get used to it. I found ways to use the time I had with kids to also do things I enjoyed. It really is a short time, my hubby plays hockey now 3-4 times a week and has found his time as our tweens and teens are more independant.
Now fast forward 20 months later, our relationship has completely tanked. My wife "loves" spending all the time with the kid and rarely puts any thought into our relationship. I've tried adapting to my "dad" role and really tried to "enjoy" being a parent and doing parent related activities (e.g. reading books, taking my kid to the park etc.). However, I absolutely HATE it.....I hate every second of it. I honestly feel like i'm just acting out a script and doing things because this is what society and everyone tells me I should do as a parent. Now I love my daughter, don't get me wrong. Everytime I see my daughter and she wants to hug me, I do feel happy.
This is the part that isn't uncommon, but think of it from this perspective. You have to ask yourself honestly how much you are contributing to the housework and raising your child. If you can honestly say it's 50/50 then I will say ignore what I will say next. My spouse complained about this too. My point of view is if I am doing more of the housework and child rearing (and I worked just as much as him if not more) because he needed more alone time, then it's not fair for him to ask me to think about that much thought in the relationship. That's what you should be doing since she is doing the other stuff you don't want to do. I am going guess based on your post and tone, that she is doing the heavy lifting and you are going through the motions. As a result, that requires her to compensate for your part in the interest of the child. One cannot expect the same effort in the relationship as her time is being divided. If you are doing 1/2 the work and taking your daughter out as much as your wife, then she needs to step up too.
However, I still hate what my life has become and overall just hate being a parent. Almost everyday I am looking forward to the time she goes to sleep so I can have some time to just be "myself" again.

At this point, I'm not sure what I can do. I'm not sure if its just a phase i'm going through or if this is just who I am as a person. Now I know what most of you are going to say "too bad" and that I made the conscious choice to have a kid and I need to take responsibility. While I agree 100% this does nothing for my mental health. Can I act and pretend to be happy for the next 18 years and fulfill my parental responsibilities? absolutely....however, I think my mental health is going to suffer and I will be absolutely miserable probably resenting my wife that I gave in and agreed to have a kid....
At the very minimal, you need to act and pretend to be happy so your daughter doesn't suffer. That will take a toll on you. Yes, in a way this means suck it up, because the fact is you have accept that you have kid and that you life has changed and will never be the same 'as the good old days'. However, is doesn't have to be miserable (I really adore my kids and cannot get enough of them now). It may be useful in getting some help in re-framing your perspective and helping you accept that you have a new life with a child is more important. Stop thinking that you 'gave in and agreed to have a kid', that negative thinking is going to be toxic as a parent and partner. You said you CHOSE to have a child because you love your wife so much and wanted to spend the rest of your life with her. That should have been clear that she would change over the next lifetime.

In the meantime, try finding things that you enjoy to do and bring your daughter into that world (assuming its safe)
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Newparenthelp wrote: thanks for this - this made me a feel a lot better.

Yes I do try to help out as much as I can but I know my wife is taking the "bulk" of the responsibility. But that's because she actually enjoys the responsibility whereas for me its more of a chore - and i think she sees it.

I can barely talk to my friends or parents about it because it's such a taboo topic. I almost feel that everyone around me just "expects" me to adapt and enjoy this newfound role.

I do hope it does get more enjoyable as she gets older.....
It's natural to feel the stress and what feels like an overwhelming burden. If you have guy friends with children you should speak with them. You'll likely find you have similar stories and feelings - new mommies aren't the only ones who need support of other mommies, daddies need it too. I spoke to my buddies early on, and now others ask me.

Maybe ask your wife if you can have a couple of hours one day with your buddies... Plan ahead with plenty of notice like 1+ weeks ahead of time (you don't want her to feel the extra burden) and then on that day, do as much as you can. Give your daughter a bath early and do whatever needs to be done (like cook and/or wash the dishes, or easier, a nice takeout), and then slip out after 8 or 9pm after your daughter's bedtime, and then you can chill with the boys for a few hours. If you do this, you'll have your free time and your wife can have a relaxing night as well to recharge and everything is already done. My friends and I do this every time.

I wouldn't worry about your relationship with your wife. Fights & arguments are bound to happen. Everyone is on edge, especially when you lack sleep and feel the divide between family responsibilities versus work.

