I reached out recently to a fellow father I met through the NYC Dads Group to see if he and his kid wanted to hang out with us at a local playground. The reply I received knocked me on my ass.
He told me he had moved out of NYC and that his wife and he were now separated.
The reason I decided to participate in the NYC Dads Group was to feel like I wasn’t alone and, all of the sudden, I now felt like I let a fellow father down.
If only I had reached out more. If only I had felt comfortable in my own skin as a new father, and as a stay-at-home dad just like my fellow brother, my friend, maybe … just maybe … he would have been able to work things out with his wife.
Who am I kidding? I probably wouldn’t have helped them out a bit but, damn, I would have tried. That’s what a friend should do.
I’m not gonna hold any punches here: I was married once before. I know the pain that it puts on a dude. No matter how much you try to show you aren’t bothered by it, the more it hurts.
Being a new father — no matter what your age, social or economic status is — we are all going through the same challenges in this modern-day revolution of what being a father means. Our better half may be jealous that we “get to spend all our time” with the little monkey while they only get two hours. A single parent may feel completely overwhelmed time-wise and financially. A same sex couple may feel uneasy from societal tendencies but in the end, we are all the same. It takes a village to raise a child and here in NYC the task sometimes feels more restricted due to the insufferable amount of single people, maybe that’s why so many people leave the city once a child enters into the equation.
We have an advantage here at the NYC Dads Group: each other.
I’m not always happy to venture out to Queens, Brooklyn or the far ends of Manhattan but every time I do I am happy to talk with other men just like me going through the same thing.
I do not bring home the bacon and that hurts. I wish I did. Then again, I wouldn’t be able to spend the formidable years with my son who I never really thought I would want in my life. Now that is all I care about.
I try to learn every day from my wife and son and I can honestly say that I am a better man.
Moral of the story: Get out of your skin and make a new friend. It maybe awkward at first but it just might help that other person if you stop thinking about yourself for once.