Whatching my boys today, I can’t help but start thinking about parenting as I start this process of optimization. Out of everything that I want to get right in this world, It’s being a father. They really are my world, yet at the same time, I know I have to make my own world to be true to me too if I’m going to be my best for them.
I never put them in day care. My wife works full time, and owning the school, I didn’t work until the evening. When my first was born, I was the ripe old age of 27. I strapped the kid to my back, learned how to change diapers on the go, blend baby food, manage blow outs, and sleep when he slept.
My wife has a busy corporate career, so he even came with me to the dojo. People all around town, that didn’t already know me, started to identify me as the young guy that took his baby everywhere. I was fine with this. I was young, strong, and I had such a clear focus. I knew kids that were close with their parents grew up more emotionally stable and intelligent, so I did what it took not to have someone else nurturing him.
It worked. Now he is a bright, intelligent, and compassionate beautiful 13 year old. Sorry ladies no sexism intended, but sometimes behind his back, I call him my girl because he is so sweet and compassionate. We really are very close, and he is a big time dady’s boy.
Then came another, and a few years latter another. This is where I mark the beginnings of a few of my own personal struggles. I had to drop out of being on the US sport jiujitsu team. The training, the school, two babies at that time were just too much. I compensated by my long solo trips into the wilderness and meditation, but really my pace was taking to much out of me. I just couldn’t see it. I really felt that I was the master of my universe and nothing could stop me.
Anyway... I didn’t want this entry to be a history lesson, but I did it with all three of my boys. I kept them with me. Learning from me, training in martial arts, and we were obsorbing each other. I’m very close to all three of them, and sometimes it breaks my heart just because they are growing and each phase is impermenant.
Of course, at the same time all of that was happening, I was going through deep psycho spiritual episodes. I have another blog here that I was writing during some of that. Looking back, I wonder if it were to much. Maybe I should have asked for help.
Anyway, going forward now, I’m wondering how to maintain this role I have taken on in their lives. They are starting to do more and more on their own, but when I choose a new careeer, am I going to have to be like normal dads? Like my wife? She dosnt get home till 7pm. When I was teaching I wasn’t home myself in the evening, but they were actually with me a lot of the time. Leaving the dojo behind has disrupted how we all live. We will still be training twice a week, but I can’t help but worry where this is headed.
I don’t just want our short time on this earth in this capacity to be “normal.” I have been fortunate enough to give them an amazing and adventurous child hood so far. How do I continue? How do I make it better?
Now that they are older, they bicker more, I snap at them more, and things are not as pure as when they were little. Me and my middle child butt heads all the time. He is a great kid, but along with the freedom I give them, there are some very strict rules about respect and behavior. He wants to challenge me on those, and I don’t always respond in the way I think my higher self wants me to. How do I reel in my reactions? How do I keep the vision I have for them remembering not just a childhood, but a grand experience growing up? How do I work on myself during all this?
My mind mills and churns over it so much, I have actually had to start listening to audio books and podcasts with my blue tooth headset simply to drown out my own inner voice. My inner voice simply won’t shut up. I can quiet it during meditation, but the only thing that helps when I’m going about my day is to drown it in information and learning.
Optimizing parenthood may be one of the most challenging things I have ever attempted. I have faced down cage fighters, large wild animals, a few abusive psychos, and even stood my ground against what people would call demons and devils, but screwing this up scares the hell out me.
Thanks for reading.