Failed to be the father I wanted to be

image1I failed as a father, or did I fail to be the father I wanted to be?

I mentioned in several of my posts I feel I failed as a father.  In previous posts I write about the ‘mistakes’ I have made throughout my life, the struggle in my marriage, my major depression and my absence in my 3 sons lives.  The struggles I have with myself and my mind created a failed marriage when my sons were very young.  Therefore I was not there for them during the important years of growth, learning, understanding and father relations.  I missed many soccer games, school events, protecting them, teaching them; I should have been there but I was absent.  And though the presence in their lives was limited, the relationship with my 3 sons is good, but not what I envisioned when I was younger when I became married and became a parent.

What do I base my failure on?  What father did I want to be?  My idea of me as a father was not being the father my father was to me.  In my post ‘My Dad Taught Me Plenty’, I explain those things I did not want to be when I was a father because my father failed in these areas.  My father did not tell me ‘I Love You’ until well late into life, within the past 10 years.  From a young age, I told my boys ‘I Love You’ and still do today and easily give them a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  This is not a failure, so what is?

It is my belief; the failure is the circumstances and situations that prevented me from being there for them, my 3 sons.  The circumstances of my learning disorders, my OCD, my ADD, my divorce, my mental illness, my depression, my attempted suicides and my separated living location all created a situation where the envisioned father I wanted to be was a failure.

How do I know it was a failure and I am a failure as a father?  My sons do not seem to be interested in me or my life.  My sons rarely call me, even on my birthday and father’s day.

So it may be that I did not fail as a father to them, but I failed to be the father to me.  I had no book to read about being a good father; I tried to be a good father, but I was busy with the troubles of my mind and this took time away from what is important to me – my 3 sons.

Whether I failed as a father to them or failed to be the father I wanted to be – the simple truth is that I had and still have good intentions and love and I aspire to be the best possible father to my 3 sons.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

(This is the first of additional pictures to appear of me – a hand of me, a hand of my son #1 and a hand of my grandson #1)

22 thoughts on “Failed to be the father I wanted to be

  1. Pingback: Failed to be the father I wanted to be | cwa115's Blog

  2. You say you ‘weren’t the father you wanted to be’ and listed several reasons why you felt you ‘failed’…but (to me, who is childless and therefore has no business butting into the topic) isn’t that how ALL parents feel? The proof is in the pudding is an old saying..meaning that how they (the children) TURN OUT is your proof of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parenting. All parents make mistakes. Kids don’t come with handbooks (mores the pity). All parents may feel they fail their children in some way or other. But my question is this: Do you communicate NOW with your boys? You do apparently with at least one, right? Do you have a relationship or are you trying to build a relationship NOW that you can be proud of? The past is uncorrectable – we can take it out and look at it and bemoan our failings, but there’s nothing we can do about them. I think you probably did as best you could at the time. Absentee fathers (or mothers) have some unique challenges to face and I suppose regret is just one of those. Be nice to yourself friend, forgive and move on. That’s the best thing you can do for your sons now.

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    • Thanks for the comment. Yes, I have a relationship with my sons and yes, I did the best I could with the situation when they were growing. I had relations with them growing up; they spend a great deal of time with me on visits during the summer, etc. The point of the post, is I was not the father ‘I’ wanted to be – but your point – that could be how many parents feel. One reason for this blog is so I can forgive myself and get over those things that are keeping me from moving forward. Part of this process is having friends like you who provide your prospective and this I am grateful for, truly! 🙂

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  3. You did the best you could with the circumstances you were dealing with.You loved and love your sons and they do feel that.They may just need to grow a little bit more and/or become parents themselves to be able to become closer to you.
    Turtle Hugs from a parent to another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and yes you are correct. My oldest son has kids and a couple of weeks ago we had a very good conversation about being a parent. He is starting to understand somethings that only parents can feel. Hugs back to you – thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it! 🙂

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  4. I am sorry your feeling that way, all I heard was how much you love your boys….being a parent is one of the hardest jobs…and even if you read the books they don’t really teach you anything…don’t be so hard on yourself….by what I read your boys grew into good men, that didn’t happen by accident….I look back at my youth and I feel bad as I know there were times that I must of made my parents thing I hated them….and now that i have had children….there were times that were no easy, both of them were as different as night and day and I know there were a few years raising my son I thought I was going to pull out my hair…but we got through it and no matter where I went wrong mine turned out pretty good….so forgive yourself…being a parent is the most challenging job you will ever have…so give yourself a pass..you have the chance to be the best grandpa ever!!! and don’t think your alone I don’t see my kids very often and I may get a phone call every now and then…we raise them to go out into the world and create a life for themselves…no matter how painful it is on us…they are going what we taught them…love yoiur pictures of the hands….lovely…..kathy

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    • Thank you for your touching comment. This subject has been difficult for me for a very long time. One reason for this blog is I can express my feelings and receive feedback from people like you – this feedback helps me overcome this weight I have placed on myself. I truly appreciate your thoughts. 🙂

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      • before I could go forward with my weight loss, I too had to dump some guilt and issues I had been carring around for years, and when I really addressed them I learned for myself, I was the only one feeling that way…my kids had no idea about some of the guilt I was harboring in regards to there lives….we as parents put ourselves on the guilt trips, I learned in my, for no better work – recovery- that as long as we, as parents, did the best we could, with what knowledge we had, and where we were in our situations, the children were cared for, loved, feed, sheltered and given the best of ourselves, that we should be thankful that we were able to lead them through there youth, into adult hood with as little emotional scars as we could.. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to be a parent all the time, and then throw in a couple divorces, emotional baggage I carried from my own parents, and crap from our jobs, I look back and smile know knowing that I did the best I could…..really don’t be so hard on yourself, you don’t come across as an abusive parent or one that didn’t care….I am sure your boys see it differently……I spoke with both my kids, asked there forgiveness and let it go….and soooo happy I did!!!!

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        • Good for you and your kids. There are still some other events in my life to be revealed soon that added to my ‘guilt’ of not being a good father to my sons. My plan in starting this blog is that I would write for a year and then provide my blog to my sons so they would hopefully read my feelings and emotions I have for them. I am still a little afraid of when they read what I have written, unsure what their reactions will be.

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  5. How raw and vulnerable. I am personally a believer in the power of vulnerability (check out Brene Brown’s TED Talks on the Power of Vulnerability. It is deeply liberating for many). We all have regrets throughout life. To be honest, I worry about the individuals who claim they regret nothing. I hope that you have forgiven yourself and have moved forward. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and tomorrow is always a new day. Best of luck and life to you!

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    • Thank you! The forgiving of myself is taking place and I am in the process of moving on. I will check out the TED Talks you mentioned. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

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