Mum guilt – I’ve written about it time and time again on the blog. But recently, I’ve been wondering…do dads get dad guilt too? Most of the dads I know seem to chilled out that I couldn’t ever imagine them suffering from dad guilt. But it’s fair to say that I haven’t marched over to them and quizzed them on whether they are wracked with dad guilt in the wee hours of the morning on a regular basis.
That said, I DO what to get to do a little digging around about whether and why dads suffer from dad guilt. To help to get to he bottom of the 64 million dollar question, I asked some very fine dad bloggers to share their experiences of dad guilt.
Dad guilt is real!
John Adams, at dadbloguk.com said: “The suggestion that fathers do not feel guilt is offensive. I’ve been the main carer for my kids for many years so I’m in a different position to most men. That said, the majority of guys have to work full time. They often can’t make it to every Nativity play or sports day. Sure, some do, but look around any school event and dads will be in the minority.
When I became a stay at home dad, I expected to become the butt of jokes from men. It was the complete reverse. I was surprised how often men opened up to me and said they wished they could live my lifestyle. They knew they were missing huge chunks of their kids’ lives and they wanted to be involved with them.”
At some point we all suffer with parent guilt and that is fine. That is part of parenting. Fingers crossed I have emerged from the guilty abyss. Now I can channel that emotion into making me a better parent (I hope).
Dads feel guilty about me-time too!
Single dad Ian who writes at Dad’s Delicious Dinners says, “When I first became a single parent, I struggled to find things to do when the kids went to their mums every other weekend. I would busy myself with housework, or extra proper work. In general I would lock myself away and think only about the kids and wonder if they are ok.
As part of this ‘new me’ program I needed to remind myself of a range of activities I enjoy participating in without my kids. I now go to the football with friends on a regular basis, I visit or socialise with friends. One of my new found activities is kayaking.
The first time I went out for the day with my mate, I knew the kids would love it. I knew that they would have a great time out kayaking, eating softy ice creams and relaxing. I felt terrible that evening that I had been out, had fun and for a small amount of time not thought about the kids.”
The daddy with the mum guilt
Dave at The Dadventurer says “Unfortunately though, lazy naming conventions based on outdated stereotypes, suggest that ‘mummy guilt’ is only something that the female of the species go through. I’ve always ascertained that mums and dads are more similar than some people would like to admit. But, for whatever reason, it can feel like there’s an agenda to divide the sexes rather than unite them.
Mums shouldn’t have to feel like they’re the only ones who struggle with guilt, feelings of inadequacy or any of the other crap that results from having a kid. I can assure you that dads do too. We’re all parents after all, so surely ‘parenting guilt’ is a more reflective and appropriate title?”
When dad guilt is a constant
When I asked Tom Briggs, author of Diary of The Dad whether he suffered with dad guilt he replied, “Always! I worry about whether I’m giving my three kids enough attention and if I’m a good enough role model. Plus I question my own parenting skills all the time. But I think the fact that we all fret about such things proves that we care and that’s the most important thing.”
Because there aren’t enough hours in the day….for anyone!
Tim at Slouching Towards Thatcham highlights that the modern day overwhelm and its effects are a battle for both mums and dads, “Like most dads these days, I suffer from plenty of parental guilt. It’s not about doing a ‘fair share’ of nappy changes, childcare or household chores. It’s about working as a team with my wife and doing as much as I can to support both her and the kids. I work full-time and my wife works part-time, so I’m the main breadwinner, so work is important.
Family time is important, obviously. But so too is ‘me time’ for my own well-being. There are never enough hours in the day to balance work, family and me properly. Trying to achieve that elusive and impossible balance – and to enable my wife to get as close as possible to hers – is probably the biggest source of my parental guilt, because in the real world something always has to give.”
The perils of Peppa Pig, and then some
It’s not just mums who feel guilty about using Peppa Pig as a unregistered baby sitter. Dads do too! Stephan Birch, Editor at Fathers Quarterly Magazine says, ” As a dad to one toddler who’s recently discovered the delights of Peppa Pig, I feel guilty when it’s sometimes much easier to plonk her in front of the oink-ing TV when I feel too tired to take her out to the park. ”
“I’ve also felt guilty for feeling frustrated at not being able to comfort and calm my daughter down when she’s having a major cry (for one reason or another) in the way that her mum can calm her down almost instantly. Also, I feel guilty that we live in a two-bed flat and not a house with a garden. I wish she had much more space to enjoy herself and run around in.”
So there you have it. For anyone who thinks that dads don’t feel dad guilt then don’t believe the hype! Because the above is proof that they most certainly do.
Did you know that dads suffered from dad guilt too? Or perhaps you’re a dad that can relate to the experiences of dad guilt above and would like to add your own? Do leave a comment and share.