I have two children – a son and a daughter. They are four years apart and have a different mother (my ex-wife and my current wife). Both are very young right now, but still get along rather well. My daughter and her mother live with me, my son lives with his mother at her parent’s house along with his brother who has a different father (my ex-wife and her ex-boyfriend who they don’t even talk to anymore). I want my kids to have a better childhood and life than I have had.
My father was around about as much as I am in my son’s life. I am not an alcoholic and drug addict however like my father was and therefore I am more in touch with reality. I don’t spend nearly the amount of time with my son as I would like and the time I do spend with him is not always ‘quality time’. We do not have a relationship that either one of us feels comfortable with. He begs to not stay at my house for the night and therefore doesn’t because I want him to be happy. I would be concerned that he didn’t actually love me, but when he is around he clings to me like oil to skin. He is constantly hugging me and telling me he loves me. It is a wonderful thing. We have not had much that we could do because I have a severe anxiety toward social situations and therefore could not take him many places that are closed in. In the past my mental state has prevented me from spending more time with him as I couldn’t drive the distance to go and get him so I had to rely on my mother and my in-laws. They have been wonderful, but it is time for me to take over in that department and become a more involved father overall. My medications are leveling out and I am in a better place than I have been in since the introduction of anti-psychotics to my medication repertoire.
My wife and I got a season pass to the local zoo and therefore I am attempting to control my anxiety (with and without medication) so that I can take my children there as much as they would like to go. It is an activity that both children will enjoy. We currently only have one vehicle because, as I hinted at, I could not drive long distances by myself very often. We are looking to get another vehicle and that should allow me, if my medications keep my mental state in good shape, to drive more often. Hopefully that will allow me, with the approval of my son’s mother, to spend more time with him, like during the week when he is not in school. My wife and I are also starting to get our financial affairs in order so we can attempt to purchase a house. That will give us a yard and more room to play and do things that children like to do (or should like to do). Working slowly forward, my relationship with my son should improve as time goes on.
When my daughter was born and after my wife returned to work from maternity leave, I took care of her for a while, not long, but some quality time that she will not remember, but it helped instill a relationship between us. I was beginning to realize that I could not handle an infant on my own. I hoped that I could get assistance and then take care of her later. It has been a couple of years and I still can’t take care of her for very long by myself. We have a better relationship than the one I have with my son, but it is not what I want either. The one really nice thing is that, now, I rock and sing her to sleep every night. I am grateful for that as it gives my personal time that helps us bond.
What I would like is the ability to watch her during the day. She is in wonderful hands right now, but I still wish those hands were mine. I suppose if I had the ability to work she would be in daycare or in the situation she is in now and I would see her as much as I do if not less often, depending on what I do and my hours. So, thinking of it that way, I am grateful that I have the time I do with her. However, sitting at home all day give me time to think and I think I want more time with her. It hurts me to think that I literally can’t take care of her on my own.
That is changing slowly as well. My wife leaves her with me while she goes shopping from time to time and things go relatively well most of the time. Sometimes it is a bit more difficult than it should be because my anxiety gets the best of me, but I am really trying to work on that.
Basically I am a decent father to both of my kids, but, like most parents, I wish I could be a better father and I, unlike some parents, am working to make that a reality.