Trust me when I say things will become easier. PM whenever you need someone to bounce of off.
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Newparenthelp wrote: thanks for this - this made me a feel a lot better.

Yes I do try to help out as much as I can but I know my wife is taking the "bulk" of the responsibility. But that's because she actually enjoys the responsibility whereas for me its more of a chore - and i think she sees it.

I can barely talk to my friends or parents about it because it's such a taboo topic. I almost feel that everyone around me just "expects" me to adapt and enjoy this newfound role.

I do hope it does get more enjoyable as she gets older.....
I think I addressed this above before you responded. Just because she enjoys it more, doesn't mean that it's still not a chore for her. Remember she only has so much energy, and if you allow her to divert it all to the child because you think it's a chore, that's on you.

Some of my closest friends are from the baby group I joined with my first. The reason we are so close, is I was quite honest in saying in the earlier days that I loved my child but was hating the experience. 1/2 the group said they felt the same, but didn't want to be judged. Our feelings are our feelings, they are are not wrong, they are just feelings. How you act on those feelings are what matters. If you can fake it and accept it's not all that at certain times, it's okay, but you still need to be there for your child and wife. I tell my spouse, it's okay he hates it, but he still needs to do X, because it's best for the kids.

I don't know you at all, but not everyone loves each phase. I HATED the baby phase, loved the toddler and school age, can't say I enjoy teenage girls either. However, I still do what I need to do, and try to enjoy what I can.

@chimaican Had great advice, find some guys you can hang around and talk to about this. Many will feel similar, and just don't talk about it. Just DON"T go with the drinking buddies without kids, they will make it worst. My spouse is quite introverted, so I had him meet some of the other dad's who were also introverted from our mom group. He would have never gone out to meet them, but he still has beers with them, and our kids are teens. Though now, I think they just drink beer for a short time before they have to head home.
Last edited by Macx2mommy on Sep 6th, 2021 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Newparenthelp wrote: thanks for this - this made me a feel a lot better.

Yes I do try to help out as much as I can but I know my wife is taking the "bulk" of the responsibility. But that's because she actually enjoys the responsibility whereas for me its more of a chore - and i think she sees it.

I can barely talk to my friends or parents about it because it's such a taboo topic. I almost feel that everyone around me just "expects" me to adapt and enjoy this newfound role.

I do hope it does get more enjoyable as she gets older.....
I can't tell if you're trolling, or if you're this incredibly selfish and dense.

Bro, nobody ENJOYS this shit. She loves the child, so she doesn't find it miserable. It's an inevitable part of life, being a parent, where you have certain things you can't simply ignore. It MUST BE DONE.

Trust me, she'd rather be chilling with a margarita watching TV than do the chores you think she "enjoys" doing.
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Quentin5 wrote: Things are different at different ages, i don't know if for you it will get better for you when they can walk and talk and go places?
Maybe it will or maybe parenthood is not for you?
That's very obvious.
But that's something he should have thought about BEFORE the child was conceived.
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Divide up the chores or take the initiative.

I have to be up early every morning because I'm the first to go to work, so I make breakfast for everyone and prepare my kids' school lunches. My wife takes on more of the evening chores. I do most of the house cleaning, whereas she'll do more of the kids stuff (like bathing, homework etc). Laundry is shared because that's the easiest job. Everything is a compromise. And like @mrtin905 says, NO ONE LIKES CHORES. Lol... They are what they are.

And like I said before, things get easier. Some responsibilities come, others go.
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Parenting is hard. My wife is 37 weeks pregnant with our 2nd. We had a discussion with another mother this week who has a 6 and a 3 year old, and weren't very heartened with her "these are the long slog years" statement 3 years after the 2nd was born. When does the "long slog" end?

It seems to me like your problem is as much about your relationship with your wife as it is about being a parent, though. My wife and I were having some of the same challenges you've articulated in the first year or two after my son was born.

Get a copy of The Five Love Languages. Read it. Then get your wife to read it.

It was actually enlightening for our relationship. We quickly identified that my wife's primary love language is quality time. She needs to spend quality time with our son (and upcoming infant) and me to recharge. If she doesn't get that quality time, she becomes unhappy. It's honestly as easy as her spending an hour playing with our son, and a half hour having a quality discussion in bed before we fall asleep, and she's happy. When we started just talking about what was on her mind before bed, her happiness improved immensely.

