Fatherhood: From Ambivalence to Hooked!

When you care for your kids, you become more attached to them.

This is the theme that author and financial journalist Michael Lewis explores in his novel, Home Game (An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood) (New York: Norton, 2009) - based on a collection of his parenthood writings that appeared in Slate over the early years of his fathering.   He admits that fatherhood isn't really something that comes naturally to him - and is often avoided, "I'm working late, or I'm busy, or I secretly just don't care."  But in his experience, and with daring honesty, he realizes that his bond with his children grows in direct relation to the amount of time he puts into the relationship.  

Making the choice "to care" for your baby can be particularly challenging for dads who are already nine months behind their partners on the "connection" front, and who are just not essential in their baby's first few
days (months).  However, as Lewis writes, it is in taking the time to care for our babies that we start to grow something new inside of us - a unique father-child bond.  Easy to avoid because of everyday distractions, a really late start in the game, and the painful grunt work involved, this journey from indifference to care is one of the toughest challenges of fatherhood-and yet one of the most rewarding!  I have certainly found in my own life that when things get busy and I feel this uncomfortable distance growing between me and my kids, if I (even begrudgingly) make an effort to upthe diaper changes, the bedtime routines, and making the morning oatmeal,  it is then that I find myself feeling the most confident, connected, and undeniably hooked in my role as dad.

-Justin Walsh