In the interest of burning some extra energy, expending some pent up tension, I was putting Rage Against the Machine on shuffle. As I glanced down putting my earphones in, I noticed that the last song I had played was from none other than the movie Frozen: “Let It Go.”
But, this Fatherhood story isn’t just about the fact that I am a man with 40 years of life under my belt and a Dad with 5, and that those two lives aren’t always in sync and certainly don’t fully overlap. This was uniquely about Rage and “Let It Go.”
At times, I rage internally against the structures and routines, the relentlessness and lack of “me time” that I experience as a Father. Most of this remains pent up inside. This is when exercise helps. Alternately, I will joyfully and unabashedly walk around the house singing “Let It Go” at the top of my lungs (and I have a terrible voice), backed by the intermittent voices of my 3 and almost 5 year old girls as they recall (or make up) the words, and choreographed with our collective dramatic dance movements.
Both are me completely.
Fatherhood is hard as shit, and I rarely openly accept that things are hard for me. I need to rage. I also need to let it go. Sometimes, I match my 3-year-old’s tantrums with my own brief verbal tantrums. Not always a great response. Sometimes, I lay my head back and close my eyes and pretend none of it is happening, let it go. Also, not always a great response.
I suspect that the best answer, the sweet spot for Fatherhood, lies somewhere in the middle. Fatherhood is too important a job not to take it seriously, to approach it with diligence, consistency, and maximum effort. So, I will stand by my intensity. It is also too important not to just let some things go, accept that the process of raising children is a life’s work, and is, in fact, hard as shit. So, I will also stand by my occasional checking out. But, day-to-day, it’s imperative to seek the appropriate middle ground, and develop the tools to maintain it. This isn’t a destination; it is the process of parenting.
I can’t wait to get home and see them.