Meanwhile, I value acts of service - both giving and receiving. We've learned that her either helping me with certain chores, or giving me the time and space to do them (say, by spending quality time with our toddler for an hour or two a day goes a long way to keeping us happy.

Discover what "love language" keeps you and your wife ticking, focus on that in your interactions, and your relationship should improve - both with your wife and with your kid.
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If things don't change, I can see OP getting separated/divorced. A step in the direction of having kids when he didn't want kids has been taken so now the question is what to do about it as you can't reverse that decision.

> If you have the budget, pay for help to do the chores.
> If you have family, try and use em when you can
> Talk to your wife about your unhappiness and how to get back some of what was lost ie dating or even travelling etc.
> find some hobbies that you can enjoy on your own so you aren't reliant on your spouse to make you happy
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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My thoughts...

Consider doing some counselling. Perhaps individual to begin with, maybe couples as things progress. The sooner you can nip any growing resentment in the bud the better. The longer a wound festers, the more difficult it can be to heal.

And as others have noted, I think many parents struggle with different ages at times. I worked in a daycare for a few years, going through the different groups of kids. My least favorite was the infants, most favorite was the 3+. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but you still need to do your part in the "not favorite" ages. If both you AND your wife get to the stage of resenting each other (you for "making" you have a child against your will, her for you not contributing to things around the house and child) things will get much more difficult quickly.

C
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CNeufeld wrote: Consider doing some counselling. Perhaps individual to begin with, maybe couples as things progress. The sooner you can nip any growing resentment in the bud the better. The longer a wound festers, the more difficult it can be to heal.
I definitely agree with this, particularly because OP doesn't feel comfortable even saying what he thinks because it's taboo, because he might be judged. A good counsellor has heard way worse things than this and can give advice based on their experience with many, many people - we can only give advice on what worked for us.
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Definitely consider counselling. Lots of resources out there, don't be ashamed. Many workplaces even offer less formal ways to get help, like a number you can call to connect you with someone to talk things over with. There are online options like "betterhelp" (ok I just heard it from a podcast ad...but look into it).

Talk to you wife about your feelings too, even though it will probably lead to fights. Its better to get it out in the open and deal with it rather than let it fester and then just divorce and run out on your kid and wife all of a sudden. It does happen a lot.

I am acquaintances with a couple moms who just divorced. their side of the story was that the dad felt the wife wasn't giving him enough attention after the child came.
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Talk to your wife - don't tell her you don't like being a dad but tell her what you value in your marriage/relationship and that you have some worries. See if you can come workout something like a "date night". The other thing I would suggest is that you spend at least equal time (if not more) on all the good things about your life, and being a dad. Just remember kids pick up on energy ...meaning even if you don't verbally say it, it can be felt so you'll need to make a decision soon if should be in or out of your daughter's life. Unfortunately, your selfishness has some pretty severe consequences but I don't think it's fair to anyone to pretend, especially not your daughter.
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Mar 3, 2012
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Hey man, dad of 3 here. Wife is expecting twins soon so I'll be having 5 kids in a couple of weeks.

If it can reassure you, I felt the same when I had my 1st child. I wanted to keep traveling the world, experiencing new places and cuisine. We were young and beautiful and I loved that life. One of my hobby was to take pictures of my beautiful wife all over the world LOL. I knew that she wanted to have kids but I was unsure if I wanted to be a dad.

What I can tell you is that your first kid and first few month are the hardest. I was lost. Everything changed and it's NORMAL. No one really knows how to be a father before he becomes one but from my perspective, everything becomes better with time. You gotta give yourself some times man!!!

Talk to your wife, be honest while trying not to sound too selfish. No one likes to change diapers, breast feed, etc. You gotta do it for love! Look at those eyes when you feed, play or shower the kid, it's YOUR blood. Do some effort, go the extra mile. I converted my photography hobby to taking pictures of my kids. Documenting their life while growing up, it's so fascinating!!!
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OP, have you spoken to your wife about how you feel? Is it your intention to "tough it out" and try and make this work?

As others have said, the beginning is the hardest part.

I wish you good luck, but my advice is to talk to your spouse and/or seek professional help.

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