|Photo courtesy of Healingdream|
I was brought up with the age-old mentality that the husband/father should provide for his family. Not that the woman should stay at home, but that the husband’s job should be able to handle the load as life sent challenges at you. My grandfather owned a dealership and always worked very hard, and he also taught me the importance of the integrity of your work, while at the same time making sure family came first. My father also worked very hard and also instilled that work ethic in me, but the down side is that he was always gone. I know he worked hard, but I also know his addictions took over. More on that later…
All of these challenges we have been facing place a lot of pressure on me, even though I may not be as vocal about it. Some of it is the feeling that I should be able to make enough to provide for my family but, frankly, I don’t.
When Amee had to leave her full-time position, I was incredibly stressed out. Yes, she was going to be writing while she was at home, but I was worried about her stress level, and I felt horrible that being home with the kids full-time and being expected to work on her writing at the same time would completely overload her. Once again, I felt like I was failing as a husband/father/provider because I couldn’t make enough in the current economy to provide for my family. I am working on those feelings pretty much on a daily basis. I am working as much as I can and helping as much as I can at home when I am not at work trying to take some of the load off of Amee.
Part of the issue I have is that I am terrified I will end up making some of the mistakes my father made. I am, after all, My Father’s Son. I know the logic about being the man you want to be and such, but the worry is still there. My father let his addiction with alcohol take over, and while he was recovering, he somehow thought the best solution to his problems was to bail. He literally left one day while my mother and I were at work. He hadn’t told us that at the time he had left, the house was three days from foreclosure, my mother’s retirement was gone, and the bills were incredibly overdue.
Many years later, I thought maybe things were turning around with him as we tried to rebuild that relationship, but there was a selfishness still there that manifests even to this day in the fact that he doesn’t even call his grandkids on their birthdays anymore. I am not sure if this is apathy or what but it really doesn’t matter. How does this relate to me? Well, I have noticed some shit I do is kind of similar, and that worries me.
I get very “fixated” on stuff. Be it a video game, a topic, or whatever. It is almost obsessive. For instance, I think about something like our TV failing and I will start researching TVs. Now most people will do this and call it good, but I will always be looking at which ones are best, cheapest, or whatever. The real issue with this is that I sometimes put off paying what I need to pay to fill the want. Not that I am going to buy a new TV when rent is due, but I might see a DVD or whatever and tell myself, “Well, it is only 20 bucks. We can swing that…” That is where my issue is. I struggle with it almost daily. As a joke, a friend of mine would list this problem in terms of his music equipment…”G.A.S.” or Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
Looking at my history, I was always very giving to almost a fault. Each relationship I was in, I would be left in deeper debt when it ended. Now, as a father, I want to provide the best stuff for my kids and I loved the look on Amee’s face when I could give her something sparkly. I obviously am not in the position to do that anymore, but I focus on trying to make sure we have the essentials and that the kids have good holidays.
That is why I am taking a page from my grandfather’s book. I am trying to not worry so much about the money one way or another and I am trying to be a better father. I want to show my family just how much I care. Be it playing Halo with Elias and getting fragged over and over, or snuggling with Maddie and watching a movie, I want to give the kids memories. Yeah, stuff is cool and I DO love technology, but I am trying to stay focused on my family and providing the best I can.