LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

DYING TO GET OUT MORE: WHY NEW DADS FIND IT HARD TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS

Dad and his best friend, literally.
I am happy to say the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Of course, these rumors were started by my friends, the ones who don't have kids and still get to lead the life I used to lead; those friends who still have a discretionary income; those friends that can go out on a Saturday night and justify spending a hundred dollars at a bar on watered down drinks and a 20 door charge. That life is well behind me at this point as 1) I don't have the energy to go out drinking til the wee hours of the morning anymore, 2) I don't have the money to spend on watered down drinks, and 3) I don't have the inclination to go to bar to watch other people engage in small talk with strangers for three hours just so they can leave with the same people they came with at the end of the night.

I'm not judging, it was fun while it lasted, I'm just at a different stage in my life. I'd like to say it's a better stage, but I'm not so far removed from those days that I can't recognize they were some of the best days of my life- I had money to blow, a relatively up to date wardrobe, the inclination to shave everyday, and next to no responsibility. So why would I prefer the life I have now, other than being married to my beautiful wife whom I adore (and would kill me if I went out til 3 a.m. with my friends)? One word: fatherhood. But, it comes at a price...

I'll be the first to admit it: first-time fatherhood is not easy. It's tiring; it's time consuming; it's terrifying at times (choking, fevers, falls). It drains your energy (and your wallet). It requires 90% of your focus (leaving you no time to think about porn), and it isolates you, mainly because it's hard to find other guys like you to hang out with. Oh, they exist, but they're living the same life you are: when there wives are out with their friends, they're watching the baby; when their wives are out with their friends and their babies, they're catching up on things like cleaning the gutters, or mowing the lawn; and when their wives are out of town and they have the chance to actually go out and hang out with their friends, they'd rather enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house. If you look at it from that perspective, it's no secret why new dads seem to disappear off the face of the earth, according to their friends- they don't have a life.

SCENE FROM "I LOVE YOU MAN"

Moms do. They get to make new friends during their maternity leave- friendships that seem to last for years, and years as it seems having kids that are the same age is often enough to maintain a friendship for most women. Men, we're a little bit more fickle than that. For us, it's not about the kids, it's about sharing other common interests like sports, or lawn maintenance, or an appreciation for the art of barbecuing the perfect steak. When we're at Home Depot with our wives and we run in to one of her new friends with her husband, we only want to know one thing: "When my wife inevitably makes plans for us to hang out together, will I be able to hold a conversation with this guy about anything  other than our kids or will I quickly want to jab my eyes out with that pair of pruning shears he's buying?" Because the truth is, that guy's my best chance at having an adult conversation outside of work with anyone other than my wife, or a member of her family, and I need to know if I can build that in to something that I might be able to enjoy, or if, yet again, I'm just better off spending my Saturday night at home.

Sure, as my friend's catch up and more of them have kids, I won't have this problem, except for the fact that many of them already live far enough away that it's not like it's easy for us to get together, but I'm gonna try. It's not like my wife and I don't have friends, couples and individuals that we spend time with together or individually, but having kids makes it harder to get together with people on a moment's notice, or on the same schedule, or when it's convenient for us. So I guess I'll just live for those odd nights when I get invited to a stag party, or a wedding, or a boys night out to let loose and spend some quality time with my friends. It's only a few more months until the Superbowl, and that's as good a time as any to catch up with the boys... if they still remember what I look like?

"Hey, who's the new guy?"

I love that joke.



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